When the dust settled, and the Pro Bowl lineup was set, only one Denver Bronco stood amongst the elected: wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.
Broncos fans around the world threw up their arms in disgust at the omission of All-World, future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey.
That was a magnificent game, no doubt. But does anyone remember Week 10 in Denver?
Dwayne Bowe: 13 catches, 186 yards and two touchdowns. Arguably his best outing of the season, alongside a 13 catch, 170 yard and three touchdown game against Seattle. He did that here in Champ's backyard.
If you look at Champ's season, it was one of his most up and down campaigns of his career, with his best ball being played after contract extension talks broke off in early October. I offer the opinion that he was not snubbed, but appropriately placed in the Pro Bowl pecking order as he did not turn on his best efforts until the last six games. I offer further that he turned it on as an audition for his next team, not his current one.
For the year, Champ Bailey has 45 total tackles (41 solo), one sack, two interceptions (zero return yards) and 13 passes defensed. A good season, but not shimmering by any stretch. The last time his numbers were this low was 2008, when he missed seven games.
I understand that teams threw at the wounded Andre Goodman and rookies Perrish Cox and Syd'Quan Thompson at a greater rate. Champ was shied from, as he always is, but he did not make the plays when needed. He was not aggressive in assisting the struggling Broncos defense against the perimeter running attack. In the past, he would fly through blockers and make a stick. This season, all too often, saw him engaging the blockers instead of dashing past them.
I understand further that e-v-e-r-y stat line is superior to that of New York Jets cornerback (and Pro Bowl starter) Darrelle Revis. His numbers are also vastly superior to Oakland Raiders cornerback (and Pro Bowl starter) Nnamdi Asomugha. Both are there by "rep" alone, and that is probably what has most Orange/Blue folk peeved.
I know the cries this will get, but this was a man playing hard the last few games, but only hard enough to look good in coverage. Flash his skill set there, and do nothing to injure himself by helping out on the run or laying out for one. Nothing that could derail his opportunities heading into free agency.
I am not saying that he dogged it. He does not have it in him to, but he has it in him to protect his career and championship aspirations, as any good athlete does.
Look, his skill set alone is of the ilk to get him to Honolulu almost any given year he plays over 75 percent of the season. This year his alternate slot for the Pro Bowl was what his play earned.
This was no "snub" by my measure. Bailey's slot was earned.
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