Dolphins' Xavien Howard surprised to be named Pro Bowler
MIAMI GARDENS ― Xavien Howard is an excellent player, but he has not had an excellent season.
That's why Howard's reaction to being named to the AFC's Pro Bowl team was no surprise.
"I was surprised," Xoward, a Dolphins' cornerback, said Thursday. "It's an honor to be in the Pro Bowl and be consistent with it. But I feel like there were a bunch of plays I left out there on the field.
"I feel like I can get better. And be better."
Howard is an extremely confident athlete and so to concede that he may not have been Pro Bowl-worthy says a lot.
Howard has one interception in 13 games played.
In the previous two seasons, Howard totaled 15 interceptions.
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Earlier this season, Howard was dealing with groin injuries. What impact have injuries had on Howard's season?
"Man, everybody's injured," Howard said. "You can ask anybody in the league. You know, nobody is 100 percent. So you know, so I go out there and try to play to the best of my ability."
Howard, 29, has been in three consecutive Pro Bowls and a total of four.
This season, Howard is allowing a passer rating of 102.4, according to Pro Football Reference.
In the previous two seasons, that rating was 72.6 and 48.3.
This season, Howard is allowing 58.6 percent completions and 15.7 yards per completions.
Last year, those numbers were 52.7 percent and 12.5 yards per completion.
Asked how he would describe Howard's season, Miami defensive coordinator Josh Boyer said: "Incomplete."
“I think if you’d asked a lot of us, some of the things that we’ve done, I would say, are below expectations," Boyer said. "I’ll start with myself on that. But it’s unfinished. I think you learn from the things that we’re done. We’re looking forward to the opportunity this week."
The Dolphins have certainly been hurt by the absence of fellow Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones.
Asked his perspective of the impact, Howard said Thursday: "I don't know. Next question."
On Sunday, the Dolphins and Howard will face a legendary quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
"Man, he can do it all," Howard said. "He can still run. He also has been slinging it. So we'll be on our toes. We've just got to stick to the game plan. You know, stay on our receivers keep our eyes on our receivers."
This game will feature two Pro Bowl cornerbacks, including the Packers' Jaire Alexander.
Pro Football Focus grades Alexander as the 13th-best cornerback in the NFL this season. And PFF grades Howard as 83rd. Howard's grade of 56.5 would match a career-low in 2019.
Howard said he respects Alexander's game.
"I love his game," Howard said. "I love his game man. The dude's a baller."
Joe Schad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: s cornerback Xavien Howard is a Pro Bowler, despite subpar season