SNIDER: Pro Bowl voting may shut out Redskins
In a stinker of a season, the Redskins may get skunked come Pro Bowl voting. And really, there’s not much to debate.
Punter Tress Way should earn a spot. That’s it. That’s the list. Otherwise, the Redskins are playing for reserve status.
Way averages 49.9 yards overall with a 44.4-yard net, both numbers NFL bests. He was named NFC Special Teams Players of the Week after averaging 58 yards with a 47-yard net plus a league-high 79-yarder against Carolina on Sunday.
Where would the Redskins be without Way flipping the field or at least making opponents earn points on long drives? Surely, Way is the team’s best punter since Matt Turk in the late 1990s. But, 3-9 teams won’t get much love during voting through Dec. 17 and punters are an afterthought.
Seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams sat out the season while two-timer Ryan Kerrigan was rather ordinary with just 22 tackles and 4½ sacks before suffering a concussion against Detroit on Nov. 24. Pro Bowl voting often lends to past performance and the team’s two regulars were scratched from consideration.
Meanwhile, reserve status should go to safety Landon Collins, cornerback Quinton Dunbar and defensive end Matt Ioannidis.
Collins has been the defense’s core with 101 tackles, second only to Arizona’s Budda Baker’s 110 among secondary players. But, Carolina’s Eric Reid with 96 tackles will carry the vote. Collins deserves the nod over Baker for reserve. Indeed, Collins has proven a solid free agent signing for Washington.
Dunbar has played smartly this season opposite a dismal effort by Josh Norman. Dunbar’s four interceptions is tied atop NFC leaders. But again, reputations count and few outside Washington know much about the Redskins secondary. Dunbar’s six combined yards on returns didn’t make many highlights shows.
Ioannidis has already matched last season’s 7½ sacks with four games remaining as the least-heralded player on the line. While first-rounders Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen have been steady, Ioannidis is the one making plays.
Offensively? Have you seen this offense? Receiver Terry McLaurin has a better chance for Rookie of the Year than the Pro Bowl with 42 catches and five touchdowns. Even his numbers are slightly down after catching 16 passes in the first three games to draw opponents’ attention. Guard Brandon Scherff shouldn’t see his second Pro Bowl. Indeed, it might have been the fifth-year starter’s worst season thanks to penalties.
Maybe there will be a couple burgundy helmets come the Pro Bowl. But, the over/under is two and the over takes some optimism.
Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks.