My first thought is “how could this be true”? The Rams had a great season. How could we not get a single Pro Bowl selection? Then I remembered the Rams ‘great’ season was only great relative to last year’s (and a lot of recent years) record of 2-14. 7-8-1 as a turn around season is respectable, but it’s still a losing record. But I’m still thinking there should be someone who should have been selected. ??? And now comes the unpleasant part… taking a realistic look at all the players.
Who would go on offense? Steven Jackson? Maybe. He had a pretty strong finish to the season and set some records. The problem is there were a lot of great NFC running backs this year (Lynch, Gore, Morris, Martin). All of them had better stats than Steven. How about our O-Line? On the left side we dealt with injury all season. On the right side, according to Pro Football Focus, Harvey Dahl was the only Rams’ guard to end the season with a positive grade. Pro Bowl caliber C Scott Wells spent a good amount of time on IR. Don’t even mention the name Sam Bradford. I’m going to have to think long and hard before trying to give him a grade for the year. So, no one stands out on offense.
What about on defense? Rookie CB Jenkins? Nah, the passer completion rating against him was not extraordinary. DT Michael Brockers started the season with injuries. He definitely has the potential, but not this year. MLB Laurinaitis was good and CB Cortland Finnegan was great at times. Finnegan had 3 INTs in the first 3 games of the season and he played tough in-your-face football, but he got worked in the middle to latter part of the season. There are 2 Rams defenders that come to mind:
- S Quintin Mikell: after a slow start – probably while adjusting to the new defense – the Rams’ strong safety has played exceptional football. If any Ram had a case for Pro Bowl inclusion, it’s Mikell. According to Pro Football Focus, Mikell is the NFL’s most effective blitzer among safeties, and he ranks No. 2 among all safeties in playing the run.*
- OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar: he had an underrated, overlooked season. Pro Football Focus ranks him 9th in the NFL and 4th in the NFC among OLB … he is steady and solid and an asset.* And Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 3 in run defense among all OLBs.
So I see a couple of guys who missed out on some fun, but meaningless time in Hawaii. Overall, I guess I’m ok with the snub. Had we had a winning season, I’m sure I’d feel much differently. I am super unhappy about the Chiefs though. 2-14 for the year and they had five guys selected. I’d be embarrassed if I was one of those 5 guys.
Anyways, have a great day Rams fans and HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!
*BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist