Good to see a good team rewarded with six Pro Bowl spots, including three starters: QB Tom Brady, NT Vince Wilfork and LG Logan Mankins. LB Jerod Mayo, CB Devin McCourty and S Brandon Meriweather made it as reserves.
Thought this might be one of those surprise teams that doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves. But it did, for the most part.
I think the Patriots really benefited (some more than others) from having a lot of recent high-profile, national games on television. They’ve had nine of them, including five of their past seven games.
A few thoughts on the selections:
- QB Tom Brady (starter): Uh, yeah. The guy is only the league’s MVP.
- NT Vince Wilfork (starter): This one could have went either way but it was the right call. Kyle Williams (Bills), Antonio Garay (Chargers) and Sione Pouha (Jets) were among those in the conversation besides Haloti Ngata and Richard Seymour, who were voted in. Profootballfocus.com, which grades every play, has Wilfork as the 23rd-ranked interior lineman. But Wilfork’s value goes far beyond what you see on film. When you consider all the injuries that have happened around him, he’s performed at a very high level. And he’s at his best in the biggest games.
- LG Logan Mankins (starter): Definitely a Pro Bowl player, but off of eight games? That just shows you the amount of respect he has around the league. And it’s well deserved. I’ve gained a new appreciation watching Mankins play each week. He’s terrific. Not flashy, but remarkably consistent and strong.
- LB Jerod Mayo (reserve): This is similar to Wilfork. While Mayo leads the league in tackles, he’s not especially flashy so there was a concern that he would get overlooked. Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior (Steelers), Bart Scott (Jets) and Karlos Dansby (Dolphins) have all been very productive.
- CB: Devin McCourty: Hard to imagine where the Patriots would be without him, so this is warranted. Champ Bailey (Broncos) probably has a huge beef here and likely lost out because the Broncos stink and are never on television. All six of McCourty’s six interceptions came on large stages vs. Chargers, Vikings, Colts, Lions and Jets. I know a lot of NY media members thought Antonio Cromartie should have made it. Sean Smith (Dolphins) and Brandon Flowers (Chiefs) have beefs.
- S Brandon Meriweather (reserve): OK, we’ve got no clue on this one so we’re open to suggestions for how this happened. Haven’t talked to one personnel person with something good to say about him and his own teammates know he’s been a liability out there at time. Meriweather has also been benched. His talent has never been questioned, but he can lack focus and good study habits. His spot should have gone to Eric Weddle of the Chargers or Michael Huff of the Raiders.
Patriots that deserve consideration for injury spots: WR Deion Branch, RB Danny Woodhead (if there was an all-around position), C Dan Koppen (who after a poor start has been impressive the past two months), TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Mike Wright (if he didn’t get hurt).