The NFL will be announcing the Pro Bowl rosters at 7:00 PM EST on NFL Network. With a blizzard warning in effect for Northeast Ohio, worrying about which members of the Cleveland Browns might make the Pro Bowl will surely be a pressing matter, eh?
I think there is some more passion from Browns fans about the impending announcement, though, because we want kicker Phil Dawson to finally get named to the Pro Bowl. Over the past six years, the AFC has been represented by the likes of Nate Kaeding, Stephen Gostkowski, Billy Cundiff, Rob Birnoas, and Sebastian Janikowski. Of that group, the only one having a potentially threatening season to Dawson is Janikowski. He has missed three field goals, but each of those attempts have come on long-distance tries, including one that attempted to set a new NFL record.
Dawson ranks 4th in the AFC in field goals made with 28, including 6-of-6 from beyond 50 yards. He is first in the AFC in accuracy at 96.6%, with his only miss coming on a kick that was blocked. In my view, there are three contenders for kicker in the AFC:
- Phil Dawson (CLE): 28-of-29 FGs, 6-of-6 from 50+
- Justin Tucker (BAL): 29-of-31 FGs, 4-of-4 from 50+
- Sebastian Janikowski (OAK): 31-of-34 FGs, 6-of-9 from 50+
I am a little fearful that Tucker will get the nod. While he is having a great rookie season, I think it would be a slap in the face to a veteran like Dawson. When a rookie and a veteran are about even, give it to the guy who has been doing it longer. In the fan voting, Dawson finished second behind Janikowski. Fan voting counts for 1/3 of the process, so Dawson will need the players and the coaches to throw their support behind him.
Joshua Cribbs won the fan voting in the AFC for the "general" special teams player (not as a returner). Cribbs has eight special teams tackles this year, which is behind teammate Johnson Bademosi, who has 13 tackles. Cribbs might get in just for his reputation. In fan voting, Cribbs finished second behind Baltimore's Jacoby Jones at kick return.
Here are other players who finished in the top five in AFC fan voting from the Browns (credit: CBS Sports):
- RB Trent Richardson (5th among running backs)
- LT Joe Thomas (4th among offensive tackles)
- LB D'Qwell Jackson (2nd among inside linebackers)
CB Joe Haden is ineligible for the Pro Bowl due to his suspension earlier in the year.
Which players do you think should make the Pro Bowl from the Browns? Use this as the Pro Bowl announcement open thread -- remember, it all starts at 7:00 PM EST.