Tuesday, December 29, 2009
AFC West Pro Bowl analysis
By Bill Williamson
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Perfect sense: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was an easy call. Last year, he was an alternate. Rivers is playing as well as any player in the league. He is a backup to starter Peyton Manning. One of Rivers’ favorite targets, Antonio Gates was also a no-brainer. Gates is having perhaps his best season. San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding is one of the most reliable kickers in NFL history. He deserves this call. Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. He was also an easy call. After being snubbed lest season, as a rookie, Denver left tackle Ryan Clady is a very deserving starting choice. How could Denver linebacker Elvis Dumervil be denied after putting up an NFL-leading 17 sacks?
Made it on rep: Only 12 players from the AFC West made the team. There aren't a lot of stretches on the list. Pretty much everyone who made it, deserved it. You can look at older players such as Denver safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Champ Bailey and San Diego guard Kris Dielman as players who get in routinely on name recognition. But all three players had solid seasons.
Got robbed: It has to be San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson. He was one of the biggest snubs in the league. Jackson means so much to San Diego’s offense. He takes on double teams and opens up other weapons on the team. He is one of Rivers’ favorite targets and he is one of the best deep threats in the game. Jackson is averaging 17.2 yards per catch and has nine touchdowns on 68 receptions. It is time the fifth-year player gets some recognition.