Kenny Moore II is considered one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, but because Pro Bowl voting doesn’t specify defensive backs who specialize in nickel schemes and slot positions compared to outside cover guys, the Indianapolis Colts playmaker is frustrated by the lack of respect for such honors.
The fourth-year pro expressed his dissatisfaction about being snubbed for the Pro Bowl in a Wednesday appearance on “The Jim Rome Show.”
"I think the nickel position is a setback when voting for a corner," Moore said, "because when you're thinking about a corner, you're not thinking about a nickel."
Moore, 25, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week just two weeks ago after one of his best games in a road win at Las Vegas, which included a one-handed interception in the end zone for a touchback.
He tweeted a video of the theft in pushing his case for the Pro Bowl.
It’s the kind of special play the Colts have come to expect from the cornerback, who is solid in coverage but also an excellent blitzer. The Colts defense is built around three impact playmakers in defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, and Moore.
Buckner was also a Pro Bowl snub despite having better numbers than the three players chosen. Leonard made the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year after he was snubbed as a rookie, when he led the NFL in tackles.
Moore didn’t hesitate to share his reaction to being snubbed on Twitter.
When Colts safety George Odum vented about not being selected despite leading the NFL with 18 special-teams tackles, five more than the next player, Moore responded to his teammate, too.
Moore might not have enough of a reputation to garner Pro Bowl votes, but the Colts know how much he means to their seventh-ranked defense. His 62 tackles are five shy of a career-best for a season with two games remaining. His four interceptions are a season-best, and his 11 passes defended are tied for a season-high. He returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown in a road win at Detroit. He also has one sack and one forced fumble.
Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was asked Tuesday if the nickel cornerback position is undervalued around the league.
“Kenny does play outside too on base defense, but in reference to your question, I would say yeah. I would say that it is an undervalued position,” Eberflus said. “Not in our defense though, because we know that – and I think I’ve said this before – the WILL and the nickel are two hot spots for us and two guys that really have to be explosive playmakers. We have those here with the Colts, with Darius and Kenny.
“Kenny does a lot of different things. He matches coverages, he is between the hash and the numbers a lot in zone coverage and has to play those guys in man-to-man and make different calls. Then he pressures a lot. He does a lot of different things for us and does them very well. He’s an outstanding player. He has great energy and he brings a lot to the table for us. We certainly value Kenny very, very high.”
Eberflus was also asked how Moore would deal with the Pro Bowl snub.
“We’ve dealt with that before,” the coach said. “Again, we focus on – I’ll say what (head) coach (Frank Reich) said at the team meeting today, he was just saying we focus on team goals. Those are individual things and those will come.
“You can’t always determine what other people think about you. You just have to put your head down and work. That’s what Kenny does. Sometimes people have opinions of you one way or the other and that’s their opinion and they are entitled to it, and then you just have to keep working and keep producing in your job. That’s what Kenny does on a day-to-day basis.”