Tuesday, December 28, 2010
AFC West Pro Bowl analysis
By Bill Williamson
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Perfect sense: How can you argue about the selection of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers? Rivers played at a near-MVP level all season. A Pro Bowl team couldn’t be selected this season without Rivers. He trails the Colts’ Peyton Manning by 39 yards for the league lead in passing yards. Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles is second in the NFL in rushing. His selection is well deserved. Denver receiver Brandon Lloyd was rewarded for having a special season at the age of 29 after a journeyman career. Lloyd is leading the NFL in receiving yards (1,375) and routinely makes acrobatic catches. Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler are no-brainer selections every year.
Made it on rep: I don’t see any major stretches here. San Diego tight end Antonio Gates was voted as the starter even though he missed nearly half the season with a foot injury. But when he played, Gates was dominant, so there’s no big problem here. Guards Kris Dielman of San Diego and Brian Waters of Kansas City are old-timers, but they are both playing at high levels. Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour was dominant at times and he disappeared at times. But he’s not a terrible pick.
Got robbed: I think this improved division deserved more than 10 Pro Bowl selections. The division champion Chiefs merited more than three Pro Bowl picks. The biggest snub in the division is Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali. He’s been terrific all season. Hali has 12 sacks and is a big reason why the Chiefs are heading to the playoffs. He even deserves some consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Fellow Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson also has a beef. Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel would have had a difficult time sneaking in ahead of Rivers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But if one of these quarterbacks bail out, I think Cassel should get a ticket to Hawaii. Oakland running back Darren McFadden deserved serious consideration as well. I understand you can only take three running backs, but McFadden wouldn’t have been a bad pick. Oakland return man Jacoby Ford, who has three kickoff returns for scores since Week 9, and NFL leading scoring Sebastian Janikowski also could have easily made the team.
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