Friday, December 27, 2013
Redskins' year works against Pro Bowl bids
By John Keim
ASHBURN, Va. -- When you're 3-12 and have lost eight straight games, the Pro Bowl is a long shot for players even in the midst of good seasons. So when the teams are unveiled Friday night, it's tough to imagine many players from the Washington Redskins being included.
Still, there are some who deserve a spot. Here's a look at the players who probably have the best shot:
Receiver Pierre Garcon: He leads the NFL with 107 catches, 13 more than anyone else. But his five touchdowns rank 11th out of the top 15 pass-catchers. And his yards per catch (12.1) are the second lowest among the wide receivers in the top 10 (Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald averages 11.1 yards per catch, though he has 10 touchdowns among his 76 catches). Still, Garcon has been a constant on an offense that has moved the ball well. His yards per catch are lower because of a lack of downfield throws; they’ve had to use him on numerous screens and smoke routes. There were eight receivers in the game last year. Garcon’s all-around game merits inclusion on the roster. But will voters consider him as dangerous as a number of other receivers with far fewer receptions (Cleveland's Josh Gordon, Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson both average more than 15 yards per catch with more touchdowns than Garcon, for example)? Garcon is tied for first in the NFL with 30 receptions on third down.
Running back Alfred Morris: Eight running backs made it last season. Considering Morris is the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher with 1,213 yards, putting him just ahead of Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch (1,160 yards). Morris’ 4.7 yards per carry ranked third among the top-10 rushers. But Morris did not make it last season, despite being the NFL’s No. 2 rusher. Also, his seven touchdowns are topped by seven running backs in the top 10. Still, teams keyed on Morris more this season and he did not carry the ball as much in part because of how games unfolded.
“If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t,” Morris said. “It didn’t happen last year and I didn’t care. I don’t want to downplay it. It would be a nice feat to make it, but at the same time I really don’t care. Even last year I felt the same way about it. I mean, good year or bad year it’s not going to change my perspective.”
Left tackle Trent Williams: He made it last season and if the Redskins had played better this year, he’d likely be a lock. It doesn’t help him that Philadelphia’s Jason Peters, considered the best left tackle, returned after missing last season with an Achilles injury.
“With the way this season went I didn’t get a chance to think about it as much as I did last year,” Williams said. “I really don’t know. Last year I had a feeling that maybe I had made it. My play got better. It’s hard to grade individual success when the team is not doing well. It was kind of hard for me. If we were in a situation where I had a block and we didn’t convert a third down to me it didn’t mean anything. No matter how well I played if we didn’t win I felt like [garbage].”
Corner DeAngelo Hall: Six corners played in the game last season. Though Hall had a solid season, perhaps more consistent than when he made it after 2010, it’s hard to see him being considered one of the top six corners of 2013. He'd have to be considered a long shot.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo: His 10 sacks rank seventh among linebackers; nine outside linebackers made it last season. As with Hall, the fact that the Redskins’ defense was not that strong will work against him earning a spot. Orakpo is finishing strong with seven sacks in the past seven games.