Wallace, Farrior and Timmons Were Not Pro Bowl Snubs

It was surprising to see only three Steelers players selected to the Pro Bowl. After all, this is a veteran, star-laden Pittsburgh team that sports an 11-4 record and one of the top five run defenses in NFL history.

The problem was not that the Steelers did not have more worthy candidates. OLB James Harrison, SS Troy Polamalu and C Maurkice Pouncey all were worthy of their invites. ILB James Farrior, NT Casey Hampton, CB Ike Taylor, ILB Lawrence Timmons and WR Mike Wallace also had Pro-Bowl caliber seasons. But Taylor was the only one who was actually worthy of a spot over a selected player on this year’s AFC Pro Bowl roster.

The primary problem with the Pro Bowl is that only 42 players are selected from each conference, leaving off many deserving candidates. Why not have a 53-man roster for the Pro Bowl? Moreover, some positions are under-represented.

Exactly half the teams in the NFL now employ a base 3-4 defense, but yet only two inside linebackers are selected for each conference, compared to three quarterbacks. Thus, 32 quarterbacks and 48 inside linebackers start each week in the NFL; but yet there are six spots for quarterbacks in the Pro Bowl, compared to just four for inside linebackers.

This discrepancy is why Farrior has only been to two Pro Bowls during his superb Steelers career, and neither Farrior or Timmons were deserving of such a bid this year over Ray Lewis, who is still the best Mike backer in the game, or athletic Patriots stalwart Jerod Mayo.

Nor was Wallace more worthy than any of the four receivers selected to represent the AFC. Wallace enjoyed a splendid second season, tallying 57 catches for 1,152 yards, 9 TDs and a league-leading 20.2 yards per reception average. But here are the stats for the four WRs selected from the AFC for this year’s Pro Bowl:

Andre Johnson, 86 receptions for 1,217 yards and 8 TDs.

Reggie Wayne
, 102 receptions for 1,287 yards and 5 TDs.

Brandon Lloyd, 72 receptions for 1,375 yards and 10 TDs.

Dwyane Bowe
, 67 receptions for 1,094 yards and 15 TDs.

Wallace simply did not make enough receptions to warrant a Pro-Bowl bid this year in a loaded AFC for his position. He did emerge as the team’s No. 1 WR, but was double-teamed too often and always faced opponents’ best corners, primarily because Pittsburgh had no solid No. 2 receiver this year after moronically giving away Santonio Holmes to the Jets over the offseason as a PR move.

Incidentally, Holmes’ 79 receptions for 1,248 yards in 2009 was just as Pro-Bowl worthy as Wallace’s excellent 2010 campaign. Could you imagine if opposing teams had to cover both studs instead of being able to cover Hines Ward with a linebacker or safety, and watching promising rookie Emmanuel Sanders continuously fall down after making his cuts? Sanders will be very good down the road, but needs new cleats and is a work in progress.

The only Steeler deserving of a Pro-Bowl bid this year who did not receive one was Taylor, as Adam already noted.

Taylor easily had a better year than Darelle Revis, who was hindered by a hamstring pull all year, seemingly beaten more often than in all his other years combined, and often did not even cover the opposing team’s best receiver, with those responsibilities going to former Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie.

In contrast, Taylor had Bryant McFadden on the other side and thus was given Deion Sanders-type respect by opposing QBs. Nevertheless, Taylor had a superb season and should have been tabbed over Revis, who made this game on past accomplishments and reputation.

Pouncey, though, is probably not yet one of the top two centers in the AFC, so the Steelers numbers were just. It is just irritating that Taylor has now had four Pro-Bowl caliber seasons in his NFL career, but has never once been selected for the game or even played in it as an alternate.

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  • Cols714

    I think Mayo is a bit overrated and that Timmons is a better player than him. And we get it, you wish they didn’t trade Holmes, but thanks for reminding us.

    Pouncey, while good, really wasn’t deserving of a pro bowl invite this year. But we’ll take it.

    • Ted

      You may be right on the Timmons-Mayo comparisons. I have not watched Mayo enough to evaluate, but he does seem to make a ton of plays when I do watch him. Of course, our defense was much better. As for the Holmes trade, our offense has struggled all year and would undoubtedly be more potent with Wallace and Holmes as a 1-2 WR punch, and Randle El and Sanders on the bench more.

      • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

        I don’t dispute that the Steelers’ offense could be better, but they rank seventh in Total Offensive DVOA, and more than that, third in Passing DVOA. The numbers disagree with your sentiment.

        Also: Wallace is first in total value and first in value per play among all NFL WRs. Would Pittsburgh be better with Holmes? Yeah. But I’m not sure the drop-off between Holmes and what Manny Sanders and AB have contributed this year is such a big gap. In fact, Sanders’ 2010 DVOA is higher than Holmes. A year ago, Santonio ranked 10th in total value and 21st in value per play (and is 38th and 40th this year).

  • josh

    The Steelers numbers weren’t just in the context of other teams.

    The Patriots have 4 defensive players in the Pro Bowl. This Steelers D had a HISTORIC season in terms of shutting down the run. There were 14 teams better than the Patriots on run D but Mayo is more deserving than Timmons? And what about Hampton, who had subs on both sides for stretches of the season? Did I mention that the Steelers were better than any other team by close to 30 run yds/game?

    • Ted

      Good points. A strong argument could be made for Hampton, but his inclusion would have been like Revis, more based on past reputation. He played less plays than any other years, as Hoke subbed in frequently, Casey missed some time early in the year due to injury, and we played nickel a lot with Hampton on the sidelines.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    If we’re going on stats, I’d take Wallace’s over Wayne’s. I haven’t seen Wayne play much, so he may be having a great year, with all the other Colts WRs injured.

    Also, I’ve been wondering if we’ve underrated BMac’s season. Wasn’t the FO stat that we’re a top D against both #1 and #2 WRs? I’m not saying he’s been great, but perhaps we’re putting too much weigh on a handful of poor plays. Or, at least I hope so, with the Pats possibly in our future.

  • Boogityboogity

    Admit it, guys. Ted uses a Macro to write all of his posts.

    Santonio Holmes anger.

    You would think being on the verge of a potential 12-4 season with a potential first round bye with slick foot Sanders and old man Ward would be good enough, but I guess not. And I saw defenses try to cover Wallace and Holmes. It ended with a 9-7 season outside of the playoffs.

    I’m sure if Wallace was playing in the Broncos offense, constantly trying to come from behind without a running game, he might have a lot more catches, too. Bah.

  • Steelclan

    Bullcrap on Mayo, outside his tackles he has 0 forced fumbles, 1 scak and no ints. He makes bunches of tackles for 27th ranked D. So what, London Fletcher made a boatload of tackles as well. Mayo is not explosive and lacks the ability to run down plays from backside. Timmons is faster, more agile, makes explosion plays and does not accumulate endless streams of tackles 8 to 9 yards beyond the LOS. Timmons got jobbed by a BS stat that only has value when the tackles are meaningful and not a collection of afterthoughts after a good gain or first down.

  • Bigswa

    I can agree that Timmons may not be deserving, but Ray Lewis is living off of reputation.

  • DaMattHatter09

    I’m sorry but you guys are no longer allowed to talk about Steelers football… You guys are a joke to the term Steelers fan.

    Jerod Mayo deserved to make the Pro Bowl over Lawrence Timmons?

    Lawrence Timmons: 86 Solo Tackles, 37 Assisted Tackles, 3 Sacks, 6 Stuffs, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Interceptions, 9 Passes Defensed
    Jerod Mayo: 109 Solo Tackles, 59 Assisted Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 Stuffs, 1 Forced Fumble, 5 Passes Defensed

    Ok… so Mayo has more solo tackles and more assisted tackles. Clearly he is better right? Oh wait… he lacks splash plays. Anyone who watches Mayo realized that most of his tackles are coming 5 to 8 yards down the field. In fact, last I checked a mere 38% of his tackles were within 4 yards of the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile Timmons had 69% of his coming within 4 yards. Anyone who actually watched the tape on the two knows who the actual playmaker is and who the guy jumping on the pile is. Dansby, Timmons and Lewis were all much more deserving than Mayo.

    Casey Hampton doesn’t deserve to go? Last I checked the Steelers are slated to finish with the 3rd best run defense of ALL TIME. That is while playing with their 4th and 5th defensive ends for most of the season. So who was the stallwort? Hampton yet Seymour and company were better? The only interior lineman better this season was Ngata.

    Also, while Taylor was great this season – and for the first time great by the metrics test as well – Revis had an elite 3/4 of the season allowing about 1 catch for 12 or so yards every game the rest of the way after returning from the hamstring.

    However, I did at least see that you weren’t foolish and realized that Maurkice Pouncey did not deserve to go in the least so some face was saved… Farrior and Wallace do deservedlt come up short.

  • GlennW

    Here in New England, the consensus amongst the Patriots’ beat writers on their defensive Pro Bowl selections is as follows:

    Wilfork: thoroughly deserving, the Patriots’ version of Hampton but plays more downs and some DE
    McCourty: marginal but justifiable (probably not more deserving than Champ Bailey though)
    Mayo: questionable at best, lots of cleanup tackles for a defense that couldn’t get off the field
    Meriweather: total inexplicable joke of a selection

    I agree that Timmons is the only Steelers who really got “screwed”. Wallace faced heavy competition, while at this point in his career I see Farrior as more a beneficiary of the overall system (wasn’t it just last year that he was perceived as too slow and a liability?).

  • Anonymous

    1. Pouncey was surprising. He’s playing great, but I doubt he’s one of the top two centers in the AFC.

    2. I find DB to be one of the most difficult positions to judge. Ike Taylor is definitely playing well.

    3. If you go just by stats, and you think that Lewis definitely has a better season than Mayo, then you must also think that Timmons has a better season than Mayo since their numbers are very similar. Considering the historically good run defense to which he contributes, I think you’d have to put Timmons in over both. The competition is tough here, however Timmons does deserve the nod over at least Mayo and probably deserves the start as well.

    4. Unless Wallace has a massively higher drop rate than the others, the stats you give show that he clearly had better a season than either Wayne or Bowe, and he arguably had a better season than any of the four. Having watched the games, I don’t think Wallace is a serial dropper, and DVOA puts him at #1 in the NFL. So Wallace is probably the most obvious Steelers snub.

    5. The amount of time Hampton plays I think is a factor in pro bowl selection. And I think he is correctly not in. Kyle Williams, I think should be though.

    I think the most legitimate list of players from the Steelers who should be in is:
    Polamalu, Harrison, Wallace, Timmons, Taylor

    Add anyone else from the Steelers, and I don’t think I could objectively justify him over a player who gets kicked off the list. Remove any of them, and I don’t think I could objectively justify the replacement.

  • Randy Steele

    Pouncey is not deserving? Okay, but does anyone else remember Russ Grimm saying while he was here that he didn’t want Steelers didn’t want to draft Mangold because he was too soft?

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_COMKUP2MMCBJFXXAL7RSWYBPDI X Y

    Wallace only did well because there was no solid #2 WR? Are you kidding me? What about Reggie Wayne? The receiving corps on the Colts did well because it was Peyton Manning throwing to them, but if they had been healthy Reggie Wayne wouldn’t have had anything close to what he’s finishing with this year. He’s been sub par all season.

    Mike Wallace deserves Reggie Wayne’s spot.. this is another case of inheriting probowl selection based solely on the past (as opposed to the current season) and reputation. You made the case yourself with Revis and the same is true outside of that..

    Dwayne Bowe put up solid numbers, but all of his touchdowns were leeched from fully capable running backs (Thomas Jones & Jamaal Charles). Just look at Jamaal Charles’ rushing yards versus his TD count. Dwayne Bowe had very few slam dunk TDs with major yards after the catch.. he also didn’t get started until a month or two into the season and all of this TDs were inside the 5 fades.

    Mike Wallace could have replaced Dwayne Bowe or Reggie Wayne and all would have been right in the world.. but I think Reggie Wayne should have been displaced in this year’s game. The Colts struggled all year and their probowl selections should be reflective of that..

  • Nssmuckers

    Wallace was absolutely a snub. They should select the team after Week 17, because Wallace had a better year than Andre Johnson in every category other than receptions.

    Is he a better WR than Andre? No. But this year he was. Andre Johnson wasn’t even 100% for much of the year, and won on reputation alone.

  • Demodude68

    steelers you men play as a team win as a team individually means a team like cinci,no bungles, you guys win one .more game and win as a team this is no time for i in team.
    we will be steeler fans win or lose. good luck we will be in plain grove supporting our team the pittsburgh
    steeler champs