2014 Pro Bowl snubs: Nick Foles, Knowshon Moreno among those shut out
The 2014 Pro Bowl rosters were released Friday night, less than 48 hours before a critical Week 17 begins. You can check out the players who named to the league's annual all-star game here.
But, as is always the case, some deserving players were left off the initial list of honorees. Here's a look at a few of the more glaring snubs:
• Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: A few quarterbacks might feel slighted right now, including Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. But in Foles is a player that some are starting to push for league MVP, thanks to his work in guiding the Eagles to the edge of a playoff spot. Heck, 25 touchdown passes to two interceptions sorta speaks for itself. Likely holding him back, though: He has started just nine games.
• Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: Jeffery's teammate, Brandon Marshall, earned a nod -- so Jeffery might have fallen victim to being second in the Windy City pecking order. But Jeffery had a case for his own spot, possibly over Marshall, who has more catches (94 to 86) and touchdowns (11 to seven) than Jeffery but less yards (1,221 to Jeffery's 1,341).
• Lavonte David, OLB, Buccaneers: This is arguably the biggest snub of all. David is Pro Football Focus' second-ranked outside linebacker, behind only Von Miller, who was suspended for Weeks 1 through 6 and now is out for the year with an injury. David had a stellar rookie season in 2012; he's been an outright star in 2013, possibly lost in the shuffle on a poor team.
• Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: Green Bay's Eddie Lacy also has a beef -- he's considered the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year but was shut out of the Pro Bowl roster. Moreno's only 11th in the league in yards rushing (1,015), but he also has 55 catches and 12 combined touchdowns. Even after Denver drafted Montee Ball, Moreno has been the guy adding balance to a loaded offensive attack.
• Larry Warford, G, Lions/Josh Sitton, G, Packers: These two are a pair of NFC North interior linemen who have played well enough to earn the trip to Hawaii. Same goes for Philadelphia's Evan Mathis, the anchor of a line that's paved the way for LeSean McCoy and company. Sitton and Warford have allowed a combined one sack this season (it belongs to Sitton). In fact, Warford might be in the Offensive Rookie of the Year mix if he was not at such an underappreciated position.
• Muhammed Wilkerson, DE, Jets: Either Wilkerson or rookie DT Sheldon Richardson could have made the roster and no one would have batted an eyelash. Wilkerson, in just his third pro season, has broken through as a dominant defensive lineman -- he has 10.5 sacks to lead the Jets and also added an interception for good measure.
• Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans: If Casey keeps playing like he has this season, plenty of Pro Bowl selections will be coming in his future. Still, he probably should have been invited with this first slew of guys, on the strength of 10.5 sacks and some ferocious play inside for Tennessee.
• T.J. Ward, S, Browns: Ward said this week that he thought he had a Pro Bowl-worthy season, and it's hard to argue with him. Certainly, if you stack his numbers and impact up against Troy Polamalu or even Kam Chancellor, both of whom made it at Ward's strong safety spot, there is enough there to justify the Browns' DB heading to Hawaii.
• Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB: A sensational season for the first-year Bronco goes unrewarded. Rodgers-Cromartie has played in 2013 like the player he looked to be after breaking into the league with Arizona, and the player Denver hoped he could be again when they signed him this past offseason.
• Cordarrelle Patterson, PR, Vikings: The NFL's move to ban kickoffs from this year's Pro Bowl really hurt Patterson's chances (as well as those of Chicago's Devin Hester). Patterson led the league in kick-return yards, but he did not return punts nor did he make enough of an impact elsewhere to justify a nod.• Jeremy Lane, ST, Seahawks: No way anyone can argue the inclusion of Arizona's Justin Bethel as a special teamer. New England's Matthew Slater, on the other hand ... Lane had a better season, serving as a menace from the gunner spot.