New England Patriots Who Deserve To Be Pro Bowlers
New England Players Who Deserve To Be Pro Bowlers
Once again the New England Patriots are in first place in the AFC East and still have an outside chance of the No. 1 seed in the conference after their 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Their 10-4 record is the NFL’s model of consistency and also means the squad will have plenty of players heading to Hawai’i despite their struggles.
Tom Brady has been carrying this team thus far and even though he will not win the MVP for the third time in his career, without Brady the Patriots would be in the cellar. Since the Patriots have not been playing up to task on the offensive line (granted there have been injuries; Logan Mankins had to play left tackle against the Dolphins), no offensive linemen will be nominated here for the Pro Bowl. Collectively, the offensive line has allowed Brady to be sacked 36 times, the sixth most in the NFL.
Injuries have played a very large role in the struggles the Patriots have had this season. Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Rob Gronkowski have combined to earn nine Pro-Bowl selections, but have also combined to miss 25 of a possible 42 games.
In their absence, the special teams, the defense and the offense have stepped up in various roles. The defense, which during the last three seasons has ranked towards the bottom of every major statistical category, has stepped up a bit, giving up only 22.1 points/game (10th in the NFL), which should earn themselves a few Pro Bowl bids.
The special teams, or “the kicking game” as Bill Belichick likes to reference it, has been incredibly consistent and the offense, despite the depleted core at receiver, has still been the strong suit of the offense. All in all, I believe six Patriots are deserving of Pro Bowl selections.
Brady obviously is not having one of his all-world type seasons in 2013, but his numbers are still pretty impressive compared to the rest of a weak AFC quarterback field. Heading into Week 15, Brady was 13th in the NFL in quarterback percentage at 88.3 (third in AFC behind Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers), ninth in touchdown passes with 21 and sixth in the league in passing yards (3,685). Brady is doing all this with an insanely depleted Patriots receiving corps. This would be Brady’s ninth selection to Hawai’i and fifth straight.
Gostkowski is 28 of 30 on the season (93.6 percent, fourth in the NFL) heading into Week 15, only missing a few long attempts. However, his makes are what Patriots fans remember. The eight-year veteran’s two 53-yarders at Houston are what gave them the 34-31 win.
Drafted essentially as a gunner, Slater has really etched out a good career for himself in his six years in the league. He is constantly a presence on every special teams play, can return kicks and should be making his third straight trip to the Aloha State.
Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were supposed to be Brady’s guys heading into 2013, but Edelman has been really the only receiver Brady can consistently count on. After never having more than 37 catches in a season, the fifth year former quarterback has 76 receptions, good for seventh in the NFL.
After 14 games, the second-year pass rusher out of Syracuse has cemented himself as New England’s best defensive end since Richard Seymour. Jones’ 10.5 sacks equate to ninth best in the NFL.
Talib has been dominant most of the time at the NFL’s least forgiving position in 2013, shutting down some of the game’s best in Jimmy Graham, Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas.