Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

by Ben Riley and Vince Verhei

This week, the Scramble team drives Gregg Easterbrook up the wall by filling out their Pro Bowl ballots five weeks before the season ends! YE GODS! We promise there will be no rambling discussion of NASA, whether a double-reverse is in fact technically a single reverse, or whether any team in the NFL embodies Good or Evil. Now, onto the balloting.

AFC (chosen by Ben Riley)

QB: Jay Cutler, Kerry Collins, Chad Pennington. The first two picks are fairly straightforward, although Cutler's numbers are inflated due to the fact that the Broncos can't play defense or run the ball, and Collins is clearly benefiting from having the league's best offensive line (and suffering with no wide receivers other than Justin Gage to throw to). Brett Favre will get the start of course -- unsurprisingly, he's currently leading the league in Pro Bowl balloting -- but after that whole stunt he pulled with the Lions coaching staff, I can't in good conscience vote for him.

RB: Chris Johnson, Thomas Jones, Steve Slaton. Yikes. My unhealthy man-love for Chris Johnson is well documented, but finding another two running backs in the AFC this year is not fun. I actually think Leon Washington is a more dangerous back than Jones, and every time I watch the Texans I seem to see Slaton failing to convert at the goal line, but who else would you nominate in this conference? A not-quite-but-almost-washed up Jamal Lewis? And please don't argue that LaDainian Tomlinson deserves it again this year, not when he ranks 29th in DYAR (just one slot ahead of Lewis, not coincidentally). As for MJD, our metrics and Doug Farrar love him but the Jaguars running game isn't scaring anyone this year.

WR: Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker. The controversial pick here is Marshall, who has a lower DYAR than his teammate Eddie Royal (but higher EYards), to say nothing of his alleged off-the-field, fast-food-based injury before the season started. Still, it's not Marshall's fault that he's Cutler's first, second and third option, and he's a game-changing player who must be accounted for (and double-teamed) on every play.

Also -- and with apologies to the gang over at Kissing Suzy Kolber -- I recognize that Welkahh's numbers are inflated because Matt Cassell cannot throw an accurate pass deeper than 20 yards, but he (Welkahh) seems to be open across the middle on every fahwkin' play this season.

FB: Le'Ron McClain. Consider this the memorial Mike Alstott Memorial "Fullback Who Goes to Pro Bowl Because of his Running (Rather than Blocking) Ability" Award.

TE: Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez. I know, way to go out on a limb, but I can't justify voting for Anthony "Paisan" Fasano or Zach "Hey, I'm Quietly Having a Good Season But No One Cares" Miller over Gates or Gonzo.

C: Kevin Mawae, Samson Satele. I almost picked Kevin Mawae as the league MVP a few weeks ago, as he is the true heart of the Titans' offensive line. As for Satele, I used to get sick in my mouth thinking about how the Seahawks could have drafted him in 2007, but Josh Wilson's emergence this year makes me feel a little better.

G: Kris Dielman, Justin Smiley. When it comes to Pro Bowl balloting, there is nothing worse than voting for guards. Are these really the best three interior lineman in the AFC? All I know is that they've looked good in the games I've watched.

T: Michael Roos, Ryan Clady, Joe Thomas. In contrast, I feel really good about my picks at tackle (although it baffles me that the NFL does not differentiate between right and left tackles). Roos is my league MVP, Clady is very close to my rookie of the year, and Joe Thomas likes to go fly fishing. 'Nuff said.

DE: Shaun Ellis, Dwight Freeney, Mario Williams. Are we all agreed now that the Texans made the right pick in 2005? Good. Freeney remains the fastest edge rusher in the game, and although Shaun Ellis is benefiting from Kris Jenkins's monster year, it's also true that Kris Jenkins is benefiting from Shaun Ellis's strong play.

DT: Albert Haynesworth, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Rogers. It doesn't pain me all that much to leave Vince Wilfork off this list because Wilfork plays for the Patriots, who I continue to find loathsome with or without Tom Brady.

OLB: Joey Porter, James Harrison, Terrell Suggs. How intense is Joey Porter? Here's Porter this week, talking about his son's pee-wee football team:

I was mad at my son's pee-wee game the other day. They was losing 27-0, and there was two minutes left. They had the twos [second stringers] in the game and we was trying to stop them. They got to fourth down, and [the opposing coach] brought back in the ones and they break a touchdown. I mean, these are kids, 33-0.

What was the point of scoring the extra touchdown for? This was the Super Bowl game. You already won. The kids is already crying. Why would you do that?

Seriously, I went up to the coach. I was pissed off. I just wanted to understand "What is the point? You just won. What's the difference in 27-0 or 33-0?" Seven- and eight-year-olds. He just said "That's life." That's a reminder to let you know how people think. So you can't never let your guard down, even in pee-wee football."

Just to recap, somewhere there is a pee-wee football coach who has the cajones to tell Joey Porter that he is unafraid to run up the score on his team because, hey, "that's life." You have to wonder if said pee-wee coach will continue to be alive if he keeps running up the score on Joey Porter's kid.

ILB: Jerod Mayo, D'Qwell Jackson. Ray Lewis and DeMarco Ryans have the reputation, but Mayo and Jackson are having better seasons.

CB: Cortland Finnegan, Nnamdi Asomugha, Quentin Jammer. What more can we say about Asomugha? Among all defensive backs in the NFL, he ranks 70th -- 70th! -- in passes defensed, because no one will throw anywhere near him. He is the best cornerback in the league, plain and simple. Meanwhile, Finnegan regularly leaves wide receivers in his wake, and Jammer provides quiet competence in the Chargers' secondary.

SS: Troy Polamalu, Chris Hope. When he was negative-three months old, Polamalu tore through the interior amniotic sack that surrounded him in his mother's womb. At age four, he smashed the family coffee table when jumping up and down after the Teletubbies were canceled. Twelve years later, he led his high school basketball team to the state championship but was ejected in the final game for having "hair like a girl." After dominating for three years at USC, he seemed destined to collide with LaDainian Tomlinson in an epic play with harrowing music playing in the background. Unfortunately, Tomlinson was playing on an underachieving team coached by Norv Turner and the hit never happened. Oh well.

FS: Ed Reed. At least one player from the Ravens' defense should make the Pro Bowl.

K: Phil Dawson. Could go Stephen Gostkowski here, but again, the fewer Patriots, the better.

P: Shane Lechler. Somehow the 2-8 Raiders have two representatives on my Pro Bowl ballot, the same number as the 7-3 Steelers. Perhaps I've been drinking while writing this column? (And if you think I'm trying to bait Raiderjoe into commenting, you are correct, sir.)

KR: Josh Cribbs. It could just as easily be Jacoby Jones, Roscoe Parrish, or Leon Washington. When did the returners get so good in the AFC?

Special Teams: Niko Koutouvides. Because he used to play for Seattle, no one cares, and I think he's Greek.

Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

NFC (chosen by Vince Verhei)

QB: Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Matt Ryan. Brees and Warner are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. Warner ranks first in DYAR and DVOA; Brees ranks second and third. Warner's team is in first place with seven wins; Brees' team is in last place with five. The traditional numbers are pretty even; Warner wins in passer rating and completion percentage; while Brees has more yards and touchdowns. I give the edge to Brees, because Warner has more talent around him. Three of the top five pass-catchers on the Saints have missed at least one game and the two exceptions -- Lance Moore and Devery Henderson -- pale in comparison to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin of the Cards. Brees has not done more than Warner, but he has done it with less. Rounding out the roster is future Rookie of the League Matt Ryan, fourth in the league in DVOA.

RB: Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson, Brandon Jacobs. Three easy choices. Portis is obvious. Tops in DYAR, third in DVOA, the best player on a fairly strong playoff contender. Peterson only leads the league in rushing. It would be an interesting debate if I had to choose between Jacobs and Peterson. Jacobs is first in DVOA and second in DYAR; Peterson just 13th and 10th. I can't help but notice, though, that Derrick Ward is second in DVOA, and Ahmad Bradshaw would be 10th if he had enough carries to qualify. Then I look at the receivers and quarterback on Jacobs' team, and compare them to those on Peterson's. It's clear that while Jacobs is the pepperoni that makes the perfect topping to the Giants' pizza, Peterson is the crust that supports the Vikings' entire pie.

WR: Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Greg Jennings. These are obvious. Boldin leads the league in DVOA, DYAR, touchdowns, and yards per game despite missing two games with a busted face. (Really, he warrants a vote just for playing with said face.) Fitzgerald, meanwhile, leads the NFC in receptions and yards, and is third in the league in DVOA, eighth in DYAR. The "Best WR Tandem Ever" debate is going to be a fun one this offseason. White and Jennings, meanwhile, are in the top four in DVOA and in total receiving yards.

FB: Michael Robinson. It's a crummy, crummy year for NFC fullbacks. Seriously, just look at the names on the ballot. Almost all of them have missed several games already. So we're going with Robinson, the QB/RB/WR/KR/blocker who also lines up from time to time in front of Frank Gore. He's a very useful player, but if I was coaching the NFC squad, I'd probably use a lot of three-wide receiver sets.

TE: Chris Cooley, Jason Witten. Chris Cooley is the only tight end among the league's top ten in receptions. Witten, meanwhile, ranks second among NFC tight ends in catches, first in yards and first in DYAR, despite playing for a team that has seen 95 passes from players not named Tony Romo.

C: Shaun O'Hara, Eric Heitmann. Both players have started every game this season. O'Hara's Giants rank second in ALY, and first in runs up the middle; Heitmann's 49ers, fifth and third.

G: Rich Seubert, Chris Snee, Steve Hutchinson. In addition to those stats I just mentioned, the Giants are sixth in runs to left tackle and tenth in runs to right tackle. And as much as the Giants pull their guards, you have to credit both guys on runs to either side. The Giants are also seventh in adjusted sack rate. Like O'Hara, Snee and Seubert have started every game. According to Pro Football Weekly, the three players have combined for just seven penalties and three sacks allowed. Years from now, we're going to rank this generation's Giants up there with the '60s Packers, '70s Raiders, and '90s Cowboys as one of the greatest offensive lines of all time. Hutchinson, meanwhile, has 10 starts for the Vikings, who rank second in runs to left tackle, 13th in runs up the middle.

T: Jammal Brown, Jon Runyan, Tyson Clabo. Brown has allowed only three sacks on a team that leads the league in pass attempts, and that's against the likes of Julius Peppers, John Abraham, and Gaines Adams in the NFC South. The Saints are also tops in the league in runs to left tackle, despite being mediocre or worse in all other directions. Runyan, meanwhile, is credited with 3.5 sacks allowed for the team that ranks second in pass attempts, and the Eagles are third in runs to right tackle. Clabo makes three Falcons on the roster. Atlanta is fifth in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate, eighth in runs to right tackle.

DE: Jared Allen, Justin Tuck, John Abraham. Allen has eight sacks, tied for eighth in the league, and the Vikings are third in the league in defending runs to his side. There's no evidence of any other end having that kind of success against both run and pass. Tuck has Allen beat by half a sack, and also ranks third among NFC ends with 41 total tackles. Abraham is tied for the NFC lead with 11 sacks.

DT: Kevin Williams, Fred Robbins, Brandon Mebane. The Vikings are top 11 in the league against the run in all directions, and Williams leads all NFC tackles with 41 tackles and seven sacks. The Giants are second in the NFC in defending runs up the middle, and Robbins is third among NFC tackles in tackles. I am loath to put any Seahawks on this roster, but Seattle is eighth in the league defending runs up the middle, and Mebane ranks just behind Robbins in tackles.

OLB: Karlos Dansby, DeMarcus Ware, Chad Greenway. Dansby is the leading tackler on the Cardinals' surprisingly stout defense, which ranks 10th against the run and second in defending passes to running backs. Ware leads the NFC with 11 sacks; no other linebacker in the conference has more than the 4.5 of the underrated Parys Haralson of the 49ers. Greenway leads all NFC outside 'backers in tackles, and also has four sacks and three forced fumbles.

ILB: Antonio Pierce, Barrett Ruud, Patrick Willis. Ruud is the top choice here. The Bucs are eighth in defending runs up the middle and in passes to running backs, and Ruud ranks third among NFC inside backers in tackles. Pierce, meanwhile, is the leading tackler on a team that ranks fourth in ALY, third on runs up the middle.

CB: Chris Gamble, Charles Woodson, Asante Samuel. The Panthers lead the league in defending No. 1 receivers, and Gamble leads all NFC corners with 63 tackles. The Packers rank third against No. 1 receivers, and Woodson has five interceptions for 124 yards and two scores. Samuel leads the league in passes defensed, on a team that ranks sixth in defending No. 1s.

SS: Chris Horton, Michael Lewis. I foolishly left Horton off my rookie of the half-year ballot a few weeks ago. Horton is in the top 10 NFC safeties in tackles, and the Redskins lead the league in passes to tight ends and have allowed only 24 plays of 20 or more yards, the lowest figure in the NFC. Lewis is third among conference strong safeties in tackles, and the 49ers are sixth in defending passes to tight ends.

FS: Nick Collins. The Packers are in the top five in the league defending passes to No. 1 receivers, No. 2 receivers, other wide receivers, and tight ends, and have allowed just 21 completions for 20 or more yards, fewer than everyone except Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Indianapolis. Oh, and Collins also leads the league in interceptions (five), return yards (230) and touchdowns (three). Your current leader for defensive player of the year.

K: Jason Hanson. Not a typo, the Lions really have a Pro Bowl candidate! The Lions lead the league in our field goal and extra point stats, and are third in kickoffs, which Hanson also handles. Playing for the Lions, he has very few kickoffs (42) and even fewer field-goal attempts (14), but he's the best choice.

P: Jeff Feagles. It's almost unfair that a defense as good as the Giants gets to play with a Pro Bowl punter too. The Giants are tops in the NFC in our punting stats, and Feagles is second in the conference with a 39.7 net average.

KR: Allen Rossum. Leads the NFC in kickoff average. Niners rank third in our kick return stats, ninth in punt returns. Rossum has five total returns of 40 or more yards (four kickoffs, one punt); nobody else has more than three.

Special Teams: Michael Robinson. Threw multiple blocks to spring Rossum for a kickoff return touchdown on Monday Night Football.

Keep Choppin' Wood

The trophy remains in Philly, but is passed from Andy Reid to Donovan McNabb, who learned all about the mysterious "tie" in the NFL this week. In fact, here's a list of the Top 10 Things Donovan McNabb Should Know About The World But Doesn't:

10. A man's relative importance in the business world is inversely proportional to the amount of time he spends with a Bluetooth plugged into his ear.

9. If you ask Andy Reid to microwave a burrito for three minutes, he will actually let the burrito defrost for one minute, then heat on "HIGH" for 45 seconds before getting confused, hitting the stop button, and then restarting the microwave for six minutes and making the burrito explode. (By "burrito" we mean "Mike Tanier.")

8. Sometimes, it's better to throw the ball away instead of taking a sack.

7. Volvos are boxy, but they're good.

6. It's not a good idea to give L.J. Smith a newborn infant to hold onto.

5. Avoid Asia, North America or Europe when starting a game of Risk; better to seize one of the smaller continents (Australasia or Africa) and build up your army before expanding outward.

4. Do not listen to Hank Baskett's fiancé for relationship advice.

3. Blogging can be fun, but also self-indulgent.

2. Do not trust the "chunks" in Campbell's Chunky Soup.

1. Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

Colbert Award

Hard to find good candidates this week. We're going to stick with Herm Edwards for breaking out the pistol offense in Kansas City. The University of Nevada offense relies almost entirely on the pistol, a half-shotgun that puts the quarterback 2 or 3 yards behind the center at the snap; they run lots of option plays, and the pistol gives the quarterback a better look at the defense. The Chiefs, sadly, didn't run the option, but they did often bring an H-back across the line in front of the quarterback to throw a block on running plays.

Loser League

QB: It was a good week for quarterbacks, statistically speaking. The low score of the week was posted by Philip Rivers, who mixed 164 yards with 2 interceptions for a 4.

RB: Hi. I'm Julius Jones. I had 14 yards from scrimmage and a fumble against the Cardinals. I scored a -1.

WR: The trend of multiple wide receivers posting 1s continues. This week, add Steve Breaston, Brandon Lloyd, Steve Smith (Giants version), Nate Washington, Koren Robinson, and Devin Thomas to the list.

K: Speaking of multiple losers, each of these kickers scored a 2: Matt Stover, Nick Folk, Josh Scobee, Nate Kaeding, Olindo Mare, and Shaun Suisham.


78 comments, Last at 01 Sep 2010, 9:03am

1 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I assume it's "James" Harrison and not Jerome at AFC OLB.

Do the Steelers have the best LB corps? Harrison, Woodley, Farrior and Foote?

At AFC Tackle, does #1 pick Long fit in the picture?

At FS, who's after Reed? Rhodes or Weddle? Griffin?

At NFC RB, I'm a homer, but I think Gore should get consideration. Over whom? I don't know. It's sounds dumb, but maybe AP? Gore's had a pretty consistent year.

I like the Michael Robinson choice at FB, but how has Sellars done as Portis lead blocker?

ILB, Pierce missed a couple games or maybe only one, but played in only parts of others, and has the NY vote going for him. So, what about Beason?

NFC CB is really deep. Gamble, Woodson, Samuel, Clements, Rogers, Tillman and maybe Winfield.

It's hard to argue against Nick Collins, but OJ Atogwe has also had an outstanding season.

It's funny that bringing in Rossum seemed rather mediocre move, yet he's having a career year. Who knew?

I like Robinson more for SP Teams than FB.

3 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Nice to see the love for Steve Slaton, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams but you left off another Texan that deserves to be a Pro-Bowler. Owen Daniels has more receptions and yards than Dallas Clark. If the Texans ever threw to him in the red zone instead of running that QB turnover play they like so much, he would definitely be on this list.

4 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

That DT position for the AFC really looks loaded. You can easily make a case for Stroud, Wilfork, Ngata, Hampton, Jamal Williams, etc... Probably a by product of the number of conference teams that run the 3-4.

By Darnell Dockett, I assume you meant Derrick Dockery. Buffalo's OL doesn't seem to be playing all that well, although Jason Peters is the scapegoat among their fans.

I really don't like Vince's decision to punt on the NFC FB pick. Both Madison Hedgecock and Mike Sellers are having excellent seasons. Hedgecock is a great blocker that can really crack some skulls.

Seubert is one of my favorite players on the Giants, and the way he came back from a possible career ending injury is inspiring, but he really doesn't deserve to make the team in anything other than a 2007 Cowboys-esque wave. Similarly, Pierce is like a coach on the field, but he's not better than Fletcher-Baker.

The other selection that seems bad is Samuel, who's making it on name recognition more than anything else. Corey Webster and Nate Clements would be much better selections this year.

20 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I went to a college game where D'Qwell was starting for the Terps, and some guy named Antron was starting for the Mids. This double punch of amazing names amused me and my roommate to such an extend that I'll always have a soft-spot for ol' Dairy Queen.

6 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

There is no way Jammer should make the Probowl over Rashean Mathis in Jacksonville.... Mathis is having a great year, shadowing #1 WR's with no safety help, and no pass rush.

7 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I should've posted this in Audibles, but hands down, the KCW of the week goes to Brad Childress, for going for it on 4&3 from the own 27 with 2:35-ish left to play and 2 TO left in a 6 point game. If you punt the ball away and stop TB 3 and out, you get the ball back just after the 2 minute warning and are only down 6. If you gfi, though, the Bucs are already in FG range. Yes, the Bucs did end up missing the FG, but so MIN didn't get hurt that badly, but it was still a poor decision by Childress.

21 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Agree on the Childress call, but I'd give it to him for (mentioned this a few times already) not once handing the ball to Adrian on 2nd-2, 3rd-2, or 4th-3.

What are the chances that AD won't pick up 2-3 yards on three tries? Too lazy to perform the math, but I'll go with 'not very likely to fail'.

8 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

seriously, if winfield doesnt get in this year im gonna lose all my respect for the pro bowl

not voting for winfield is like voting for volquez for roty

9 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

seriously, if winfield doesnt get in this year im gonna lose all my respect for the pro bowl

not voting for winfield is like voting for volquez for roty

10 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Chad Pennington? Heck, Ronnie Brown does more QB'ing than he does. Pennington has a whopping 8 TD's this year. Manning is still easily one of the top two QB's in the league (with Brady as the other) and while his numbers may be down a bit(although not as low as Pennington), he's once again put the Colts on his shoulders and has put up pretty decent numbers despite not playing until opening week, spotty pass protection early in the year, and a lack of timing with his receivers.

16 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks


Did Ben just forget about Peyton? Not a single mention of him in the pro bowl consideration, even though he's ahead of all three of your picks in both DYAR and DVOA, and like Jamie said, he's spent a good chunk of the season carrying the team to victory. Since he got his line back, he's thrown 7 TDs and 0 INTs. I know his stats are down, but considering the high expectations we always have of him and the defenses he's faced this year--look at the difference between his YAR and DYAR!--I think those expectations were too high for him with or without ankle surgery. A #3 DYAR and #6 DVOA should at least get some mention.

I don't mind the choice of Pennington--he's actually been good this year, and the stats verify that--but Kerry Collins? I know his team is undefeated, but I don't think anyone could argue that he's the reason they're undefeated. How many AFC teams would actually choose him over the QB they have?

11 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I honestly don't give two shits about whether or not McNabb knows the overtime rules; it really doesn't make any difference and I expect the coach to know that. Reid should be taking the heat for this.

It's funny to see a team with such an abysmal running game get a Pro Bowl nod for an OL, but Runyan is damned fine RT who is still capable of periods of dominance. I would have like to see a little attention thrown towards Juqua Parker who might be the best player on the defense, but it's hard to argue with the guys on this list.

Lastly, how can a guy who claims to hate the Patriots not vote to send Chiefs SS and American hero Bernard Pollard to the Pro Bowl? For shame, Mr. Reily. For shame.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

12 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Horton is in the top 10 NFC safeties in tackles, and the Redskins lead the league in passes to tight ends and have allowed only 24 plays of 20 or more yards, the lowest figure in the NFC.

Horton is an interesting choice given the widespread speculation that the team will start a healthy Springs at FS in order to move Landry to SS (and in turn move Horton to the bench). I've been to a couple of games and watched Horton pretty closely. My take is that he's good but far from great (but that's pretty impressive for a 7th round rook).

Re: few long plays against the skins, before you attribute that to Horton, read the fascinating article in today's WaPo about the DL under Blache. Persistently criticized for not generating pass rush, the DLs finally reveal that Blache has a "stop the run" philosophy that requires the DLs to engage/stand up the OL (vs. fire up field) in order to keep the OL from getting into the second level, which Blache believes is the key to avoiding long runs against. Is this a good strategy? I have no idea, but it sure was interesting to think about.

Re: Pro Bowl DBs. What about Carlos Rogers? I can't figure out what to make of him this year, when he has finally shown incredible cover skills, terrific tackling and run support but continues to be completely incapable of catching anything. How valuable is a corner who plays great coverage and tackles exceptionally but poses no INT risk to the offense?

13 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

No way Michael Lewis is a Pro Bowl safety. The 49ers' safeties are having terrible years in coverage. The reason the 49ers are good at defending tight ends is their linebackers and the fact that so many WRs are open deep.

14 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I'm no doctor, but I am father of three: Amniotic fluid/sack, not ambiotic.

Also, I am sending out Joey Porter's quotes to all the parents in my kid's peewee team. Thanks for the quote--awesome.

15 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Does anyone agree with me that Rashean Mathis is way more deserving of the Probowl this year than Quentin Jammer? Mathis has shadowed the opposing team's #1 WR on almost every play of each game, and has no safety help when doing so, and plays on one of the worst pass rushing D-lines in football. Yet, Mathis has 3 INTS, 2 returned for TD's, and a 4th INT that was called back because of offsides.

he has only allowed 20 catches this year despite covering #1 WR's with no safety help and a horrible pass rush

19 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

"he has only allowed 20 catches this year despite covering #1 WR's with no safety help and a horrible pass rush"... yeah cause everyone knows that san diego pass rush is dominant and guys like clinton hart and eric weddle are superstars.

17 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I was gonna complain that Haloti Ngata should have made it after reading the Ed Reed comment, but then I looked at who you named at DT. And that was that.

24 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Sorry, but there is no way Shaun Rogers and Kris Jenkins are better than Ngata. I can't comprehend how the best DL on the best run defense in the league is behind those bums, especially considering that Justin Bannan and Trevor Pryce really aren't that special players. Ravens LBs are great, but Ngata makes the defense go.

I know Pro-Bowl balloting is very subjective, but I do prefer the way BP looks at the All-Star game: pick the best players, not the players who are having the best years. If a HOFer like Peyton Manning is having an off year, I'd still put him on because we all know he's a better player than Pennington.

30 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Which is utterly asinine. The entire point of the Pro Bowl is to reward guys who are having great years. It's not a lifetime achievement award unless you'd really like to see former Pro Bowlers like Trent Green and Issac Bruce wheezing around Honolulu.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

34 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Well, sometimes guys come into the league and play pretty well, and people want to send them immediately to the Pro Bowl. Hey, where is Marcus McNeil, I thought he was the best LT in the league!

The truth is the best players reveal themselves over the course of several seasons, not 10 games. If an above average player is treated as an average player by opposing teams due to lack of game film, he might come across as a superstar to people like you and me. Great years often come to players simply because they were underestimated and therefore have more opportunities to make plays, not because they are great.

37 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I had drafted a well-reasoned and thought out rebuttal to your argument, then I decided "This is an impossibly stupid position to take and I am a moron for arguing against such an impossibly stupid position." So, thank you with providing me with a moment of clarity and self-actualization.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

40 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I tend to be more on the BP side of the all star game arguments; more than anything else these games are for the fans, and as a fan, I would rather see an all time great even if he isn't having his best year. So yeah, I'd rather see Peyton Manning in the Pro Bowl than Kerry Collins. Though its different in football because the game is after the season, so I dont care nearly as much about it as I do the baseball all star game (and I dont care a whole lot about that) but because its after the season, at least it isn't like other sports where you have guys with a fluke good 6 weeks or whatever; you generally have to be pretty good for the whole year. That being said, I would vote more for the perennially good players.

Furthermore, I have been on the opinion that since the game is for the fans, you can pretty much vote however you like; who am I to tell you who you want to see in the Pro Bowl?

31 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Know who else is a better player than Chad Pennington? Tom Brady.

I see no reason to send a guy to the Pro Bowl during an off year because he's historically better than someone who has played better during the current year. This isn't meant to be a Pennington-over-Manning argument (ie, I am not saying Pennington has outplayed Manning this year, although I'm not saying he hasn't either), but I believe the Pro Bowl should reflect who has played best at their position during this year, not who is the best in general.

All of this is somewhat moot given that people can vote for Brett Favre until their keyboards break, which cheapens the process somewhat, but what the hell.

50 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Here's where the baseball reference falls apart: The reason BP suggests this is because the all star game in baseball occurs after only half the season. So some guy can have a "resurgence"... who gets hot for a bit can be voted in based upon a half season of work (after which he'll tank the rest of the way through).

The football pro bowl occurs after the season is over (and really, they should hold the voting until after the season is over).

22 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Mathis is on just as bad of a pass rush team, and plays with no help over top. Jammer stays at LCB while Mathis follows around the #1 WR... He also has 3 int's to Jammer's 1 and has 2 TD's to Jammer's 0.

Jammer is a really good CB, but Rashean Mathis is better and has been better this year

23 Kerry Collins, Pro Bowler?

No, no way. Not even close. Peyton, Maybe Rivers should be before him.

25 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

1) The "Reid microwaves a burrito" bit was worth the price of admission.

2) It's DeMeco Ryans, not DeMarco.

3) When Matt Ryan wins "Rookie of the League," he'll be the first, since they'll have to create the award just for him.

27 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

How can you leave out Madison Hedgecock for Fullback while complaining about the FB's in the NFC? The guy has to block for three different RB's with very different running styles and he does very well.

28 Re: NFC Pro Bowl FB

Madison Hedgecock, not even an arguement.

A lead blocking fullback that absolutely owns the hole.

42 Re: NFC Pro Bowl FB

In reply to by Sir Jason (not verified)

How could they forget him with John Madden salivating over him constantly?

But yes, I'd say he deserves it.

53 Re: NFC Pro Bowl FB

I don't know what Mike Sellers has to do to get some respect. The guy has been one of the best lead blockers in the game for years now -- pretty much anytime you see Portis spring loose, it's with his hand firmly planted on the back of Sellers, while Sellers buries some poor LB or safety silly enough to get in his way.

Admittedly, I'm a Redskins' homer...

60 Re: NFC Pro Bowl FB

In reply to by Sir Jason (not verified)

You guys realize that as good as the NYG look not everyone on their team is a pro bowler. Often when teams are having a good year like this everyone's solid play means mistakes get covered up and decent players look like pro bowlers. Of course the pro bowl never seems to recognize this so their are always like 7 guys from some hot team...

32 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Chris Gamble a Pro Bowl corner? Lol. He's not even the best corner on his team, and defends the #2 receivers. He plays opposite Ken Lucas.

And for NFC fullbacks: Brad Hoover? He blocks for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, both of whom are having great (not Pro-Bowl caliber) seasons. He's also great at catching passes.

/Panthers homerism.

35 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I think Briggs should go ahead of Greenway. The Bears rushing defense has been very good all year, and Briggs is probably the biggest reason. He has been having a great year with the defense around him falling into shambles.

Also, this is bad year to be Orton and Forte. Both are having probowl seasons, but there are better choices at both positions this year.

Alex Brown has also played well this year, but all the players you mentioned are having better seasons.

36 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I just had an epiphany. Since the fullback is being phased out of football, why not remove the fullback vote and add a "12th man" Pro Bowl spot to reward the best fullback, slot WR, nickel DB, specialty back, or other non-starting role player that has been vital to his team?

Just a thought.

41 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Sparano going for it on 4th and 5 with 2 min remaining down by 1 in the 4th qualifies as a Colbert award candidate, IMO...

-- Go Phins!

45 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

How you manage to omit Julius Peppers in the NFC is beyond me, but not really surprising given that the Panthers probably get the least amount of coverage of any team in the NFL on FO.

56 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Seriously, how does Peppers not get a mention? 9 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 pass defenses don't get him anything?

And since I'm a Cowboys fan, I have to ask, no love for Jay Ratliff at DT? He's got 6 sacks at nose tackle, and has been destroying opposing centers all year.

48 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Mathis was burned repeatedly by Chad Johnson, who would have had 4 tds (instead of 2, all with Mathis in coverage)if Fitzpatrick hadn't overthrown him. On both of them he was wiiide open, well ahead of Mathis who was completely out of position.

49 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

that was his only bad game... and it came with allowing 5 catches for 37 yards... hardly eye popping stats... Every CB has been overthrown when beat...

The fact that mathis has only allowed 21 catches all year covering #1 WR's with no pass rush or safety help should get him in alone.. now add his 3 int's and 2 TD's and he should be a lock...

doesnt matter tho, i just saw the current probowl votes... the redskins have 21 players in the probowl according to fan voting, and antonio cromartie is in over nnamdi asomugha...

what a joke the probowl is... what a joke

54 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Madison Hedgecock is having one of the best fullback seasons I've seen in quite some time. The Giants have the second best rushing DVOA since 1995, behind only Marshall Faulk's MVP year in 2000. Much of their success comes from Hedgecock, who blasts everyone he blocks to the ground.

Peyton Manning is first in DYAR among AFC quarterbacks and should make his ninth career Pro Bowl.

Well done on voting in the entire Giants interior line. Again, crazy-good running game.

57 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Chad Pennington deserves the Pro Bowl this year. No question.

Jake Long not in the tackle department? He's been very good from what I've seen...

Jay Ratliff would be a solid DT pick.

Peyton seems like he should be on the list over Collins. He's been getting very good lately, and I don't think lack of talent around him should be one of the main reasons for him to go.

Not feeling the Matt Ryan pick. I think him exceeding expectations plays more into his nomination than actual performance does. I'd be willing to bet that Romo overtakes him before very long. Just saying. Romo #5 in DVOA while Ryan #4, and the DYAR discrepancy is thrown off by Romo's missed time (if I understand DYAR correctly). Heck, I'd even argue that ANY NFC East QB is more qualified than Ryan. If Collins can make it as a game manager, why not Campbell?

58 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

It's difficult to back the choice of Jamaal Brown at tackle, even as a Saints fan. The low sack rate is a product of Brees's quick passes. John Abraham had him for lunch and dinner on November 9. I think Carl Nicks is having a much better year, but it's difficult to watch every guard in the NFL.

61 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Actually, the number one thing Donovan McNabb should know is to never get involved in a land war in Asia. But only slightly less important is indeed your number one.

63 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

The New England Patriots would like to thank Joey Porter for drawing attention to the peewee football coach and will consider adding him to their staff.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

64 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

It's astonishing that Nick Collins is in the dicsussion for Defensive Player of the Year when coming into the season his career was considered to be in the balance as Collins simply COULD NOT CATCH THE F*CKING BALL. Bob McGinn of the Journal-Sentinel published the number of dropped interceptions by Collins since he began playing and it was in the double digits.

Now there is more to safety than interceptions but Collins ball skills as a whole were DREADFUL. Setting aside the potential picks it would take me DAYS to count the number of times Collins would be in coverage and completely lose track of the ball resulting in a cmopletion. He would be right THERE. Swipe his arm even. And still miss. It was bizarre.

He was/is great in run support. Mixes it up with everyone. Would smack his mother if she tried to turn the corner with the ball.

So toss in the coverage ability and he's a gamesaver back there helping cover for the coverage-challenged Atari Bigby and the still somewhat clueless Aaron Rouse. Collins has multiple times come from NOWHERE to break up a play.

I thought, no HAD TO BELIEVE, that Collins was in his contract year. But nope. He's on board for another season. So maybe, just maybe, the light has legitimately turned on for good.

Which would be AWESOME..............

68 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

Mathis better get in this year... no Jags last year on a 11-5 team, Mathis and Greg Jones are deserving of it this year, and it looks like they will be snubbed again... the probowl is a joke

69 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I know you have plenty of NY Giants on the NFC team, but I think you are missing the boat on Giants FB Madison Hedgecock. He doesn't get the credit he deserves, but roll some tape and watch how much Hedgecock has to do with the monstrous Giants run game.

70 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

1- Ngata might be the best tackle in the game right now, he's up there with Haynesworth, sometimes he's an unstoppable force and at other times an immovable object. (I wish the niners had taken him instead of Vernon Davis.)

2- I like Michael Robinson and he's a good pick as a special teamer, but he's hardly played any fullback, possibly less then ten times all year.

3- Nate Clements is better than you think, he has very little help from the niners' pass rush.

4- Hedgecock's play at fullback will benefit nearly as much from the Giants' offensive line as the runners do. Big fullbacks are usually at their best when the line affords them the opportunity to ge a head of steam before they have to block. Personally, Sellers (specifically that he's playing true fullback more as opposed to h-back) has been one of hte main reasons behind Portis' success.

72 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

As a Panthers fan, I'm surprised to see anyone taking up for Ken Lucas, when I feel that Lucas should be playing in the nickel behind Gamble and Richard Marshall.

Brad Hoover should not even be mentioned as a Pro Bowl fullback.

The players that are most deserving of Pro Bowl votes would be Julius Peppers, Jon Beason, Chris Gamble, and John Kasay (18/19 FGs and 24/24 XPs, only missing from 54 yards out).

73 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

I actually laughed so loudly at the Donovan McNabb list that people around me at work asked if everything was okay. Thanks!

74 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Pro Bowl Picks

It's DeMeco Ryans, not DeMarko. ;)

Anyway, some thoughts.

1)Revis should be a Pro Bowler ahead of Quentin Jammer, without question.

2)The AFC Pro Bowl QBs should be Cutler, Rivers, and Peyton Manning. I completely disagree with Ben's choices.

3)Dwight Freeney has not had a Pro Bowl season, unless he's going on his reputation. On second thought, that is a Pro Bowl season. My bad.

4)Ward should go instead of Welker.

5)McClain doesn't belong.

6)You did make the right choices at offensive and defensive tackles, so kudos for that.