Let’s take a look at some players who I felt were worthy of making the trip down to Miami for this year’s game. Could they replace the current players on this year’s Pro Bowl roster? That, as always, is up for debate.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: 4,108 yards, 23 TDs, 12 INTs
Felt that this was Roethlisberger’s best season as a pro, because for the first time this Steelers team was not led by their defense. How many times did we watch Big Ben make plays for this offense — or even better — make plays out of nothing? The 13 INTs is high, but that is what you get with a QB that takes some chances. I would have to take Roethlisberger over Patriots QB Tom Brady, which was based on name recognition.
Vincent Jackson, Chargers: 68 receptions, 1,167 yards, 9 TDs
I see Jackson as the biggest snub of the ’09 season. We tend to forget that Jackson plays in an offensive system that is predicated on running the football in the down hill power game to set up the big play down the field. And, Jackson has delivered in that category, averaging over 17-yards a catch. Would the Chargers have won 10 straight without him? No chance.
London Fletcher, Redskins: 134 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, I FF
Not super gaudy stats from Fletcher, but it is time that we give him what he deserves — and that is a spot on the roster. He is a tackling machine and a leader on that Redskins defense, which would be lost without him.
Randy Moss, Patriots: 78 receptions, 1,189 yards, 13 TDs
Yes, three of his thirteen TDs came last week, but looking at the numbers, can Moss really be left off of the list? I understand that the Carolina game might have defined his season from a media and fan standpoint, but the production is there once again.
Leon Hall/ Jonathan Joseph, Bengals: 12 INTs combined
Tough to find a spot for these guys, but Cincinnati is a ten-win team because of Mike Zimmer’s defense, and this unit helped sweep the entire AFC North in ’09. Two corners who don’t have the name recognition, and although they are up against big name competition (Revis, Bailey, Ashomuga), I think they deserve some credit today.
Brent Celek, Eagles: 69 receptions, 875 yards, 8 TDs
I have to include Celek based on the fact that Donovan McNabb and the Eagles offense would look much different without him. He is a red zone weapon, and as we are seeing, is becoming more and more a part of the offense as the season has progressed. In the mold of a Jason Witten from Dallas. Will find a home on the roster next season.
Matt Schaub, Texans: 4,467 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs
Schaub leads the entire NFL in passing yards and has finally stayed healthy for an entire season. He is a long shot to make it over the current players on the AFC roster, but he does have the numbers and has his team on the cusp of the playoffs — even if they need help to get it the back door.
Ryan Grant, Packers: 1,202 yards, 10 TDs
Grant is a wild card in this discussion. He has the same yards per carry average (4.4) as Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars (who was voted to the AFC roster), and you can make an argument that he could replace DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers on the NFC roster. Plays for a ten-win team that throws the ball in the red zone.
Sheldon Brown, Eagles: 51 tackles, 5 INTs
You could make a case that Brown should be on the roster with his teammate, Asante Samuel, and I actually prefer seeing Brown down in Miami over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Arizona. What do you think?
Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders: 24-27 FGs, long of 61
Hey, why not? Janikowski is kicking field goals at almost an 89% clip and in his last three games has made kicks of 54, 54 and 61 yards. The guy has been money this season, and our own Wes Bunting loves Raider Nation.
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