The Pro-Bowl rosters were announced yesterday and the Falcons had two players make the initial team.
Pro Bowl bound!
Julio Jones and Alex Mack have been selected to the #ProBowl.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 19, 2018
Julio Jones was the obvious selection, leading the NFL in receiving through 14 weeks with 1,511 yards and even scoring some touchdowns of late. Alex Mack, a Pro-Bowl regular, was selected for the sixth time. Although, his nomination was a little more surprising considering how poor the Atlanta offensive line played this year. Falcons’ head coach, Dan Quinn had this to say regarding the selection of Jones and Mack, “It really goes to show the respect that they have during a tough year; they’re recognized for the standard at which they operate.”
#Falcons Coach Quinn on Jones and Mack being selected for the Pro Bowl: "It really goes to show the respect that they have during a tough year; they're recognized for the standard at which they operate."
— 92.9 The Game (@929TheGame) December 19, 2018
Congrats to both of those guys as their nominations are both well-deserved, but this isn’t about the guys who did make it. This is about the snubs. Shoutout to both Damontae Kazee and Grady Jarrett as preliminary snubs. Dan Quinn also mentioned in his interview with 92.9 The Game, that they were both deserving of Pro-Bowl recognition. Especially Jarrett, who has been one of the best defensive tackles in all of football the last two years, but has yet to receive a Pro-Bowl nod. However, that’s what happens when you have players like Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox constantly taking up at least two defensive tackle spots each season.
While those two were snubbed, I have no earthly idea how Matt Ryan failed to make the Pro-Bowl. I don’t even know what to call it. It deserves a better name than merely a ‘snub’. Here are the stats of the five best quarterbacks in the NFC (remember only three make it initially).
Drew Brees: 116.8 passer rating, 74.9% completion, 3,666 yards, 31 touchdowns and 5 interceptions
Aaron Rodgers: 97.2 passer rating, 61.8% completion, 3,974 yards, 23 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
Jared Goff: 98.6 passer rating, 64.6% completion, 4,273 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions
Matt Ryan: 107.6 passer rating, 69.9% completion, 4,307 yards, 30 touchdowns and 6 interceptions
Russell Wilson: 111.6 passer rating, 66.3% completion, 3,025 yards, 31 touchdowns and 6 interceptions
Listen, Matt Ryan has been the best quarterback in the NFC this season, and at worst, he’s been the second-best. He leads the NFC in passing yards, is third in passer rating, third in touchdowns and thrown the third-fewest amount of interceptions. The only quarterbacks that can be compared to him statistically are Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
Brees has been an MVP-caliber player for the majority of the season and obviously deserving of the Pro-Bowl. He hasn’t thrown for nearly as many yards as Ryan, but doesn’t need to with the Saints ability to run the ball.
All that is fantastic, but it’s much easier to do when you have the best offensive line of football and an elite running game. Ryan hasn’t had the benefit of such luxuries, operating most of the time without a running game at all and constantly under pressure. Brees has only been sacked 15 times all season compared to Ryan’s 40 sacks. Considering their stats are almost mirror images of each other, I would say Ryan has been the better QB given the circumstances. I’ve watched Drew Brees perform a lot worse under similar circumstances.
At least that’s a legitimate argument. Aaron Rodgers is always going to be tossed in as a popularity vote. However, there’s no way he’s been as a reliable as Ryan. But where this conversation gets stupid is trying to justify nominating Jared Goff over Matt Ryan.
While Goff has shown he may have a promising future, he is nowhere near a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback, and you don’t have to go very far back on the game tape to verify that. In his last two games he’s thrown 0 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Even before that, he was very much the beneficiary of being in a fantastic system under Sean McVay, with numerous high-powered weapons around him, an elite offensive line and an outstanding running game. And with all that being said, he still didn’t put up statistics worth being mentioned in the same category of Brees, Ryan or Wilson for that matter.
The Pro-Bowl has always been suspect in how they go about making their selections. It’s another reason why the game has lost basically all of it’s interest of the last couple of decades. But this was definitely one of the more noticeable Falcons snubs in recent history.