Friday, December 19, 2003

I am not a big fan of the Pro Bowl. It is an afterthought to the NFL season and it seems even more irrelevant than the other professional sports league's All Star games if that is possible. I'm sure the league makes money off of it, but its sure to cost good teams money too when it comes time for a team's Pro Bowl players to negotiate their next contract. Nonetheless, its a good way for the league to give some congrads to the players who had excellent seasons, and to some deserving Packers.

Ahman Green was an easy selection. The top 3 NFC rushing leaders to this point were selected and Green is #2. Maybe Brett Favre was a surprise selection for some, but I think it was obvious. Favre is having a great season and he is playing as well as he ever has ever played. Marco Rivera might have gotten the nod because once an offensive lineman gets selected, it seems like he is selected ever year, but it also is a selection to respect a great offensive line.

The choice of Pro Bowl alternates was a little strange. Mike Flanagan was selected, but the NFL could have just as easily selected all the non-Rivera starting offensive lineman as alternates. Nick Barnett was a surprise, but he has played great and deserves it. Bubba Franks has been a forgotten man the last few weeks, and has not made an impact this season, but he was selected. William Henderson has been great and could have been named starter, although I don't have any objection to naming Fred Beasley as the starting fullback. Ryan Longwell has been automatic all year within 45 yards and deserves the selection. Mike McKenzie and Darren Sharper have been the two best players in the Packers secondary, but it is unusual to see two members of a secondary ranked #26 in the NFL be selected as alternates. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is a surprise since he hasn't been very good against the run, he was so much better last year at consistently speed rushing on passing plays, and he is tied for 8th among NFC defensive ends with 7 sacks.

I read on that Mike Wahle was upset that he didn't get select, even as an alternate. All starting five (Chad Clifton, Wahle, Flanagan, Rivera, and Mark Tauscher) offensive lineman have been excellent this year, all of them deserve recognition, but I do agree that Wahle has stood out among the starting five. Primarily on running plays where he pulls to lead block, because he always makes a great block and it is intimidating for a linebacker/cornerback/safety to see a giant 6'6" 307 lbs. lineman bearing down on you. If you wanted to single out a game for Wahle (although it was a group effort along with Flanagan and Rivera) it would be the Tampa Bay game, when he was dominated Tampa Bay's high paid defensive tackles (Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland) and opened huge running lanes.

Overall it was great to see so many Packers get recognition. Now I just want to see them win their last two games.

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