Packers' Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Josh Sitton earn Pro Bowl nods


Aaron Rodgers, QB, fifth Pro Bowl selection: Although his stats aren’t otherworldly like they were during his NFL MVP seasons of 2011 and 2014, his numbers (3,379 yards, 29 touchdown passes, six interceptions, 95.2 passer rating) and reputation were enough to merit Pro Bowl recognition. Losing wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who went to his first Pro Bowl last year, to a preseason knee injury has certainly hurt Rodgers’ production, but his stats are still enough to make other quarterbacks envious of his “off” year. The only Packers quarterback to be selected to more Pro Bowls is Brett Favre (nine).

Clay Matthews, LB, sixth Pro Bowl selection: His 5.5 sacks are tied for 42nd most in the NFL this season and are second most on the team, behind Julius Peppers (9.5). Such is the statistical price Matthews is paying for taking one for the team and spending the bulk of his snaps at the less-glamorous inside linebacker spot, where he moved midway through last season. In addition to his 5.5 sacks, Matthews enters Sunday’s game at Arizona with 63 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. This marks his first selection as an inside linebacker.

Josh Sitton, G, third Pro Bowl selection: There may be no finer guard in all of football than Sitton, who has played at a Pro Bowl level for years but is now getting the consistent recognition from his peers that he’d lacked earlier in his career. But he’s not a guy who’s suddenly making it on his reputation, either. Last season, Sitton did not allow a sack and gave up 10 combined quarterback hits/hurries, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system; this year, although his sacks allowed ballooned (three), he has been charged with just eight total QB hits/hurries.


Mike Daniels, DE: The poster child for the Packers’ draft-and-develop team-building philosophy, Daniels’ yearly jumps earned him a lucrative contract extension (four years, $41 million) but not the first Pro Bowl selection he sought. Daniels leads the Packers' defensive linemen in tackles (60) and sacks (four) and has grown into the unit’s emotional leader in his fourth season. Daniels is an alternate, although he is not a first alternate.

Julius Peppers, OLB: Much like Charles Woodson, whom some saw as washed up when the Packers signed him as a free agent in 2006, Peppers has been a hit in the locker room and on the field since his surprising signing with Green Bay in March 2014. He has been extremely durable -- he hasn’t missed a game during his Packers tenure, and missed his first in-season practice earlier this month when coach Mike McCarthy forced him to take a day off -- and his 9.5 sacks are tied for 10th in the NFL. With the coaches monitoring his snaps, Peppers has been productive and efficient at age 35. Like Daniels, he is an alternate, although he is not a first alternate.

T.J. Lang, G: Although Lang lacks the reputation of his best friend and fellow guard Josh Sitton, his play has been on the same level as the three-time Pro Bowl pick. Pro Football Focus has charged Lang with one sack and 13 QB hits/hurries this season, and he actually has a higher run-blocking grade than Sitton. Lang is also an alternate, although he is not a first alternate.

Sam Shields, CB: After being added to the Pro Bowl roster last year after the Packers’ NFC Championship Game loss to Seattle, Shields arguably had a better season this year before a concussion against Dallas on Dec. 13 knocked him out of that game and caused him to miss last Sunday’s game at Oakland. The Packers have increasingly used him to match up with opponents’ top receiving threats, but his low interception total (three) probably hurt his chances. Shields is an alternate, although he is not a first alternate.