The Pro Bowl Rosters, from a Bears’ Point of View…
Let me begin by saying “THANK YOU” to the Vikings for shocking the Eagles in Philly to give us first-round bye. Don’t look now, but the Bears, who play at Green Bay at 4:15 on Sunday, are going to be able to see if the Falcons and Saints both win before deciding how long to play our starters, if at all. More on that stuff tomorrow. But today, lets go over the Pro Bowl. Congratulations to Devin Hester, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, and Lance Briggs for making the Pro Bowl—I don’t think anyone could call their placement on the Pro Bowl team unjustified. Hester has been the best returner in either league; Peppers and Urlacher could both make a case for Defensive Player of the Year; and Briggs has been his usual consistent self.
Now, I want to take a look at the full NFC roster and compare, by the numbers, how some Bears who weren’t named to the squad stack up numbers-wise with the guys who made the NFC Roster (Here’s hoping NO Bears play in the Pro Bowl, because they are getting ready for a game the following Sunday).
Jay Cutler, QB- I think Cutler, especially after last weeks game, has won as many of his detractors over as he possibly can without winning a playoff game. YET. Pro-Bowl-wise, it is hard to argue with who made the roster, especially when you consider there wasn’t even room for Aaron Rodgers on the roster. Matt Ryan will be there on the basis of being the QB of the team with the Best Record. Drew Brees won the Super Bowl last year and has had a good year; and Michael Vick is the feel-good story of the NFL this year. Cutler has had a good year; but it would be hard fro someone to argue his way onto the roster above those four guys.
Matt Forte, RB- Forte may have the best argument for being snubbed as his numbers compare pretty favorably with the three guys who made the team, Michael Turner (Falcons), Adrian Peterson (Vikings), and Stephen Jackson (Rams). On the surface, if you look at rushing yards ONLY, Forte with 978 yards seems not in the same league with those guys: Turner (1304), Peterson (1267), the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw (1213), S.Jackson (1196), and the Eagles’ Lesean McCoy (1080) are all well ahead of the Bears’ RB. However, if you take into account recieving yards as well as rushing yards, then Forte ranks ahead of Turner by a large margin (1465 to 1389). Forte has more TDs (9) than Bradshaw (8) or Jackson (6); and averages more yards per carry (4.4) than Turner (4.1) or Jackson (3.7).
Olin Kreutz, C- I know there are no real NFL-kept stats to rate the performance of an offensive lineman, as opposed to other positions. However, the importance of Kreutz cannot be understated, as he is the ONLY player on our offensive line that is playing the same position they started the season in. He has held his own against the great DTs in our division. And I don’t know too much about the centers that were selected, except that Andre Gurode’s team (Cowboys) is 5 AND FREAKING 10; and Shaun O’Hara (Giants) has played in 6 OF 15 GAMES.
Chris Harris, S- I know. I am as surprised as you that I am putting his name up here. I was first in line for the “Trade for OJ Atogwe” Fan Club. I was in the camp that wanted a Major Wright-Craig Steltz combo at safety. Chris Harris is too slow at times and can be a liability in deep coverage. But he has really anchored the secondary, and has made some huge plays for us. Statisically, he is tied for the ead in INTs (5) and fumble recoveries (2) for all NFC safeties. For those of you who watch who follow the NFC closely, name me three safeties that have had better years than Chris Harris. Of the safeties chosen for the NFC, Nick Collins (Packers) has 3 INTS and 0 fumble recoveries; Antrel Rolle (Giants) has 1 INT and 1 fumble recovery; and Adrian Wilson (Cardinals) has 2 INTs and 0 fumble recoveries. Do I think Chris Harris is one of the best 3 safeties in the NFC? Probably not. But he has had the best year statistically of anyone out there.
Other players who have had good enough years to warrant consideration, especially if the stars back out at the rate they have the past few years are DE Israel Idonije, K Robbie Gould, and ST Corey Graham.