Recently the rosters for the National Football League's annual popularity contest, known as the Pro Bowl, were announced. Let's forget for the moment names like all-world rookie Joe Thomas, leading O-line fan vote getter Eric Steinbach, and the toughest mismatch in pro football Kellen Winslow were nothing more than alternates and not outright named participants. What is really bothersome the day after these rosters were announced is the hype machine being pumped up around the supposed biggest "snub" according to the media, Jacksonville Jaguar running back Fred Taylor.
Is Fred Taylor REALLY that big of a snub? The case can certainly be made the Browns' own starting running back, Jamal Lewis, was in fact moreso of an oversight.
The stats need a little closer examination in this fan's opinion.
The realization quickly presenting itself this season is that not only does Jamal have plenty of gas in the tank, which was openly questioned by many, but how impressively he has gone about his business this season.
For all the recognition Lewis has received during the Browns recent playoff run take this into consideration, Jamal has cracked the 1000 yard mark in just 12 games this season. Remember he only had a single career before being injured at New England, and then sat out the next due to the injury.
Lewis has amassed 1074 yards in those twelve games. The only players to do it as quickly this year and their respective totals at stated point were:
Adrian Peterson – 1278 yards
Brian Westbrook – 1156 yards
Willie Parker – 1093 yards
LaDainian Tomlinson – 1049 yards
Willis McGahee – 1048 yards
It's no coincidence these same five lead the league in rushing currently. Pretty lofty company this season for the Browns' workhorse.
Also, the single attempt for eleven yards against the New England Patriots really brings down Lewis' overall yards per game average. Currently the Browns back is ranked 10th in the league. Take out that single carry game, and he shoots up to fifth at 89.42 ypg. Again placing the back only behind the likes of Peterson, Parker, Westbrook, and Tomlinson.
Not even going to mention Mr. Lewis is tied for 5th in the league in rushing touchdowns as well. Oh wait, just did.
Just for comparison sake head to head, Taylor's numbers in the same categories discussed:
812 yards rushing through 12 games
77.9 yards per game
So instead of saying, "What about Fred Taylor?" As Browns fans we should all be saying, "What about Jamal?"