There may be holes in Pro Football Focus’ AFC Pro Bowl Team. But I bet they do a better job than fans in voting which counts one-third toward the formulation of the actual team, and tends to be a popularity contest.
Here’s how the AFC South shows up on PFF’s team with excerpts from Neil Hornsby’s piece.
Offensive tackle: Houston’s Eric Winston is a starter, Jacksonville’s Eugene Monroe is a backup. Tennessee’s David Stewart just missed.
“Winston is a much more balanced player and a key part of the best overall line around – the Texans. Finally Monroe, who, for some time flirted, with the title of “bust”, became a model of consistency and gave Blaine Gabbert one less excuse for his awful performances.”
Center: Houston’s Chris Myers is the starter.
“The only question was, after a less than stellar start and a couple of weeks out injured, could (the Jets’ Nick) Mangold catch up to the Texans’ prolific start. Myers took up the gauntlet and answered emphatically that this was no victory by default. My view is he’d have won anyway and given how much we think of Mangold that’s high praise.”
Tight end: Houston’s Owen Daniels just missed.
Quarterback:Houston’s Matt Schaub just missed.
Running back:Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew is the starter and Houston’s Arian Foster is one of the backups.
“Jones-Drew and Foster were both locks after excellent all-round years. It’s particularly nice that both of these guys stand up in pass protection too.”
Defensive end: Houston’s J.J. Watt just missed.
Outside linebacker: Jacksonville’s Daryl Smith is a backup.
“Daryl Smith will never, ever make the ‘other’ Pro Bowl squad because he doesn’t create stats. It’s their loss because he’s a guy that does it all well; run, pass rush and coverage – the consummate linebacker.”
Inside linebacker:Houston’s Brian Cushing is a backup.
“What goes around comes around I guess, which is a tenuous segue into the defensive rookie of the year in 2009, who tanked in 2010 and has come back better than ever this year. Like Johnson, Cushing excels in all parts of the game including coverage and pass rushing.”
Cornerback: Houston’s Johnathan Joseph is a starter and Tennessee’ Cortland Finnegan is a backup.
“Has any single player had a more marked effect on a defense than Joseph? A secondary which was a laughing stock is now dangerous and much of that is down to him. What’s remarkable about Finnegan this year is that he’s taken slot duty in the Titans’ nickel? Normally that’s a recipe for completions and yardage and about as tricky a thing to do as there is. He’s been great from the get go, bringing the heat in run defense, as well as his coverage, and has also cut out all the stupidity. Maybe Richard Seymour could get some pointers.”