The official 2014 Pro Bowl roster was released yesterday, and there are always snubs to pick apart. Contrary to my proclivity towards kvetching about the make-up of the rosters (since, you know, that’s what this post is about), the fans who vote for the players usually get things right. However, the players they wrongfully add or snub give us insight as to which players are overrated and underrated by the majority of NFL fans, and this serves a useful purpose for analysis. So without further ado, let’s get to my gripes with the Pro Bowl rosters.
I really like what Cam Newton‘s done this season, and his third season in the league has definitely been a big year for him as far as improvement goes. He’s playing the most efficient football of his career, and he had a solid game against the New Orleans Saints after some initial struggles. His rushing ability is truly a wonder to behold, but I don’t think he’s been one of the five best quarterbacks in the league this season. He’s been top-ten this year, but he hasn’t been top-five. Nick Foles would have been a better addition to the squad, because he has the league’s highest QB Rating and the fourth-highest ESPN TQBR.
Although I’m fine with Tom Brady being on the Pro Bowl squad, I wouldn’t have picked him either. Josh McCown did an incredible job of leading the Chicago Bears after Jay Cutler‘s injury, and he played so well that Cutler vs. McCown was actually an intense debate (it still kind of is). Brady deserves to make the list, but I hate that McCown’s league-leading ESPN TQBR and higher yards per attempt average won’t be honored on the Pro Bowl squad. That said, he’s had much better receivers to work with than Brady, because Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are two incredible talents.
The group of RBs in this year’s pool is terrific, but I do feel like Alfred Morris was snubbed. The guy is having an excellent follow-up to his out-of-nowhere rookie campaign, and Morris gets a lot more real estate than his blocking allows. He is fifth in the league in rushing yards and averages more yards per attempt than Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and Matt Forte. I would have picked him over Frank Gore, but you can also make the arguments that Eddie Lacy and even DeMarco Murray (maybe the game’s most underrated back) deserve to be on there. I wouldn’t, but they have cases.
It was interesting to see Brandon Marshall make the Pro Bowl squad over Alshon Jeffery, who has more receiving yards, but I am going to agree with the voters on this one. Marshall has done an amazing job of freeing up Jeffery for a lot of those numbers, and he does an awful lot of the dirty work. Firstly, he does a better job of moving the chains and faces more coverage than Jeffery. Secondly, Marshall is the best blocking WR in the league, and it’s not even close. You don’t think Matt Forte appreciates that?
That said, I would have taken Jeffery or Pierre Garcon, who has been among the elite this year over Demaryius Thomas. I love Demaryius and he’s Peyton Manning‘s best target, but his numbers aren’t as good as Garcon’s or Jeffery’s. Plus, you know, his QB is better than Jeffery’s and Garcon’s QBs. I would have given the honors to Garcon who actually leads in the league in receptions, and the Redskins two best skill position players really got snubbed.
How the heck do you leave Anthony Sherman off? How? He’s the best blocking FB in the league right now, and it’s not even close. Marcel Reese has the most talent at the position, but he hasn’t been used enough to make the cut- remove him for a different AFC West fullback.
The voters hit this one out of the park, but I disagree with the Branden Albert selection. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of the league’s better offensive tackles, but I don’t see how he makes the list over guys like Jordan Gross and Zach Strief. Gross has done an impeccable job of covering Cam’s blindside, Strief has clearly been the league’s best right tackle this year, and even AFC East duo Nate Solder and Cordy Glenn are significantly more deserving than Albert (don’t underrate either one of those guys).
Congrats, you just snubbed the best guard in the NFL: Evan Mathis. Go take a lap, especially if you voted Mike Iupati over him. Iupati and Logan Mankins are great players, but they are merely having “good” years. Detroit Lions rookie Larry Warford, renaissance man Travelle Wharton of the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers stud Josh Sitton, and Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro are all more deserving.
Manny Ramirez got snubbed big time by Max Unger, who is having a down year (largely due to injuries). Meanwhile, Ramirez is one of the best run blockers in the game and has been a revelation as a first-year starter for the Broncos. Dan Koppen, who? Right? Anyway, Ramirez really should have made the Pro Bowl, and I would strongly recommend a re-watch of the Broncos-Patriots game as an example of Ramirez’s flat-out dominant run blocking. Houston Texans perennial top-performer Chris Myers was also snubbed, and he should have made it over Mike Pouncey, who has been solid but not quite as dominant as Myers.
Looks perfect, no disagreements from me.