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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins.
December 22, 2004
Pro Bowl Travesty
It's a travesty.
It's a sham.
It's a mockery.
It's (all together now) a traveshamockery!
The Washington Redskins have statistically the best defense in the NFC. Are you ready for the list of players off of that defense who have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl?
The most egregious slight was to Cornelius Griffin, the Redskins' player of the year. He's been a one-man wrecking crew in the middle. The success of the team's defense starts with him. And Mr. Griffin is the fourth alternate for the Pro Bowl team at defensive tackle. Think about it. There are two starters and three other alternates in front of him, so by this logic he's the sixth-best defensive tackle in the NFC. Something tells me that the guards and centers who have lined up against him this year would beg to differ.
Stats aren't the main measuring stick for defensive linemen, but they're a good starting point for comparison. Thanks to Rat Boy at the site this blog proudly calls home, WarpathInsiders.com, for compiling these numbers for Griffin and the two players selected at DT for the NFC:
DT Shaun Rogers:
Defense's Rank: 11th out of 16 teams.
Tackles: 47 Solo
Pass Defenses: 5
DT La'Roi Glover:
Defenses' Rank: 10th out of 11 teams.
Tackles: 30 Solo
Pass Defenses: 1
And your 4th Alternate:
DT Cornelius Griffin:
Defense's rank: 1st out of 16 teams.
Tackles: 52 Solo
Pass Defenses: 5
Among the others snubbed were Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs, arguably the best CB tandem in the NFC. They also are alternates, along with some others. The complete list of Washington alternate selections from Redskins.com:
Clinton Portis, RB
Sean Taylor, S
Antonio Pierce, MLB
Fred Smoot, CB
Tom Tupa, P
Shawn Springs, CB
Cornelius Griffin, DT
It will be argued that players from bad teams don't make the Pro Bowl and that certainly can be demonstrated to be true. But the whole darn NFC except for one or two teams isn't very good. If that form was followed they'd be sending the Eagles and Falcons to Honolulu and let them split up the positions.
Anti-Redskins conspiracy or bias? Probably not. For whatever reason, the defense did not impress those who vote for the Pro Bowl as much as it impressed those of us who watch it week after week. But it's annoying nonetheless.
As we try always to emphasize the positive here, hats off to Washington, who the defensively-challenged Colts inexplicably let get away right into the waiting arms of Gregg Williams and the Redskins. What makes him special is his ability to make the big play but rarely get caught out of position. He's a solid citizen, too.
And kudos to Sean Taylor as well. He's overcome come some adversity, much of it self-inflicted, and is beginning to play to his monster potential. A lot of "experts" said that Taylor was the best player at any position in last year's draft; this could well turn out to be one of the rare instances where the experts turn out to be right.
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