The NFL Pro Bowl rosters were announced on December 26th and among them were three Green Bay Packers who were voted in outright. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and center Jeff Saturday will represent the Packers at this year’s contest. Here is a look at each and what got them here.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is having yet another phenomenal season. He is obviously the face of the team and their fate rests squarely on his shoulders.
A look at the numbers tells us all that we need to know about why Rodgers will be the NFC’s starting quarterback in this year’s Pro Bowl: 3930 yards, 67% completion percentage, 35 touchdowns (just eight interceptions) and a quarterback rating of 106.2. And those are Rodgers’ average numbers over the course of his career as a starter.
Just when it seems that there has to be some sort of drop-off in Rodgers’ play, he comes out and puts up more great numbers and the Packers, again, find themselves strong contenders to reach another Super Bowl. Despite the issues that the team has had with the offensive line and in pass protection, Rodgers has continued to find ways to make plays and win games for this team. A very well deserved Pro Bowl start for #12.
Linebacker Clay Matthews III
Matthews is having another stellar season. He has 12 sacks and needs just one and a half more to tie his career high set back in 2010. After a bit of a dropoff last season, Matthews has re-emerged as the pass rushing threat that was so key in Green Bay’s success during their Super Bowl season. That he has posted those numbers despite missing four games is even more noteworthy.
Matthews just continues to play with such a high motor and has elevated his run defending skills. He is the epitome of what describes a true “difference maker”. When he was out the Green Bay pass rush took a major step back and struggled at times.
He seems to be fully back and healthy from the hamstring injury that forced him out earlier this season and the Packers will need Matthews at 100% for the postseason push.
Center Jeff Saturday
It’s very likely that had someone told us, back in March, that Saturday would be in this year’s Pro Bowl, most of us would not have been surprised. Many of us hoped that the Pro Bowl center that Saturday has been throughout his career was the same guy who was coming to shore up the center position with Scott Wells having departed in free agency.
Ironically, Saturday’s nomination comes just one week after he was benched in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith. Saturday has struggled for most of this year, especially in his run blocking. With cold weather and playoff games looming, the run game is as important as ever and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has opted to go with the younger and more agile Dietrich-Smith.
Saturday certainly deserves some credit for a stellar career and his contributions to the league through his involvement as the Player Representative with the NFL Players Association. However, his play this year has dropped off significantly of what we have come to expect of Saturday and there are certainly other centers within the conference who are more deserving.
This nomination illustrates the power of the vote that fans have when making their Pro Bowl picks. Should the Packers be in the disappointing position of not having made it to Super Bowl XLVII, this Pro Bowl could be the last time Saturday wears an NFL uniform.
Randall Cobb and Josh Sitton have been named as first alternates. Other alternates include fullback John Kuhn, defensive tackle BJ Raji, cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Charles Woodson——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: