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Old 12-26-2011   #1
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Default ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

PFF’s AFC Pro Bowl Squad
December 23rd, 2011 | Author: Neil Hornsby

So here it is, the one the players really want to see. No hype, no bias, just a simple acknowledgement that–on the field of play, for the first 14 games of 2011–they were among the best at their position. It’s not based on highlight reels and you get as much credit for playing well early as you do late (during the regular season, winning the first game counts the same in the standings as winning the last).

We absolutely don’t lean towards players from teams that have the best records. It’s the ultimate capitulation to the power of hype when a coach says “yes he played well, but for him to get any recognition we have to play better as a team”. Why? This is about selecting the best players, not about the laziness of people who can’t be bothered to watch or research teams that are playing poorly.

Our Process: We balloted our team–guys that spend a vast proportion of their life watching football–and asked them, at each position in the AFC and the NFC, to rank the players in order of preference. We then weighted and tallied the 18 sets of votes and let our four main analysts arbitrate on any ties. Below are our selections with starters listed [first] and some of the notable guys who just missed out with the reasons why. As always, we’d love to hear your views in the comments section below.

Ladies and gentlemen, ProFootballFocus.com proudly presents: the 2011 PFF AFC Pro Bowl Squad:

AFC OFFENSE

Wide Receivers
Wes Welker (NE), Mike Wallace (PIT), Antonio Brown (PIT), and Vincent Jackson (SD)

A fairly straight forward set of choices with both Welker and Wallace being unanimous selections (Welker ranked 1st on every ballot). I think a number of people who saw Brown begin to increase his snap count from week 14 last year knew he had talent but not many predicted the brilliance he has displayed consistently from mid-season this year. Jackson was solid all year without ever touching the dizzying heights he reached in 2009.

Just missed: A.J. Green (CIN) – garnered 6 votes but his NFL leading nine penalties put many off.

Tackles
LT – Joe Thomas (CLE), RT – Eric Winston (HOU), and Eugene Monroe (JAX)

There are some analysts on the team who are disappointed by Thomas’s below average run-blocking but when you are as good at your primary function (pass protection) as he is, you have to vote for him anyway; he’s by a huge margin the best pass blocker around. Winston is a much more balanced player and a key part of the best overall line around – the Texans. Finally Monroe, who, for some time flirted, with the title of “bust”, became a model of consistency and gave Blaine Gabbert one less excuse for his awful performances.

Just missed: David Stewart (TEN), Andrew Whitworth (CIN) – both were even more unbalanced than Thomas with a bias for pass protection. After a brilliant start Whitworth faded with performances as inconsistent as his team.

Guards
LG – Andy Levitre (BUF), RG – Marshal Yanda (BAL), and Brian Waters (NE)

Don’t you just love a guy that gets a new contract and then ups his play? That’s exactly what Marshal Yanda did and none of us could be happier because we’ve been championing his cause now for four years. Levitre was playing brilliantly before he was called on to start at left tackle and then center. He held his own at those positions and that in itself deserves consideration. Waters was let go by KC when they determined his run-blocking no longer matched his superior pass pro skills but there’s nothing like a trip north east to sort that out. He’s still not the best run blocker around, but he’s good enough and he makes Tom Brady’s life in the pocket a much easier proposition.

Centers
Chris Myers (HOU) and Nick Mangold (NYJ)

Possibly the easiest selection around as no one else came close to these two. The only question was, after a less than stellar start and a couple of weeks out injured, could Mangold catch up to the Texans’ prolific start. Myers took up the gauntlet and answered emphatically that this was no victory by default. My view is he’d have won anyway and given how much we think of Mangold that’s high praise.

Tight Ends
Rob Gronkowski (NE) and Anthony Fasano (MIA)

Everyone wants to talk about his receiving which is understandable, but what we admire about him is that he still comes prepared to block. Other than Jason Witten (more on him later) which recent receiving TE has also been prepared to show up in the running game? Well Gronkowski is one.
The second selection was much harder because it comes down to what you value more – receiving brilliance with zero aptitude for blocking or a more balanced approach. We chose the latter and went with Fasano.
Just missed: Aaron Hernandez (NE) and Owen Daniels (HOU) – how long before we just start calling these guys big wide receivers? That’s what they are; hands to die for and silky smooth moves, but not so much as an in-line block in sight.

Quarterbacks
Tom Brady (NE), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), and Philip Rivers (SD)

We don’t care what anyone else thinks – we just say what we see and what we see this year is Tom Brady playing better than last. He’s attacking more and so what if a few of the interceptions that last year were dropped, are being caught; he’s just scary good at times. Roethlisberger is a warrior and is there anymore motivation you can give to your team than he’s doing right now? Clearly he’s not at his best but he’s still better than the rest. Rivers is the ultimate default pick. The fact that before the season I talked about him breaking every record out there (I could have picked any of three others and been right) makes it all the more galling. It’s an indication of the paucity of talent at QB in the AFC that 13 of 18 of us picked him next up.

Just missed: Matt Schaub (HOU) – let us be absolutely clear, barring injury Schaub was in before Rivers.

Halfbacks
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX), Arian Foster (HOU), and Ray Rice (BAL)

Jones-Drew and Foster were both locks after excellent all-round years. It’s particularly nice that both of these guys stand up in pass protection too. There was a lot of debate about the last spot. Ray Rice is more of a receiver than a runner and that detracted in some analysts’ eyes. Sure the numbers are there but it can be boom or bust dependent on his line’s performance. In the end though he is the best receiving back playing and that stood in his favor.

Just missed: Cedric Benson (CIN), Fred Jackson (BUF) – some preferred Benson over Rice because of his aggressive, hardnosed running style but in the end 64 yards with three drops out of the backfield was too far off the pace for most. Jackson would have been the starter but for injury; plain and simple.

Fullback
Vonta Leach (BAL)

Not quite back to the pomp of his 2008 season. Then he really brought the hammer in some games, but perhaps this year has been more consistent. The best blocker in the AFC by some way.

Just missed: Marcel Reece (OAK) Look, we know he will get consideration but it’s a novelty thing. Good runner, good receiver but a poor blocker and as blocking is what we want from a fullback we’ll stick with Leach.

AFC DEFENSE

Defensive Ends
Terrell Suggs (BAL), Andre Carter (NE), and Brett Keisel (PIT)

Let’s be honest here, if we mixed the AFC and NFC only Suggs would be in with a shout of the top six spots. That’s not to say Carter and Keisel are default selections the way Philip Rivers is, just that there’s a log-jam of talent in the NFC at end. Regardless Suggs is the ultimate all-round end (end not linebacker although he is being used more and more in that role as the season progresses) with a propensity to get after the QB but also play the run better than anyone else at his position.

After a year of trying (and failing) to play stand up linebacker on the left side of the line (he’d always been a DRE prior to that) in Washington the Patriots picked up Carter to generate some pressure, but even they didn’t expect the metamorphosis they got. Carter has always been a brilliant rusher and a marginal run defender but this year, if anything, he’s played the run better than the pass and he’s done a fine job of that. Lastly, with Aaron Smith out again (and looking shot before he was injured anyway) Keisel has taken on the mantle and become as much the consummate 3-4 end as Smith was.

Just missed: Carlos Dunlap (CIN), J.J. Watt (HOU) & Jabaal Sheard (CLE) – before his injury, from which he’s just returning, no one generated as much pressure per snap as Dunlap. Unfortunately it’s always from sub –packages, so in our books he’s ineligible. Watt was close but just missed out to Keisel, while Sheard has flashed but also disappeared for huge chunks of the season.

Defensive Tackles
Geno Atkins (CIN), Broderick Bunkley (DEN), and Haloti Ngata (BAL)

No one comes close to generating as much pressure as Atkins from defensive tackle. With numbers very similar to these last year all we heard about was Ndamukong Suh but for some reason, I guess a fourth round pick doesn’t have quite the cache of a two overall. So to many Atkins is still a mystery. What makes this more surprising is he’s solid against the run too. That said he’s nowhere close to being as robust in that department as Bunkley; no one is. Talk about Tebow as much as you want, rightfully rave about Von Miller, but Bunkley is the glue that makes running between the tackles against the Broncos, an exercise in futility. To round out the group Ngata does most things well, the hype seems to have dissipated and what’s left is a fine player who can do it all.

Just missed: Sione Pouha (NYJ) & Richard Seymour (OAK) – while Pouha has only Bunkley to thank for his omission (being the 2nd best run defender in the AFC didn’t quite cut it) Seymour has only himself to blame. He’s been a more dangerous player than Ngata in all areas but ten penalties is ridiculous and couldn’t be ignored.

Outside Linebackers
Von Miller (DEN), Cameron Wake (MIA), and Daryl Smith (JAX)

Someone told me that this fine site has been renamed vonmillerrulz.com by (I’m assuming) a non broncos fan. We simply say what we see and we see a once in a generation player if Miller can repeat this season. Wake has already shown he’s not a one season wonder and has now firmly established himself among the elite pass rushers around. Remember those people who said he wasn’t getting a starting berth because of dubious run defending? They were as speculative then as they are wrong now. Daryl Smith will never, ever make the “other” Pro Bowl squad because he doesn’t create stats. It’s their loss because he’s a guy that does it all well; run, pass rush and coverage – the consummate linebacker.

Just missed: Kamerion Wimbley (OAK) – Good pass rusher, good run defender so why does he miss out? Because he’s really an end standing up in base for some and for others, well, they applied “The Brandon Dombrowski factor”. This is a mythical negative coefficient used when over 60% of your total pass rushing grade comes against the San Diego tackle.

Inside Linebackers
Derrick Johnson (KC) and Brian Cushing (HOU)

In the wreck which is the Chiefs season, one thing stands out; the performance of Derrick Johnson. A long time ago in a season far, far away (2009 actually) a very silly coach benched the Mr. Johnson for what appeared to be the heinous crime of being the second best player on the team. Well now he’s the best; a guy who can meet fullbacks head on or tracks speedy halfbacks to the sideline and the aforementioned coach is out of a job. What goes around comes around I guess, which is a tenuous segue into the defensive rookie of the year in 2009, who tanked in 2010 and has come back better than ever this year. Like Johnson, Cushing excels in all parts of the game including coverage and pass rushing.

Just missed: Ray Lewis (BAL) – There was no specific reason to criticize him because the difference between the Raven and Cushing was paper thin. Either would be a worthy choice.

Cornerbacks
Darrelle Revis (NYJ), Jonathan Joseph (HOU), and Cortland Finnegan (TEN)

Still top ranked by all but Revis has been mortal the last few weeks, perhaps he’s just luring quarterbacks into a false sense of security for a playoff run. Has any single player had a more marked effect on a defense than Joseph? A secondary which was a laughing stock is now dangerous and much of that is down to him. What’s remarkable about Finnegan this year is that he’s taken slot duty in the Titans’ nickel. Normally that’s a recipe for completions and yardage and about as tricky a thing to do as there is. He’s been great from the get go, bringing the heat in run defense, as well as his coverage, and has also cut out all the stupidity. Maybe Richard Seymour could get some pointers.

Just missed: Lardarius Webb (BAL) – a very close run thing between Finnegan and one of the only starting corners in the NFL not to give up a touchdown. In the end though, the fact the Titan played slot won us over.

Safeties
FS – Eric Weddle (SD), SS – Troy Polamalu (PIT), and Jarius Byrd (BUF)

Weddle was unanimous as he made those who questioned his contract eat their words. Polamalu is a frustrating player, because you have no idea what he’ll do; randomly take off to undercut something leaving his guy open for a big gain one play, then make a one handed diving interception the next. We’ve all seen the best, and worst, of him this year – many of us in the same game. In the end though he was a better choice than anyone else.

Byrd’s a little bit like Ngata in that, now all the hype is dying down, he’s turning into a better player than he was when he was making tons of interceptions on badly overthrown passes and little else.

Just missed: Ed Reed (BAL) – he’s in the debate because he still does most things well, just not as well as he used to do.

Special Teams
K – Sebastian Janikowski (OAK), P – Shane Lechler (OAK), KR – Antonio Brown (PIT), ST – Cedric Peerman (CIN)

Just missed: Matt Prater (DEN), Britton Colquitt (DEN) – In the end the best home-field advantage for kickers in the league weighed against the two men from Denver


http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog...ro-bowl-squad/
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Old 12-26-2011   #2
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Is it just me or is Eric Winston starting to become really overrated by the media.
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Old 12-26-2011   #3
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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Is it just me or is Eric Winston starting to become really overrated by the media.
or underrated by us
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Old 12-26-2011   #4
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Is it just me or is Eric Winston starting to become really overrated by the media.
Mathis thought he was overrated on Thursday night as well
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Old 12-26-2011   #5
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

I like all of the Texans picks and think they are fair and reasonable, except for Winston. It will be a real travesty if he is chosen and Duane Brown is not, but I wouldn't be surprised it that happens. Also you can be sure that Ray Lewis will be chosen as one of the ILBs instead of Johnson or Cushing and that will also be a joke since the old man is just a shadow of his former self of 5 or 6 years ago except for his non-stop motor-mouth. The only thing outstanding about Ray Lewis these days is his oversized mouth and gigantic ego.
Oh and JJ Watt is clearly now our top Dlineman after that tremendous performance this past Thursday in Indy. He's a worthy PB candidae but doubt he'll get his rookie year ?
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Old 12-26-2011   #6
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

I don't wanna say that Winston doesn't deserve it, but I can't see how he makes it and Duane Brown doesn't. Almost went back again to make sure Brown wasn't there, but I know I didn't see him.
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Old 12-26-2011   #7
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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I don't wanna say that Winston doesn't deserve it, but I can't see how he makes it and Duane Brown doesn't. Almost went back again to make sure Brown wasn't there, but I know I didn't see him.
PFF specifically picks a LT and a RT so Winston was not in competition with Brown. The real pro-bowl selection process doesn't work that way and 95% of the time only LT's are selected.

And to answer the question above about the media - I lean to no, he like Schaub is under appreciated by Houston fans.
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Old 12-26-2011   #8
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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PFF specifically picks a LT and a RT so Winston was not in competition with Brown. The real pro-bowl selection process doesn't work that way and 95% of the time only LT's are selected.

And to answer the question above about the media - I lean to no, he like Schaub is under appreciated by Houston fans.
Looks like James Harrison didn't get to vote. Ha! I thought I read somewhere that Brown has yet to give up a sack this season. I am not sure how they tally or credit OLs for giving up sacks but or anything like that but is Joe Thomas really that much better than Duane Brown? I don't think Brown has been underappreciated by Houston fans for a while. If one does not hear about an OL, it usually means they are doing their jobs very well. I think this selection was based on draft position.
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Old 12-26-2011   #9
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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Mathis thought he was overrated on Thursday night as well
Maybe the Colts fans were doing the wave and he got distracted again.

Seriously though, just because he's articulate and has a good knowledge of the game doesn't mean he should be immune from criticism. Kubes takes the occasional heater from fans during his segment - I've never understood why Winston gets treated w/kid gloves. His and Brisiel's false starts are ubiquitous, and Mathis made him look like David Anderson snuck in and strapped on a #73 jersey.
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Old 12-26-2011   #10
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

The hardest positions to make the pro bowl are DE, LT, and WR. There are a lot of great players at those positions and sometimes its the next year after you have a great season that you break through and make the pro bowl.
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Old 12-26-2011   #11
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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...but is Joe Thomas really that much better than Duane Brown?
Joe Thomas is da man. Tough category for Duane, who has had a great year.

I remember watching him in that first game against the Colts when Freeney was trying to bend him over backwards & break his back. Duane held his own there, and I was thinking how good he has become. Cracking James Harrison's orbital was just brutal. What a fortunate choice he's become.
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Old 12-26-2011   #12
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Bs!!
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Old 12-26-2011   #13
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

it's hard to disagree with PFF since they're so thorough in their scouting and judging system, but watching winston every week, it's just hard to imagine him being the best RT in the AFC. I feel like he gets a substantial bump, like mid-season all-pro from peter king, due to his numerous media appearances over the past couple of seasons. seems like he's trying to shoe himself in to a media job after he retires and is reaping some of those benefits while playing.

or I could just not realize what i'm watching and he could be one of the best, I don't know. it just feels like he is overrated at this point.
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Old 12-26-2011   #14
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

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PFF specifically picks a LT and a RT so Winston was not in competition with Brown. The real pro-bowl selection process doesn't work that way and 95% of the time only LT's are selected.

And to answer the question above about the media - I lean to no, he like Schaub is under appreciated by Houston fans.
Can somebody explain to me why Eugene Monroe is listed ahead of Duane Brown..

Especially when Connor Barwin almost put himself into the probowl going up against Eugene Monroe. Connor Barwin made him look like a street FA in that game and Duane Brown has never played that poorly.

According to this site Duane Brown has allowed fewer sacks and has committed fewer penalties as well. (Duane Brown hasn't committed one single holding foul all season long)

Duane Brown stats

Eugene Monroe stats

and his stats blow Joe Thomas' out of the water...

Joe Thomas

If Duane Brown doesn't get a invitation to Hawaii it will be a huge snub. Nobody is playing the LT position better than Brown is right now and he's also a elite down field run blocker with his rare athleticism. He's developed into a very special player.
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Old 12-26-2011   #15
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Originally Posted by Carr Bombed View Post
Can somebody explain to me why Eugene Monroe is listed ahead of Duane Brown..

Especially when Connor Barwin almost put himself into the probowl going up against Eugene Monroe. Connor Barwin made him look like a street FA in that game and Duane Brown has never played that poorly.

According to this site Duane Brown has allowed fewer sacks and has committed fewer penalties as well. (Duane Brown hasn't committed one single holding foul all season long)

Duane Brown stats

Eugene Monroe stats

and his stats blow Joe Thomas' out of the water...

Joe Thomas

If Duane Brown doesn't get a invitation to Hawaii it will be a huge snub. Nobody is playing the LT position better than Brown is right now and he's also a elite down field run blocker with his rare athleticism. He's developed into a very special player.
According to that site, Duane hasn't committed a holding penalty in over 3 years! Wow! Definite snub all around. We very well may have the best LT in the NFL.
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Old 12-26-2011   #16
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Wake over Suggs, Hali, and Barwin....EPIC FAIL.
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Old 12-26-2011   #17
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Here's how the fan voting looks to turn out for AFC South players..

Quote:
Here's everyone from the division who ranks in the top five at his position:
•Running back: 1. Arian Foster; 2. Maurice Jones-Drew.
•Fullback: 5. James Casey.
•Tight end: 3. Owen Daniels.
•Center: 5. Jeff Saturday.
•Defensive end: 2. Dwight Freeney; 3. Robert Mathis; 4. Antonio Smith.
•Inside linebacker: 2. Pat Angerer; 4. Brian Cushing.
•Free safety: 4. Antoine Bethea.
•Kicker: 4. Neil Rackers; 5. Josh Scobee.
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcsouth/pos...owl-fan-voting

Fans are pretty dumb.

Jeff Saturday in the top 5......no Chris Myers at all.

Foster ahead of MJD...love Foster, but have to give MJD his props. He deserves to be #1

Rackers in the top 5 and ahead of Scobee

You can make a case that Owen hasn't even been the best TE on his team this season, but he's listed at #3...same with James Casey, he hasn't been the best FB on his own roster

No mention of Watt or Barwin and the worst of all

J.Jo and Duane Brown who are having all pro type years don't even finish in the top 5 in the conference at their positions and Cushing is listed at
#4.

The fans suck at this. I'm glad it isn't like the N.B.A. and people who actually know what they're doing make up the other 2/3rds of the vote.

Last edited by Carr Bombed; 12-26-2011 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 12-26-2011   #18
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Left my boy Brown off the list. Damn.

I bet the Ninja would be on there if he didn't get that shoulder banged up.
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Old 12-26-2011   #19
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDream34 View Post
Is it just me or is Eric Winston starting to become really overrated by the media.
I'm not his biggest fan. But, if we're going to limit the selection only to RTs in the AFC, I think it's an easy group to come out on top of. Who else is out there?

I doubt there is anyone better on the right side in the run game. & his pass blocking has only been suspect when he's going against elite, or pseudo elite talent....... Cameron Wake is on that list (the PFF AFC Pro Bowl list).... & Mathis is no joke.

I don't remember Mathis getting the better of Winston in the first game with an experience RG next to him & an experience QB in the backfield.

Duane Brown coming in 2nd to anyone is a travesty.
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Old 12-26-2011   #20
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Default Re: ProFootballFocus' AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDream34 View Post
Is it just me or is Eric Winston starting to become really overrated by the media.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexansLucky13 View Post
Mathis thought he was overrated on Thursday night as well
But remember, they only analyzed the first 14 games. That embarrassment in game 15 didn't count.

How they left off Duane Brown is what amazes me. Dude didn't give up a single sack according to their own assessments. And he doesn't even get a "Just missed" rating? WTF???
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