Tuesday, December 29, 2009
AFC East Pro Bowl analysis
By Tim Graham
Nine players from the AFC East were chosen for the Pro Bowl.
The New England Patriots lead the way with four, while three New York Jets are on the roster. The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills have one representative apiece.
Here's a look at some of the decisions and whether or not they were warranted.
Made it on rep
- Darrelle Revis, Jets cornerback: Probably the easiest call of them all. Revis is a candidate for NFL defensive player of the year and an almost certain All-Pro. He leads the NFL with 37 passes defensed and is tied for fifth with six interceptions.
- Wes Welker, Patriots receiver: He already has set the club record with 122 receptions, which leads the NFL, even though he missed two games with an injury.
- Nick Mangold, Jets center: He didn't crack the top five in AFC fan voting, but he was named the AFC's starter because he's simply that good.
- Vince Wilfork, Patriots nose tackle: The keystone of New England's defense was an easy call for AFC starter.
- Jake Long, Dolphins tackle: He's emerging as one of the best in either conference. Long has won the fan vote both of his seasons in the NFL and made it to Honolulu last year as an alternate. Now he's a starter.
- Alan Faneca, Jets guard: Some players get sent back because they've been there so many times before. Faneca is headed to his ninth straight Pro Bowl. He's still good, but he's not what he used to be.
- Tom Brady, Patriots quarterback: Brady deserves to be in the Pro Bowl, but I'm adding him to the list because I think his presence is why Matt Schaub didn't make it. Schaub leads the league in yardage, is third in completion percentage, has a higher passer rating than Brady and only one fewer touchdown.
- Brandon Meriweather, Patriots strong safety: He was a consensus midseason All-Pro, but didn't get picked for the Pro Bowl because the AFC made Denver's Brian Dawkins its lone strong safety and selected two free safeties, Byrd and Baltimore's Ed Reed.
- Aaron Schobel, Bills defensive end: Schobel, a two-time Pro Bowler, is having one of his better seasons, but he's doing it for a team that will miss the playoffs a 10th straight season. He has 10 sacks, third among AFC defensive ends, but three of them came Sunday, after the ballots had been submitted.
- David Harris, Jets inside linebacker: Harris leads the NFL's top defense with 141 tackles. He also has 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
- Calvin Pace, Jets outside linebacker: Maybe this should go under the heading of "Robbed himself." A great season was hurt by a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy. Even so, Pace leads the Jets with seven sacks, 12 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles.