Probing the 2011 Pro Bowl: A 10-pack of serious snubs
Probing the 2011 Pro Bowl: A 10-pack of serious snubs
You knew we couldn’t help ourselves.
After hundreds of hours spent watching and analyzing every player we couldn’t simply sit back and let the Pro Bowl rosters go by without bringing to attention some of the biggest snubs along with some of the most undeserved selections. Frankly, the omissions below make us wonder just how little the Pro Bowl “honor” really means — if these guys aren’t Pro Bowlers, there needs to be a revamp, plain and simple.
Naturally we’ll be producing our own Pro Bowl rosters when the regular season ends, but for now here’s our quick fire feedback on the rosters. Let’s start with the snubs, in order of snubbery.
1. Kyle Williams, DT, Bills
There are plenty of reasons why Williams hasn’t made the Pro Bowl, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach when you’ve watched him utterly dominate. Playing for Buffalo is always going to hurt your reputation when their run defense struggles. It doesn’t help that people are under the impression Williams plays as a NT when the Bills run a 4-3 far more, so blame him for their woes. And it doesn’t help that the AFC is full of excellent defensive tackles. At least that’s what people say, but strip away the reputation and hype and nobody was close to the force Williams was throughout 2010. It says something that Williams led all defensive tackles in total quarterback pressure and defensive stops, and did it with such little help around him from the Bills defense. Talk to players like Chris Keomeatu and we’re pretty sure they’ll let you know how good Williams is.
2. Trent Cole, DE, Eagles
In what world does the most complete defensive end in the league not make the Pro Bowl? Cole has more quarterback disruptions (74) than all other defensive ends, and just for good measure is our highest rated end against the run. Granted the NFC was stacked with talent at defensive end, but Cole got overlooked because guys have more sacks. Not because they’re better players.
3. Kareem McKenzie, RT, Giants
It almost seems as if the Pro Bowl has a big sign outside it that says “No Right Tackles Allowed.” Granted, protecting a quarterback’s blindside is important, but if we’ve got guys who do most of their damage from the left end or left outside linebacker spot, then why not right tackles? McKenzie has been the best of all right tackles this year. He’s done a good job in pass protection, and been in a class of his own when it comes to run blocking. He may not be the most agile of tackles, but he more than makes up for it when he locks onto a defender and with excellent positioning.
4. Quintin Mikell, S, Eagles
Our top-ranked safety is once again comically overlooked and we can only assume that when people are picking their safeties, they’re looking at the guys with the most Pro Bowl appearances and the biggest contracts. It’s a cycle that stops a guy like Mikell getting his due even though he’s broken up more passes than any other safety and is our top ranked safety in run support.
5. Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Steelers
A guy who can do it all, Timmons didn’t have the tackle numbers that Jerod Mayo did or the reputation of Ray Lewis, but his play was far superior. Only his Steelers teammate James Farrior produced more pressure from blitzing, while only the human wrecking crew Bart Scott had a higher grade in run defense. Simply put, offenses couldn’t prevent Timmons making plays for the majority of the season.
6. Tamba Hali, OLB, Chiefs
As a pure pass rusher there’s nobody who has had more of an impact than Hali and his 82 quarterback disruptions. Is he a one trick pony? Perhaps. But then are you saying that guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis aren’t? The problem of finding room for Hali comes from the ridiculous decision to put Terrell Suggs down as an outside linebacker even though the vast majority of snaps have him playing at a defensive end spot.
7. Josh Sitton, RG, Packers
2009 called guys, it wants its Pro Bowl roster back. How else do guys like Jahri Evans and Chris Snee get in ahead of the best right guard in the league? Yet to give up a sack all year, Sitton is superb in pass protection (top ranked of all guards) but an excellent run blocker. Is it his fault the rest of his colleagues play in such a way that he doesn’t get to show it all that often?
8. Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos
Last year Bailey passed the mantle of “Top Shutdown Corner” to Darrelle Revis. Well this year Revis held out and got injured, so wasn’t his dominant self. Bailey may not be in his prime, but this version of him is still pretty special. Perhaps he gave up more touchdowns than you’d like, but in a horrible year for the Broncos Champ proved to still be the top dog when it comes to cornerbacks.
9. Matt Birk, C, Ravens
He’s not Nick Mangold, but with Mangold overcoming injury earlier in the season Birk was the most consistent center in the league and remains top of our center rankings. Has given up just six quarterback pressures all year and is our top-ranked run blocking center. How the Vikings would love to have him back.
10. Bart Scott, ILB, Jets
You can’t help but feel sorry for Bart Scott. He does so much for the Jets run defense, blowing up so many runs that it makes you think they (or we) just invent a stat just for that. As it is he’s a guy who doesn’t have a lot of tackles, sacks or interceptions so he doesn’t get the attention he deserves. But if there’s one player the Jets defense couldn’t afford to lose, it’s this guy. And that’s a pretty big statement to make.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Whitworth (Bengals), Kevin Williams (Vikings), Antonio Garay (Chargers), Charles Johnson (Panthers), Harvey Dahl (Falcons), Kamerion Wimbley (Raiders), Brandon Flowers (Chiefs) and Antoine Winfield (Vikings)