Wow. How Eric Steinbach was left off that roster I’ll never know.
Congratulations to Josh Cribbs, who will be the ‘starting’ kick returner for the AFC Pro-Bowl squad, and also to Braylon Edwards who made the roster at WR. Those two are certainly deserving of their first Pro-Bowl appearance. Unfortunately for Cribbs and Edwards, every article written about the Browns and the Pro-Bowl will more than likely focus on who was not invited to Hawaii. I understand that because of injuries another Brown or two might find themselves invited, but there is something to be said for being nominated from the get-go.
We know this for certain- Browns guard Eric Steinbach was the leading vote-getter on the offensive line from the fans. That vote is supposed to count for one-third of the final tally. The other two-thirds come from the players and the coaches. So what does that tell us? Well, apparently Eric is either not well liked, or not well respected among those in the league. He was first among guards from the fans, and obviously didn’t crack the top three from either the coaches or the players or he would have made the roster.
So who made the roster in place of Eric? Well, there’s Alan Faneca, Logan Mankins, and Kris Dielman. Obviously these guys aren’t chopped liver, but the addition of Steinbach has helped transform the Browns line from punchline to prominence. The stats alone are staggering. Sacks have been cut in half, rushing yards are up per game, and rushing TD’s have been tripled.
Now, with all of the changes to the Browns’ line it might be difficult to measure Steinbach’s effectiveness. So why not take a look at how his former team is doing without him? How are those Bengals doing this year? What’s that? Carson Palmer is getting tossed around like rag doll? The running game is non-existent? Hmmmm…
There are more Browns that are probably deserving to receive an invite. A case could be made for Derek Anderson, especially considering Ben Roethlisberger’s poor outings against inferior opponents. I would say that Joe Thomas should certainly get consideration, but honestly I can understand why a rookie lineman won’t get placed on the Pro-Bowl.
Kellen Winslow is in a tough spot. He has Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez in the same conference. Here are the stats-
Winslow- 71 catches, 971 yards and 5 TD’s, Gonzalez- 82 catches, 971 yards and 5 TD’s, Gates 68 catches, 898 yards, 9 TD’s.
When you look just at the numbers, it was pretty much a dead heat. I imagine that Winslow’s reputation probably hurt him in the long run. He has rubbed many fans and media the wrong way in the past, and I’m sure some players and coaches as well.
I’ll throw one last name out there. How about Sean Jones? How does Troy Polamalu make the squad after missing a third of the season? Sean Jones may have been burned a few times in the beginning of the season, but he has come on to be a major force for the Browns. His run support is second only to Bob Sanders in my opinion.
So there you have it. Edwards and Cribbs will represent Cleveland this year, which is two more reps than we have had since Jamir Miller made the team in ’02. In fact, the Browns haven’t had 2 Pro-Bowlers since they returned to the league. A nice accomplishment, but there are at least 2 more players who should have been celebrating with Josh and Braylon.