NFL Pro Bowl 2012: 5 New Orleans Saints Who Got Snubbed
The 2011 Pro Bowl rosters were just announced, and, as always, the voters missed a couple of keys players.
However, there are great players that got snubbed. The Saints have five guys who have played with the best in their position all year, but did not get voted in because they do not play in a market like New York or San Francisco.
New Orleans is one of the smallest cities with a professional football team, and come time for Pro Bowl voting, it shows. Some guys are voted in each year purely for their previous reputations instead of because of their 2011 performance.
The Saints did get recognized by having four guys voted into the Pro Bowl, but they should have had nine. Let's take a look at five guys who should have been voted into the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl.
Strong Safety Roman Harper
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I am quite speechless to be honest.
How on earth did Roman Harper not earn a Pro Bowl berth in 2011?
In 2011, Harper has racked up 92 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 7.5 sacks. That is the most sacks by a defensive back in a long, long time. He could have the most sacks by a defensive back in NFL history by the end of the 2011 season.
This guy has done nothing but make plays for the New Orleans Saints in 2011.
Instead, Adrian Wilson made the Pro Bowl. Harper has outperformed Wilson in every statistical category. The fact that Harper is not being awarded a Pro Bowl berth in 2011 should be an embarrassment to the NFL.
This is one of the best strong safeties in all of the NFL, and he has played better in 2011 than ever before.
Harper should be in Hawaii in 2011, and it is absolutely astounding that he is not.
Free Safety Malcolm Jenkins
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Malcolm Jenkins has been amazing for the New Orleans Saints this year.
He has played all over the field and disrupted pass after pass on defense. The fact that this young playmaker is not in the Pro Bowl is disheartening.
Jenkins' goal in 2011 was obviously to become one of the best safeties in the game of football. I believe that he has become just that. Jenkins has the ability to play sideline to sideline and make big hit after big hit over the middle.
There have been numerous times in 2011 that Jenkins has hit a receiver and forced the ball loose to create an incompletion. Jenkins is also one of the best safeties in run support.
Jenkins is fifth in the NFC among all free safeties in tackles. Out of those top five free safeties, he is one of three to force a sack and the only free safety of the bunch with a defensive touchdown in 2011.
Jenkins is also second in the NFC with nine pass breakups. If there was a stat for big hits, then I am sure Jenkins would be in the top part of the league in that category as well.
Jenkins has had a fantastic 2011 season, and it is amazing that the fans, players and coaches have snubbed him of the right to be honored with a Pro Bowl.
Cornerback Jabari Greer
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Jabari Greer has probably been the most underrated corner in the NFL since he joined the New Orleans Saints.
Greer has yet to earn a Pro Bowl berth, but that is not because of his play. Greer has been the most consistent corner the Saints have had in years and the best cornerback in his division since he joined the NFC South in 2009.
Greer is eighth of all NFC corners in tackles and sixth in pass breakups. However, the opportunities that Greer gets is far less than the amount of other corners in the NFC.
Many teams focus on staying away from Greer and try to hit the other side of the field instead. Nonetheless, Greer is still putting up great numbers.
He has consistently shut down great wide receivers throughout the 2011 season. Greer has gone against the likes of Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Roddy White, Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson in 2011.
The only players that were able to get over 100 yards against Greer was Andre Johnson and White. Greer covered White twice this season, and held him to 67 yards in their first matchup, but White was able to accumulate 127 yards on 11 catches in their recent meeting on "Monday Night Football."
Greer and the Saints secondary is constantly being attacked since most teams are playing from behind, and the fact that Greer is able to do so well against elite receivers week in and week out is a testament to just how good he is.
It is a shame that he will not be honored with a Pro Bowl berth in 2011.
Center Brian De La Puente
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Brian De La Puente has played amazing football in 2011.
This is a guy who was not on the Saints roster until the lockout ended and training camp started. He came in as the third-string center behind the newly signed Olin Kreutz and second-year players Matt Tennant.
However, De La Puente filled in for an injured Kreutz early in the season and played so well that he forced the perennial Pro Bowler into retirement. De La Puente has earned a Pro Bowl himself.
This player has blocked tremendously for Drew Brees and the Saints running game all year. He has anchored a Saints offensive line that has allowed the second least sacks in the NFL and the least amount of hits on the quarterback. De La Puente and the Saints also have the league's ninth best rushing attack.
There is not a center in the NFC that deserves a Pro Bowl more than this player, and it is astounding that the coaches, players and fans cannot see what a great job he has done in 2011.
Punter/Kickoff Specialist Thomas Morstead
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Thomas Morstead has proven in 2011 that he is the best kickoff specialist and punter in the NFL.
Morstead does not get many chances to punt the ball, but when he does, he is absolutely brilliant. Morstead is able to pin teams deep over and over again, constantly giving the New Orleans Saints a field position advantage.
Morstead has punted the ball only 45 times in 2011, and has the second best net yard average in the NFL. He is currently averaging 43.1 net yards per punt, .4 behind the first place Andy Lee. Lee has had 28 more opportunities to punt the ball than Morstead, but lacks in other categories when compared to Morstead.
Morstead has had seven punts go out of bounds, compared to Lee's zero. He also has had better hang time than Lee, as Morstead has had 10 punts that were fair caught, compared to Lee's 17.
Both punters have been comparable when discussing balls placed inside the 20-yard line, and they are similar in other categories.
However, Morstead has been the best kickoff man in all of football in 2011. He has broken the NFL record for touchbacks, and continues to escalate that amount every game.
Many will credit the rule change to Morstead's success, but 62 touchbacks is ridiculous. That is 11 more touchbacks than the second place player. If it was just the rule change that led to Morstead's success, then many other kickers would be close to him in that number.
The NFL should be ashamed to not have a player like Morstead in the 2011 Pro Bowl.