Pro Bowl Selection Dubious for Buffalo Bills' Aaron Schobel

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2008

Overrated and overpaid Buffalo Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel is going to his second straight Pro Bowl for unknown reasons.

After his career-best 14-sack performance in 2006, it was justifiable for Buffalo Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel to make his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Although a few of Schobel's sacks were rather meaningless and he was somewhat of a liability against the run, the Pro Bowl is a stat-based game, so it made sense for him to make the cut for Hawaii.

This year, though, it doesn't. Originally, the 30-year-old Schobel—who's second on Buffalo's all-time sack list behind the legendary Bruce Smith—wasn't chosen to represent the Bills in Honolulu. However, after the Miami Dolphins' Jason Taylor pulled out of the game Thursday because of an injury, Schobel was called on to join the AFC squad for the meaningless contest on Feb. 10.

Honestly, Schobel's selection this year -- even as a late alternate -- is questionable at best. After all, the seven-year veteran didn't exactly have a banner campaign. In fact, he was consistently a nonentity on one of the NFL's worst-ranked defenses. While Schobel was once again subpar versus the run, he didn't mimic his '06 season and make up for it by regularly rushing the opposing quarterback and racking up sacks and game-changing plays.

Instead, the TCU alumnus amassed only 6.5 sacks on a 'D' that finished with the fourth fewest in the league. The main duty of an end in a 4-3 scheme is to effectively rush the QB, and Schobel -- phased out regularly by opposing offensive linemen -- clearly didn't do his job in '07.

As for Schobel's weak play against the run, Pittsburgh Steelers back Willie Parker summed it up best after a 26-3 drubbing of the feckless Bills in Week 2.

"Their defensive ends pass rush 100 percent all the time, so I knew it was going to leave a hole in the gap [to the outside], and that's where I ran," said Parker, who dashed straight at Buffalo's ends on Sept. 16 to the tune of 126 yards.

While Parker basically called out all of the Bills' defensive ends, Schobel -- the leader of the group and the team's most expensive player (seven years, $50 million) -- really took the brunt of it.

What happened in 2007 is now in the past for the Bills, though, and if their defense is going to climb out of the basement in all key categories next season, it'll need to find an end or tackle who's good enough to make Schobel a complement, not the go-to rusher. Clearly, Schobel isn't someone who dominates games, betters his linemates or stops the run.

Just don't tell that to those who selected him to participate in the NFL's sham of an all-star game.

*E-mail: cbyrne@realfootball365.com.


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