Thursday, December 31, 2009

Six selected to premature Pro Bowl

The Cowboys have six Cowboys named to the Pro Bowl. Mainstays DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis join second-timer Jay Ratliff and first-time selection Miles Austin as NFL all-stars. And while all six may be honored by their selections, these players and their fans would rather see them bypass the Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl to play for the Lombardi Trophy.

I'm not a fan of this year's Pro Bowl taking place a week ahead of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl participants will not be playing in the game, and there's a good chance a healthy dose of conference championship game participants will skip the game as well.

For Miles Austin, this selection validates how great his out-of-nowhere season has been. He's been a potential Pro Bowler since his first career start against Kansas City, a 10-catch, 250-yard, two-touchdown explosion that jump-started his season. His selection mirrors that of Tony Romo in 2006, when the quarterback took over for Drew Bledsoe and led Dallas back to the playoffs.

Ware and Ratliff continue to lead one of the NFL's stingiest defenses, as Dallas gives up under 17 points per game, tops in the NFC. More surprising however was that there were the only two selections for the Dallas defense. Not only was Mike Jenkins left off the roster despite a breakout season in his second year in the league, but there was not one other linebacker joining Ware. Keith Brooking? Bradie James? I would have thought at least one of them would have gone as well. While I can see Bradie James being overlooked -- hey, it happened last year too -- but Brooking has been the focal point of the Cowboys defense on so many broadcasts, that I assumed his increased exposure would go along with his high-intensity on the field to earn a selection.

Not surprisingly, Jason Witten made his sixth Pro Bowl appearance. The tight end is now tied for sixth among Cowboys with the most Pro Bowl selections. He's been Romo's favorite target since 2006 and just put up another 80+ catch season.

Seeing Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis each make the Pro Bowl reminds me what the Cowboys should be able to do. With the Cowboys not being able to move the ball efficiently on 3rd & 1 or 4th & 1 over the last few weeks, perhaps these selections will put some pep back in the step of an offensive line capable of overrunning a defense for one measly yard. Gurode and Davis are each going to a third-straight Pro Bowl.

For quarterback Tony Romo, he just missed out on a third-straight Pro Bowl, giving way to Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. He has a career-low in interceptions this year while being super-efficient under center. He has matured into a steady hand at QB, and if the Cowboys don't make the Super Bowl and one of the other three quarterbacks selected does, look for Romo to be the alternate who plays in Miami on January 31.

See the 2010 Pro Bowl selections:
NFC Pro Bowl Roster
Quarterback* Drew Brees, New Orleans
Brett Favre, Minnesota
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Running back* Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Steven Jackson, St. Louis
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina
Fullback* Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia
Wide receiver* Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
* DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
Miles Austin, Dallas
Sidney Rice, Minnesota
Tight end* Vernon Davis, San Francisco
Jason Witten, Dallas
Tackle* Jason Peters, Philadelphia
* Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota
Jonathan Stinchcomb, New Orleans
Guard* Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota
* Jahri Evans, New Orleans
Leonard Davis, Dallas
Center* Andre Gurode, Dallas
Shaun O'Hara, N.Y. Giants
Defensive end* Jared Allen, Minnesota
* Julius Peppers, Carolina
Trent Cole, Philadelphia
Interior linemen* Kevin Williams, Minnesota
* Darnell Dockett, Arizona
Jay Ratliff, Dallas
Outside linebacker* DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
* Lance Briggs, Chicago
Brian Orakpo, Washington
Inside/midde linebacker* Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans
Cornerback* Charles Woodson, Green Bay
* Asante Samuel, Philadelphia
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona
Free safety* Darren Sharper, New Orleans
Nick Collins, Green Bay
Strong safety* Adrian Wilson, Arizona
Special teams
PunterAndy Lee, San Francisco
PlacekickerDavid Akers, Philadelphia
Kick returnerDeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
Special teamerHeath Farwell, Minnesota

AFC Pro Bowl Roster
Quarterback* Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Philip Rivers, San Diego
Tom Brady, New England
Running back* Chris Johnson, Tennessee
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville
Ray Rice, Baltimore
Fullback* Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore
Wide receiver* Andre Johnson, Houston
* Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
Brandon Marshall, Denver
Wes Welker, New England
Tight end* Dallas Clark, Indianapolis
Antonio Gates, San Diego
Tackle* Jake Long, Miami
* Ryan Clady, Denver
Joe Thomas, Cleveland
Guard* Logan Mankins, New England
* Alan Faneca, N.Y. Jets
Kris Dielman, San Diego
Center* Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets
Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis
Defensive end* Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
* Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Mario Williams, Houston
Interior linemen* Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
* Vince Wilfork, New England
Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh
Outside linebacker* Elvis Dumervil, Denver
* James Harrison, Pittsburgh
Brian Cushing, Houston
Inside/midde linebacker* Ray Lewis, Baltimore
DeMeco Ryans, Houston
Cornerback* Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets
* Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland
Champ Bailey, Denver
Free safety* Ed Reed, Baltimore
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo
Strong safety* Brian Dawkins, Denver
Special teams
PunterShane Lechler, Oakland
PlacekickerNate Kaeding, San Diego
Kick returnerJosh Cribbs, Cleveland
Special teamerKassim Osgood, San Diego

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