NFL Nation: John Abrahama

Pro Bowl analysis: AFC West

December, 16, 2008
12/16/08
5:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

A look at the AFC West Pro Bowl breakdown where each team is sending two players to Hawaii:

Denver Broncos: The Broncos are sending quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall. This is likely the first of several trips for this third-year pass-catch combination.

Both players deserved the honor. Cutler is a backup and Marshall will start.

One Denver player, tackle Ryan Clady, was snubbed. Clady has given up half a sack and he has shut out superstars Joey Porter, John Abraham and Julius Peppers this season. It is difficult for rookies to get noticed, especially at a not-so-high-profile position. But Clady needed to go.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have a Pro Bowl player for each of their two victories.

Veterans tight end Tony Gonzalez and guard Brian Waters are going. The selection of Gonzalez was a no-brainer. He has 84 catches and is playing as well as he ever has in his 12-season career. He is starting in the game. Waters is not a major stretch, either. The only reason I thought he wouldn't go is because the Chiefs are having such a poor season. But Waters is having a solid season and he is deserving of a backup role.

Oakland Raiders: Nnamdi Asomugha received his just due. Finally.

Asomugha is a starting cornerback in the Pro Bowl.

And it was no gift. Asomugha has been a premier shutdown cornerback all season. He has given up just a handful of passes this season. He is a bright spot for the 3-11 Raiders. With Champ Bailey missing the past seven games with a groin injury, Asomugha was able to capitalize.

Oakland punter Shane Lechler also went in. This is a solid call. Lechler is an elite player at his position. Oakland linebacker Kirk Morrison is second in the AFC in tackles but there was little chance he would beat out Ray Lewis or James Farrior. Morrison could be setting himself up for a Pro Bowl berth in seasons to come.

San Diego Chargers: There is where some of the surprises are.

Quarterback Philip Rivers was snubbed. However, expect rivers to end up in Hawaii. He is the No. 1 alternate in the AFC. Brett Favre was voted in but he rarely goes to the game, so expect Rivers to get the nod. He needs to be there. He is leading the NFL in passer rating and he has been outstanding much of the season.

The Chargers are sending guard Kris Dielman and tight end Antonio Gates. Dielman is a starter and Gates is an alternate. It isn't a great year for guard play and while Gates has been rusty for much of the season because of offseason toe surgery, it's not a stretch to see him back in Hawaii.

Some in San Diego will be upset that defensive tackle Jamal Williams didn't make it, but it was a strong season at the position and Williams started slow. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson is a third alternate. He is having a down season but so is the rest of the AFC running back class. He probably deserved to be a higher alternate.

AFC Pro Bowlers
Offense
PositionStarter(s)Reserves
QuarterbackPeyton Manning, IndianapolisBrett Favre, New York Jets
Jay Cutler, Denver
Running backThomas Jones, New York JetsChris Johnson, Tennessee
Ronnie Brown, Miami
FullbackLe'Ron McClain, Baltimore 
Wide receiverAndre Johnson, Houston
Brandon Marshall, Denver
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
Wes Welker, New England
Tight endTony Gonzalez, Kansas CityAntonio Gates, San Diego
TackleJoe Thomas, Cleveland
Jason Peters, Buffalo
Michael Roos, Tennessee
GuardAlan Faneca, New York Jets
Kris Dielman, San Diego
Brian Waters, Kansas City
CenterKevin Mawae, TennesseeNick Mangold, New York Jets
Defense
Defensive endMario Williams, Houston
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Defensive tackleAlbert Haynesworth, Tennessee
Kris Jenkins, New York Jets
Shaun Rogers, Cleveland
Outside linebackerJames Harrison, Pittsburgh
Joey Porter, Miami
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
Inside linebackerRay Lewis, BaltimoreJames Farrior, Pittsburgh
CornerbackNnamdi Asomugha, Oakland
Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee
Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
Free safetyEd Reed, Baltimore 
Strong safetyTroy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Chris Hope, Tennessee
Special teams
PunterShane Lechler, Oakland 
Place-kickerStephen Gostkowski, New England 
Kick returnerLeon Washington, New York Jets 
Special-teamerBrendon Ayanbadejo, Baltimore 

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