There were 86 players originally selected to play in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii this Sunday. Due to injuries and players whose teams are participating in the Super Bowl being otherwise occupied, there have been 31 replacements named. If you go by the Pro Bowl selection process, they have identified 117 players who are among the best in the game.
Of those 117 players only one, tackle Trent Williams, plays for the Redskins. He was one of the original 86 players who was selected to play in the game but some nagging injuries forced him to withdraw. None of the 31 replacements came from the 9-7 Redskins, the champions of the NFC East.
Two Redskins, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and tight end Jordan Reed, were named as alternates. And although three linebackers and one tight end are participating in the Super Bowl and another tight end and another linebacker, Rob Gronkowski and Jamie Collins of the Patriots, withdrew due to injuries, their phones did not ring with congratulations and instructions on how to pick up their tickets to Honolulu.
The tight end spots went to Delanie Walker of the Titans and Gary Barnidge of the Browns. They had fine seasons with both going over 1,000 yards receiving, a mark that Reed, with 952, fell just short of. Reed had more receptions than Barnidge and more touchdowns than both of them.
The replacement linebackers were Anthony Barr of the Vikings, Lavonte David of the Bucs, the Ravens’ Elvis Dumervil and Green Bay’s Julius Peppers. You can certainly question Dumervil (6 sacks) and Barr (3.5 sacks) going over Kerrigan (8.5 sacks). David posted only three sacks but he did pick off three passes and force two fumbles.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was not even named an alternate. Cam Newton is headed to the Super Bowl and Tom Brady decided to take the week off after getting physically pounded by the Broncos. They were replaced by Jameis Winston of the Bucs and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings. Cousins threw for more yards and more touchdowns than either of them and had a passer rating of 101.6 (5th in NFL) compared to Bridgewater’s 88.7 (22nd) and an 84.2 for Winston (28th).
I would recommend that Redskins fans not let these “snubs” ruin their days. The Pro Bowl selection system, which is based on votes of fans, players, and coaches, is highly flawed, just like the selection processes for the all-star games in other sports. It usually takes a year or two for the reputations of breakout players like Reed and Cousins to get recognized by the Pro Bowl voters. If they keep playing at a high level they should get recognition sooner or later.