When the 2013 NFC Pro Bowl roster was announced Wednesday, the list was short two very worthy Atlanta Falcons. Even though they both had the numbers and resumes for inclusion, wide receiver Roddy White and free safety Thomas DeCoud were snubbed.
Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones and Victor Cruz were the four wide receivers selected to the Pro Bowl team, and no one will argue the merits of Johnson and Marshall.
But how on earth was Cruz picked before White?
White has five more receptions than Cruz, which doesn’t sound like a lot. But when it comes to important catches, White’s terrifically more valuable. White has moved the chains 71 times this season and only trails Johnson and Marshall in first-down receptions. Cruz has 50 first downs.
It’s true that Cruz has two more touchdowns than White, but aren’t those 21 extra first downs worth more than the two scores?
White also has 269 more receiving yards than Cruz, making this snubbing even worse. It seems that either the voters felt having two Atlanta receivers on the team would be a bad idea or they quite possibly could have been factoring in Cruz’s 2011 season.
There are no other real reasons why Cruz should have gotten this honor before White.
DeCoud has played safety with the best of the best in 2012, but he was not listed Wednesday. Instead, San Francisco 49ers safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner were selected, as was Earl Thomas from the Seattle Seahawks.
At last check, only four defensive players in the NFC had more interceptions—and this lists all defensive players, not just the safeties—than DeCoud, and none of them were named Goldson, Thomas or Whitner.
DeCoud has picked off six passes this year and has looked completely fluid in Mike Nolan’s new defense. His job is to get the defense set and find ways to confuse the opposing quarterback. He’s done a fantastic job at that.
It’s possible the selection team put more weight on tackles than interceptions. DeCoud has 70 on the season, and Whitner has 77. But Goldson has 67, and Thomas 63.
Maybe DeCoud was dinged for his 18 missed tackles, the third most by a safety in the NFL. But Thomas also has missed 18 tackles.
DeCoud has been one of the most disruptive forces at safety in the NFL. For him not to be on the Pro Bowl list is a crying shame.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.