NFC West: Pro Bowl analysis 2013

Pro Bowl selections: Arizona Cardinals

December, 27, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – Turns out no matter how hard Karlos Dansby campaigned to be chosen for his first Pro Bowl, it wasn’t enough.

Dansby was snubbed by all three components that went into voting for the 2014 Pro Bowl – fans, players and coaches. But the Cardinals are sending two defenders and a special-teamer to Hawaii.

A few weeks after cracking the top 10 of the all-time sacks leaders, veteran linebacker John Abraham was named to his fifth Pro Bowl for his third NFL team. Third-year cornerback Patrick Peterson doesn’t know what it’s like to not play in Hawaii in January, earning the third trip of his career. And in his second year, gunner Justin Bethel was chosen by the players and coaches after he was widely considered the best special-teams player in the NFL.

Defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, linebacker Daryl Washington and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were named alternates.

That’s five of Arizona’s 11 defensive starters. But the most obvious one missing was Dansby. He’s having a career season: ranked second in the NFL with 109 solo tackles and two defensive touchdowns. His four interceptions are 10th best in the league and he has 6.5 sacks to add. He’s had the most complete season of any linebacker but, alas, his peers and the coaches around the league didn’t think he was worthy of a lei.

The Abraham selection was a bit of a surprise, but with 11.5 sacks at age 35 after signing on the first day of training camp, it’s deserved. After spending the majority of his career as a pass-rush specialist, Abraham was forced into an every-down role in Week 3 and flourished, not showing signs of wear and tear or aging.

Abraham's 11.5 sacks are tied for fifth overall in the NFL and tied for third in the NFC. His 50 tackles are his most since 2005, his last season with the New York Jets.

Thanks mainly to Bethel, the Cardinals have forced opponents to start 53 drives inside their own 20-yard line, tied for the second most behind Kansas City’s 53. The Presbyterian College product also has 18 special-teams tackles, has blocked two field goals and recovered one fumble.

Peterson, who became the seventh player in NFL history to be selected to his third Pro Bowl before he turned 24, leads Arizona with 28 passes defended and has three interceptions to complement his 38 tackles.

Washington’s selection is impressive because he was named an alternate after he was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Campbell and Dockett are two-thirds of the league’s top rush defense and Fitzgerald has 10 touchdowns for the first time since 2009.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.

Pro Bowl selections: Seattle Seahawks

December, 27, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson now is 2-for-2, earning a Pro Bowl selection in each of his two NFL seasons.

Five other Seattle players were voted into the Pro Bowl -- running back Marshawn Lynch, center Max Unger, cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks three members of the Legion of Boom on the Pro Bowl squad.

Sherman and Thomas likely will be in the running for the NFL defensive player of the year honors. Sherman leads the NFL this season with eight interceptions. He also has the most interceptions (20) and the most passes defensed (59) over the last three seasons.

This is Sherman’s first Pro Bowl selection, but he was voted first-team All-Pro last season by the Associated Press.

Thomas, making his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, has five interceptions this season and is the emotional leader of the Seattle defense. He leads the team in solo tackles with 73.

Wilson certainly was no surprise with the season he’s had in leading the Seattle offense. Wilson has more victories than any second-year quarterback in NFL history with 23. He also is one of only three quarterbacks in league history to throw for over 50 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, joining Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.

This is the fourth Pro Bowl selection for Lynch. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in his career. He has tailed off a little in recent weeks, but still has 1,160 yards rushing, which ranks sixth in the NFL. Lynch has the most TDs in the NFL since 2011 with 38, including 34 rushing and four receiving.

Unger was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year. Russell Okung, who made his first Pro Bowl last season and is considered one of the best left tackles in the game, didn’t make it this year because he missed eight games with a toe injury.

Chancellor, earning Pro Bowl honors for the second time in his career, is considered one of the fiercest tacklers in the league. He has 85 tackles this season and three interceptions.

It’s a bit of a surprise that kicker Steven Hauschka didn’t make the Pro Bowl. He has made 31 of 33 field goal attempts this season, but he had not missed a kick that made it past the line of scrimmage until last week against Arizona when a 24-yard attempt hit the upright. His only other miss was a blocked kick at Indianapolis.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.
The San Francisco 49ers had eight players named to the Pro Bowl on Friday night.

Who made it: LB Ahmad Brooks, LB NaVorro Bowman, tight end Vernon Davis, RB Frank Gore, G Mike Iupati, DL Justin Smith, LT Joe Staley, LB Patrick Willis.

My thoughts: The 49ers’ eight Pro Bowl selections is tied for the league high. The name that stands out is Brooks, who is having a great year. But he may be overshadowed by Bowman and Willis. It was good to see Brooks get the recognition he deserves. Iupati’s selection is a bit surprising considering he missed four games with a knee sprain, but he has played well when on the field.

Snubbed: Receiver Anquan Boldin, guard Alex Boone, punter Andy Lee, safeties Donte Whitner and Eric Reid and special teamer CJ Spillman were selected as alternates. They all easily could have made it. I think the biggest snubs are Boone, Dawson and Whitner. All three had huge seasons.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.