Tuesday, December 29, 2009
NFC South Pro Bowl analysis
By Pat Yasinskas
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Perfect sense: Drew Brees, quarterback, Saints. The fact he got in as the NFC’s starter ahead of Minnesota’s Brett Favre shows there is some justice in this world. Brees is the heart and soul of the Saints and the reason they have the NFC’s best record. Brees sometimes gets lost in all the talk about Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. But this selection shows Brees is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Favre, Brady and Manning are legends. But Brees has reached this status, too. There’s not a player in the league who does more for his franchise and his community. However, Brees actually can enhance his reputation if the Saints make it to the Super Bowl and he's too busy to play in the Pro Bowl.
Made it on rep: Jon Stinchcomb, tackle, Saints. Don’t get me wrong, Stinchcomb’s not bad by any means. But is he truly one of the best three tackles in the NFC? No way. Talk to personnel guys and they’ll tell you Stinchcomb is a slightly-above-average right tackle and virtually all left tackles are better than any right tackles. In this case, Stinchcomb is riding the wave of the Saints having an outstanding season. Yeah, he got a little lucky. But think about how many Saints have been snubbed when it comes to the Pro Bowl in the franchise’s history? There’s been a ton. Let this one slide to make up for some of the injustices of the past. Stinchcomb might not be a blue-chip player, but things like this can happen when you win big.
Got robbed: Tony Gonzalez, tight end, Falcons. The absence of Gonzalez is a crime. This guy is the best tight end ever and he still is playing at a high level. He did everything the Falcons thought he would when they traded for him and instantly became quarterback Matt Ryan’s favorite target. Gonzalez won the fan voting at his position, so the blame here falls to the coaches and players. I’m not sure if this one comes down to jealousy, overexposure over a long period or a somewhat disappointing season by Atlanta. But the Falcons still have a shot at a winning season. Teams that go 8-8 or 9-7 should have at least one Pro Bowl representative. The Falcons, somehow, didn’t get any. You also could make a case for linebackers Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson and receiver Roddy White. But Gonzalez should have been a slam-dunk. This one turned into an air ball.