Rodgers or Romo? Revis or Harris? Gostkowski or Vinatieri? Greg Bedard and Peter King debate their 2014 All-Pro ballots and awards picks
|PETER KING||POS.||GREG BEDARD|
|Aaron Rodgers, GB||QB||Aaron Rodgers, GB
and Tony Romo, DAL
|DeMarco Murray, DAL||RB||DeMarco Murray, DAL|
|none||RB||Le’Veon Bell, PIT|
|Bruce Miller, SF||FB||none|
|Antonio Brown, PIT||WR||Antonio Brown, PIT|
|Dez Bryant, DAL||WR||Dez Bryant, DAL|
|Rob Gronkowski, NE||TE||Rob Gronkowski, NE|
|Andrew Whitworth, CIN||OT||Andrew Whitworth, CIN|
|Sebastian Vollmer, NE||OT||Jason Peters, PHI|
|Josh Sitton, GB||G||Josh Sitton, GB|
|Marshal Yanda, BAL||G||Marshal Yanda, BAL|
|Travis Frederick, DAL||C||Nick Mangold, NYJ|
|Adam Vinatieri, IND||K||Stephen Gostkowski, NE|
|Adam Jones, CIN||RET||Adam Jones, CIN|
Peter King: Let’s start with the skill positions. You chose two running backs (I picked one because that’s what you play with) but no fullback. I picked Bruce Miller. Tell me why you picked no fullback.
Greg Bedard: Not every team has a fullback and the teams that do have them don’t really use them a whole lot. I mean, John Kuhn, who won the AP vote, played 18.2 percent of the Packers’ snaps. That’s ridiculous. It’s not worthy of All-Pro status.
PK: Let’s talk about quarterback. Why did you tie Romo and Rodgers?
GB: It was difficult for me to separate the on-field performance. I know that Aaron Rodgers is a better player and I would take him over Tony Romo every single day. But if you look at their stats and accomplishments this year, they’re almost identical. In a lot of places Romo has an edge. I thought they were too close to call.
PK: I don’t think that it’s mandatory that you have to do a left and right tackle or a left and right guard, but I normally do it. I could have put Jason Peters there or Joe Thomas there. I chose Andrew Whitworth. I put Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. Why do you choose not to do positional integrity?
GB: I just think that the tackle position is one of those where the best players play on the left side, but they could easily play on the right side and be better players. I just decide to group them all in one bowl. As far as this year, there were so many good left tackle performances; it just didn’t call for a right tackle to be honored.
PK: I picked Travis Frederick at center. I think you could have picked four or five guys. I’m not convinced he had the best year at center, but I really wanted to get Dallas’ line represented here. I know that’s a little bit cheap, but I felt strongly that their line was the huge, huge difference in what happened to this team on offense this year.
GB: Whether it’s Nick Mangold or Frederick or Maurkice Pouncey… there were a lot of good centers this year. I thought Mangold got back to how he normally plays and let up a lot less pressure than Frederick. It’s tough to honor someone on a team like the Jets…
PK: I don’t think so. I think that’s good. It’s not his fault that the team stinks. He’s a great player.
PK: Let’s finish up on offense with the kicker. I like Vinatieri. You like Gostkowski. I really feel strongly this year about recognizing Vinatieri. He’s obviously not an all-around place kicker anymore, but at age 42 he missed one field goal all year. I think what he did at age 42 is remarkable.
GB: You’re certainly right about that, but I’m going to disagree with you on this one. You have to look at all-around kicking. Would I want Gostkowski out there winning the Super Bowl for me? I’m not sure about that. At least I know this guy kicked outside all season and kicked off (Vinatieri doesn’t).
|PETER KING||POS.||GREG BEDARD|
|J.J. Watt, HOU||DE||J.J. Watt, HOU|
|Cameron Wake, MIA||DE||Cameron Wake, MIA|
|Ndamukong Suh, DET||DT||Ndamukong Suh, DET|
|Sen’Derrick Marks, JAC||DT||Sheldon Richardson, NYJ|
|Justin Houston, KC||OLB||Justin Houston, KC|
|Ryan Kerrigan, WAS||OLB||Von Miller, DEN|
|Luke Kuechly, CAR||ILB||Luke Kuechly, CAR|
|Jamie Collins, NE||ILB||Dont'a Hightower, NE|
|Richard Sherman, SEA||CB||Richard Sherman, SEA|
|Chris Harris Jr., DEN||CB||Darrelle Revis, NE|
|Glover Quin, DET||S||Earl Thomas, SEA|
|Antoine Bethea, SF||S||Eric Weddle, SD|
|Johnny Hekker, STL||P||Sam Koch, BAL|
PK: The defensive end and outside linebacker positions can go a lot of different directions because of the styles teams play. There’s no question that you have to pick J.J. Watt. We both picked Wake too. He never takes a play off and seems to make something happen on every play.
GB: And he has a tendency to come up with big plays when his team needs it.
PK: Defensive tackle isn’t easy either. Every week, there had to be three highlights of Sen’Derrick Marks that your eyes were drawn to. He just makes so many plays. I think he had a huge impact on a bad team.
GB: I’ve watched Sheldon Richardson up close a lot and I think that he made life incredibly difficult for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Any time a guy can do that, he earns points in my book. There are a lot of good guys at this position now.
PK: We have different New England Patriots at linebacker. I have Collins. You have Hightower. I’m just so impressed with the versatility of Collins. His sideline-to-sideline speed and ability to drop is so good. He’s a great example of what the modern linebacker is today.
GB: He’s a little bit more versatile than Dont'a Hightower. If this were an award for the past 12 games, I would give it to Jamie Collins. But he was a hot mess the first four games of the season. To me, Hightower has been consistent all season and I don’t know where they would be without him.
PK: At cornerback, I have Chris Harris, Jr. over Darrelle Revis—but that’s a 2 and 2A situation as far as I’m concerned. You think Revis was clearly better than Harris?
GB: I do, even though I love Harris, for a couple of different reasons. The biggest being that Darrelle Revis has totally changed the defensive equation in New England. The trickle down effect of him has made this defense better. I don’t know that Harris is even the best corner on his team, Aqib Talib is pretty good. Plus, I used the performances of Revis and Harris against San Diego’s Keenan Allen as the tiebreaker. Revis erased him in a big game.
PK: We differ at safety. I was shocked this year at how good Antoine Bethea was. I think he got a real spark from Vic Fangio in San Francisco. I think that Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo were fantastic this year in Detroit. I wanted to recognize these guys. I totally understand the Earl Thomas sentiment. Earl Thomas deserves to be an All-Pro, I just think that these guys deserve it a little bit more.
GB: I would quibble a lot with Glover Quin, because I don't think he’s that good. Earl Thomas should be here. He’s the entire key to that defense. I think that San Diego’s defense would have been borderline terrible without Eric Weddle. He’s awesome.
|PETER KING||AWARD||GREG BEDARD|
Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
and J.J. Watt, DE, HOU
|MVP||J.J. Watt, DE, HOU|
|Bruce Arians, ARI||Coach of the Year||Bruce Arians, ARI|
|Rod Marinelli, Def. Coordinator, DAL||Ast. Coach of the Year||Rod Marinelli, Def. Coordinator, DAL|
|Antonio Brown, WR, PIT||Off. Player of the Year||Antonio Brown, WR, PIT|
|J.J. Watt, DE, HOU||Def. Player of the Year||J.J. Watt, DE, HOU|
|Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG||Off. Rookie of the Year||Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG|
|Khalil Mack, OLB, OAK||Def. Rookie of the Year||Aaron Donald, DT, STL|
|Chris Harris Jr., CB, DEN||Comeback Player of the Year||Rolando McClain, ILB, DAL|
GB: The biggest reason I chose J.J. Watt is because none of the quarterbacks really separated themselves. Given the rule changes with downfield contact, you could make the argument that these quarterbacks underachieved.
PK: Most people will say that they’re not going to vote for someone who didn’t make the playoffs. You shouldn’t have a rule like that. I broke the mold this year. J.J. Watt was just so good that he had to be recognized.
GB: It should come down to who the best football player is. There is no question in my mind that J.J. Watt is the best football player on the planet this season. To me, that’s worthy of being MVP.
PK: Why do we both have this love affair with Rod Marinelli?
GB: Because we both know, and probably both wrote, that the Cowboys defense looked like it could be one of the worst in the history of the NFL. It was far from that. It wasn’t the greatest unit—but it was pretty good. It thought Rod Marinelli made such a difference.
PK: Rod Marinelli made chicken salad out of average guys. It’s not all him. It’s gotta be inside the players too. But I just have so much admiration for what he did with players who we thought, and rightfully so, were going to comprise a horrible unit.
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