Most NFL fans realize by now that the pro bowl is more of a popularity contest than an accurate representation of the best players in the league. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a stink once selections are announced.
And if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, something definitely smells funny.
Here’s who made the Pro Bowl from the Packers:
Greg Jennings, WR
Chad Clifton, T
*Clay Matthews, OLB
*Charles Woodson, CB
*Nick Collins, FS
(* = starter)
Here’s who also could have made it (or got “snubbed”):
Tramon Williams, CB
BJ Raji, NT
Aaron Rodgers, QB
Josh Sitton, G
John Kuhn, FB/RB
That’s a lot of Packers on the snubbed list. Lets go player by player and break down whether they deserved to be selected, or if they should be angry about getting snubbed. We will start with the snubs. (Actual starters are in parentheses.)
Tramon Williams (Asante Samuel, Charles Woodson)
Williams not making the pro bowl makes the entire pro bowl concept a joke. Before the season, everybody was trying to figure out how the Packers defense was going to stop opposing quarterbacks. Instead Williams has stepped up and the Packers’ secondary is one of the better units in the NFL. Unfortunately, Woodson stole the spot that should have gone to Williams.
BJ Raji (Ndomukong Suh, Jay Ratliff, Justin Smith)
Raji was a big reason the Packers beat the Vikings in week seven with only three healthy defensive linemen. That fact alone should have gotten him to Hawaii. But really, how do you leave a guy off who has anchored a 3-4 defense ravaged by injuries, especially to the front seven? Suh is the best defensive tackle in the league and Ratliff is solid. But Raji, who plays the most important defensive line position in a 3-4 scheme, should have gone over Smith
Aaron Rodgers (Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees)
Yes, I think Rodgers is one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFC. No, I don’t think he should be overly upset about not making the pro bowl. Rodgers has navigated an offense that managed just 13 points against the Redskins, 20 against the Dolphins, nine against the Jets and 17 against the Falcons. He also had a costly fumble against the Falcons and made a stupid decision to not slide against the Lions. Rodgers still needs to win a big game before he starts getting that automatic pro bowl nod every season.
Josh Sitton (Jahri Evans, Jordan Gross, Carl Nicks)
Two guards from the Saints? Are the Saints really that much better at running the ball inside than the Packers? Suh said that Sitton is the best guard he’s faced all season. That should be all the evidence needed to get Sitton in the pro bowl.
John Kuhn (Ovie Mughelli)
When I first heard some chatter about Kuhn being a snub, I thought it was just Packers homers being ridiculous. But after further review, perhaps I was the ridiculous one (definitely not the first time that has happened). Kuhn has 25 first downs on 80 carries. That’s the definition of efficiency. Mughelli is an excellent blocker and is going to Hawaii for that reason, but Kuhn’s production with the ball is just as impressive.
Now lets examine the Packers that were selected and whether they actually deserved it.
Troy Aikman said during the Giants game that Jennings has really “benefitted” from Jermichael Finley getting hurt. I thought that was one of the stupidest comments I’ve heard all season. Nobody benefits when a talented player gets hurt. Do we really think Jennings is better because Finley went down? No. That’s nonsense. Jennings has stepped up in Finley’s absence, not benefitted. He might be getting a few more balls thrown his way, but he likely would have been good enough to go to Hawaii with our without Finley in the lineup.
Remember when some of us were clamoring for the Bryan Bulaga era to begin after the Redskins game? Clifton has rebounded to put together another mostly steady and reliable season. I think Mike McCarthy deserves a lot of credit for Clifton’s success. McCarthy stood up for Clifton when he was struggling early and was patient enough to let Clifton get as healthy as possible before even considering a replacement. There are not many good tackles in the NFC, but Clifton is definitely one of the better ones.
Matthews has been slowed recently by a shin injury and team’s focusing their entire blocking schemes on stopping him. But this film breakdown by Jersey Al a few weeks ago shows how valuable Matthews is even when he’s not piling up sacks. If you’re still not convinced, then re-watch his upper-cut strip of Ahmad Bradshaw from last week’s game.
Remember how the Pro Bowl is more popularity contest than anything else? Exhibit A is Charles Woodson. Woodson has been reliable this season, but not a pro bowler. He’s not even the best cornerback on his own team. Unless there is a new roster spot just for someone that is highly skilled at forcing fumbles, Woodson is no pro bowler this season.
At first I thought Collins was a poor selection, but I have changed my mind. Like Williams, Collins deserves a lot of credit for the Packers success in the secondary. Plus he’s battled nagging injuries and has yet to miss a full game.
In the grand scheme of things, nobody really cares who makes or does not make the pro bowl. But it makes for some interesting conversation in the weeks leading up to the playoffs.
What say you? Why do you think so many Packers were left off the team? Is there anybody else not on this list that should have been considered?——————