Tue Dec 28 09:54pm EST
Now that the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters have been announced, it's time to argue! Everyone has their own thoughts on who should make the team, and one of the best parts of seeing the teams are the under-/overrated arguments that ensue. We started with the AFC, listing the position players that were voted in (alternates in parentheses), and here's the NFC version.
No members of the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks or Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the list. The Atlanta Falcons lead all teams with seven Pro Bowlers, and the New England Patriots finish second with six. For brevity's sake, we'll leave special teamers out, as I can't quite get up the argument that this or that punter was robbed.
Who should have won: Vick. He missed some time, but when he's been on the field, he has come the closet we've ever seen to the perfect and unstoppable quarterback -- the bionic Steve Young. As much as I think the world of Brees, his high interception total has me taking him off this list and putting Aaron Rodgers(notes) above everyone but Vick, because no quarterback has done more this year with less of a running game.
Who should have won: Peterson. Just as Rodgers has done more with less of a running game, Vikings opponents are once again able to put right in the box against Purple Jesus because of the team's well-documented quarterback situation. Peterson's one old bugaboo -- his fumbles -- has been addressed, as he has none this season.
Who should have won: John Kuhn(notes), Green Bay Packers. Different cats here, as Mughelli is there for his blocking, and Kuhn is expected to do more with the ball, but he's been such a big part of Green Bay's otherwise pathetic rushing offense, I have to give the nod to him. Twenty-five first downs on 80 carries? How solid is that?
Who should have won: Johnson and Jackson. White is the NFL's most targeted receiver, but Johnson should be first on this list because of what he's done with a very iffy quarterback situation. And as much as I like what White brings to the Falcons, I have to put Jackson up a peg as perhaps the most dangerous receiver in the game today.
Who should have won: Witten. He's the most targeted tight end in the game, which really makes Jerry Jones look kind of stupid for spending that much money on a bunch of wideouts. Gonzalez is the legit second guy here -- not just for his catches as a traditional tight end, but in how the Falcons use him in the red zone.
Who should have won: Clifton and Donald Penn(notes), Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I've never been impressed with Peters under any circumstances. Gross is a decent tackle, but I'm hard-pressed to give a Pro Bowl spot to anyone on an offense that needs two touchdowns to bust 200 points for the season. Rookies Trent Williams(notes) of the Washington Redskins and Russell Okung(notes) of the Seattle Seahawks look like the kinds of guys who could fill this list for the next five seasons, but Clifton is the safer choice for now. Not a lot of great tackle choices in the NFC this year, and Penn is probably the best of a so-so-veteran bunch.
Who should have won: Evans and Josh Sitton(notes), Green Bay Packers. Evans has held up his high standard, but Sitton deserves more recognition -- I learned this when Ndamukong Suh told me a couple weeks ago that Sitton was the best guard he'd faced in the NFL, and the tape confirmed the story. He's a strong in-line blocker with surprising agility, and he deserves to be here.
Who should have won: O'Hara. I'm unclear as to how Gurode gets on this list, but the Giants are near the top of every Football Outsiders metric that measures line performance, and specifically interior line performance, and O'Hara's been one of the better centers in the game for a while now.
Who should have won: Tuck and Trent Cole(notes), Philadelphia Eagles. Look, I'm not denying that Peppers and Abraham can be game-changers, but I see each of them getting negated at times (as happens to most pass-rushers), and I tend to look for ends who can play the run as well. No NFC defensive ends has faced more potential run plays than Cole, and he's one of the NFL's most successful in that department. Tuck, the perfect hybrid defender who can also slip inside, has the same attributes.
Who should have won: Suh and B.J. Raji(notes), Green Bay Packers. Ratliff is still great and Smith may be the most underrated hybrid lineman in the game, but Raji is the nose tackle in the NFC's best 3-4 defense, and should be awarded accordingly based on the importance of his position. St. Louis' Fred Robbins(notes) deserves half a nod, for this or Comeback Player of the Year. Suh will be the best defensive player in the league at any position in the next two years.
Who should have won: Matthews and Ware. Matthews is perhaps the most dangerous pure edge rusher in the league; the Green Bay defense certainly plummets when he's not in there. And as wildly inconsistent as Dallas' defense has been this year, that's not on Ware -- not only is he having a typically great sack season, he's become better against the run with more opportunities. I might sneak Washington's Brian Orakpo(notes) on this list; he's played well despite as many uncalled holds on his person as any player in the league, and the roving tower of suckitude that the Redskins' defense has become.
Who should have won: Samuel and Tramon Williams(notes), Green Bay Packers. The Hall selection is typical, but iffy; he's the kind of player who racks up decent stats with huge target totals. If Samuel hasn't been the NFC's best cornerback this year, Williams most certainly has, and it's a real shame that he's not on the roster. What is the deal with all the underrated Packers?
Who should have won: Wilson. He's had a sub-par year by his own admission, but he's turned it around to a degree.
Who should have won: Rolle. He's allowed the Giants to do some really interesting things with a three-safety look. Rolle cost the Giants a lot of money, but from a schematic perspective, he's been worth it.
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