Six players represented the Cleveland Browns in the Pro Bowl, something that we haven't been able to say since the Bill Belichick era. Six players may seem modest in comparison to the eleven or so that the Dallas Cowboys sent, but we know that it signifies a turning point for this franchise. Next season, perhaps we'll have something to look forward to when the AFC defense steps onto the field. Right not our best shots at getting people to Honolulu from the defensive side of the ball are Kamerion Wimbley (for his sacks) and Sean Jones (because Dr. Z has a man crush on him).Now then, how did our players fare in the Pro Bowl? I'll rate each player's performance from best to worst...
- Joe Thomas: The best of the bunch; the cream of the crop. Thomas definitely shined as one of the four rookies in the NFL to be named to the Pro Bowl during the 2007-2008 campaign. After starting the game at right tackle for the first half, Thomas moved to left tackle during the third quarter. I don't mind that he celebrated with T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone after a touchdown too. However, if it had been Hines Ward, I would've ordered him to turn a cold shoulder -- Pro Bowl or not.
- Ryan Pontbriand: After snapping the ball to perfection as always, Pontbriand tackled Devin Hester once during a kick return. For the record, he had four tackles during the regular season. Who says this man can't do double duties?
- Joshua Cribbs: You could just tell that Cribbs was possessed to return kicks hard. Unfortunately, when you have starting wide receivers and other people not accustomed to hammering the defenders coming up, Cribbs' pounding style doesn't fare too well. I wish that Norv Turner would've found a way to get a trick play in for Cribbs. Where was the creativity? At least the NFC had a nifty kick return pass.
- Braylon Edwards: Things started out with a bang as Edwards caught a 31-yard pass from Peyton Manning on the first series to set up the AFC's opening touchdown. However, he was too quiet after that. He dropped a screen pass, had one catch in the second half, and failed to get a hand on a deep ball from Anderson late.
- Kellen Winslow: One catch for eleven yards. Winslow was the target several times from several quarterbacks, but for some reason every time the ball came his way it was poorly thrown. It wasn't really Winslow's fault, so he all but gets a mulligan.
- Derek Anderson: It was ugly. How in the world do you only complete 38.5% of your passes in a Pro Bowl game? And, for a guy who never got sacked during the regular season, how does he get taken down twice in one half when it's illegal to bring a blitz? This is an odd trend for Anderson to struggle when games don't really mean anything. Although he was fighting for a starting job in the preseason, the game didn't "count". In the first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Anderson only completed 43% of his passes. He also failed to throw a touchdown in the entire preseason. I think the AFC lost the game because Anderson didn't move the ball in the second half -- three measly points is pretty bad for that type of game.