Silver linings in all-star snubs

If Nick Barnett, Charles Woodson and the others are disappointed, they've got at least three games to show they deserved a trip to Honolulu.'s Steve Lawrence says the 12-2 Packers just found more motivation.

Soon, the uproar over Pro Bowl voting will be rendered mute, and the games that really matter will thankfully become the focus again.

Should the Packers have had more than four players selected to that farcical all-star game? Yeah, probably. If I'm coach Mike McCarthy, am I disappointed by that? Heck no.

If Nick Barnett is disappointed that he won't be playing in the Pro Bowl, then let him tear the head off of Kyle Orton on Sunday and Jon Kitna the following week. Then, after the Packers enjoy a first-round playoff bye, remind Barnett of that snub so he can take his frustrations out on Sean Alexander or Adrian Peterson or whichever running back the Packers will be facing in the divisional round of playoffs at Lambeau Field.

If Charles Woodson is disappointed, then he should pick off Tony Romo in the NFC championship game.

If Greg Jennings feels his 12 touchdown receptions made him worthy of a trip to Honolulu, then he should show the world what he can do by stretching his touchdown streak from five games to 10.

"I guess people are overlooking us," said Donald Driver, one of four Packers who will be going to the Pro Bowl along with Brett Favre, Aaron Kampman and Al Harris. "I think a lot of guys are upset that they didn't go. A lot of guys are mad. If you look around this locker room, there should have been at least nine or 10 guys who should've went."

Nine or 10 is an exaggeration — the undefeated Patriots had only eight, after all — but there's something to be said about a team with only four Pro Bowlers being good enough to possibly finish the regular season with a 14-2 record. Football is the ultimate team sport, and these Packers have been better than the sum of their parts all season.

If a few all-star snubs make some players mad, then so be it.

Fact is, not everyone can make the Pro Bowl. And to put someone on the roster, you have to take someone off.

At cornerback, for instance, there are only three per conference. Woodson is having a great year, but are the Packers' corners so good that they should form two-thirds of the NFC squad? Probably not. Is Woodson having a better year than Harris, who finally gets to go to Hawaii? Maybe, but there's a reason why the coaches match Harris with the opponent's No. 1 receiver every week. Harris' work against No. 1 receivers is more impressive than Woodson's work against No. 2s.

Only two inside linebackers make the grade. Barnett is having a big year, but so are San Francisco rookie Patrick Willis, who leads the NFL in tackles, and Seattle's Lofa Tatupu, who has four interceptions and been in on three fumbles compared to two interceptions and no fumbles for Barnett.

Had Jennings been the No. 1 alternate at receiver, Driver said he would have bowed out so Jennings could take his place. That's a great gesture, but it's hard to overlook the fact Jennings is tied for 24th in the NFC with 50 receptions. That doesn't make him among the NFC's top four receivers, even though Jennings is a budding star.

There was even some sentiment — mostly in the media — for rookie kicker Mason Crosby, who leads the NFL in scoring. Crosby, though, ranks only 12th among NFC kickers with 73 percent accuracy on field goals.

The Packers could get more Pro Bowlers, considering the frequency with which players bow out of the all-star game for reasons varying from hangnails to runny noses. Left tackle Chad Clifton, Barnett and Woodson are first alternates.

Regardless, there are more important things for this team than sending players to the Pro Bowl. Getting to the Pro Bowl provides bragging rights in the NFL fraternity. You know what else does? Getting to and winning the Super Bowl.

AFC-NFC Pro Bowl roster

Sunday, Feb. 10

At Honolulu


National Football Conference


Wide Receivers — s-Terrell Owens, Dallas; s-Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; Torry Holt, St. Louis; Donald Driver, Green Bay.

Tackles — s-Walter Jones, Seattle; s-Flozell Adams, Dallas; Chris Samuels, Washington.

Guards — s-Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota; s-Leonard Davis, Dallas; Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia.

Centers — s-Andre Gurode, Dallas; Matt Birk, Minnesota.

Tight Ends — s-Jason Witten, Dallas; Chris Cooley, Washington.

Quarterbacks —s-Brett Favre, Green Bay; Tony Romo, Dallas; Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle.

Running Backs — s-Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia; Marion Barber, Dallas.

Fullback — s-Tony Richardson, Minnesota.


Ends — s-Aaron Kampman, Green Bay; s-Patrick Kerney, Seattle; Osi Umenyiora, N.Y Giants.

Interior Linemen — s-Kevin Williams, Minnesota; s-Pat Williams, Minnesota; Tommie Harris, Chicago.

Outside Linebackers — s-DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; s-Julian Peterson, Seattle; Lance Briggs, Chicago.

Inside Linebackers — s-Lofa Tatupu, Seattle; Patrick Willis, San Francisco.

Cornerbacks —  s-Al Harris, Green Bay; s-Marcus Trufant, Seattle; Terence Newman, Dallas.

Free Safeties — s-Sean Taylor, Washington; Ken Hamlin, Dallas.

Strong Safety — s-Darren Sharper, Minnesota.


Punter — Andy Lee, San Francisco.

Placekicker — Nick Folk, Dallas.

Kick Return Specialist — Devin Hester, Chicago.

Special Teamer — Brendan Ayanbadejo, Chicago.


American Football Conference


Wide Receivers — s-Randy Moss, New England; s-Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; Braylon Edwards, Cleveland; T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati.

Tackles — s-Matt Light, New England; s-Jason Peters, Buffalo; Jonathan Ogden, Baltimore.

Guards — s-Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh; s-Logan Mankins, New England; Kris Dielman, San Diego.

Centers — s-Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis; Dan Koppen, New England.

Tight Ends — s-Antonio Gates, San Diego; Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City.

Quarterbacks — s-Tom Brady, New England; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh.

Running Backs — s-LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego; Willie Parker, Pittsburgh; Joseph Addai, Indianapolis.

Fullback — s-Lorenzo Neal, San Diego.


Ends — s-Jared Allen, Kansas City; s-Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee; Jason Taylor, Miami.

Interior Linemen — s-Albert Haynesworth, s-Tennessee; s-Vince Wilfork, New England; Jamal Williams, San Diego.

Outside Linebackers — s-Mike Vrabel, New England; s-James Harrison, Pittsburgh; Shawne Merriman, San Diego.

Inside Linebackers — s-DeMeco Ryans, Houston; Ray Lewis, Baltimore.

Cornerbacks — s-Asante Samuel, New England; s-Champ Bailey, Denver; Antonio Cromartie, San Diego.

Free Safety — s-Ed Reed, Baltimore.

Strong Safeties — s-Bob Sanders, Indianapolis; Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh.


Punter — Shane Lechler, Oakland.

Placekicker — Rob Bironas, Tennessee.

Kick Return Specialist — Josh Cribbs, Cleveland.

Special Teamer — Kassim Osgood, San Diego.

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