Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Westbrook Didn't Deserve Pro Bowl Snub

The statistics don't do justice to the value of Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, but too many people vote for the Pro Bowl based on the stat sheet.
Which is why Westbrook won't have a flight to Hawaii in the second week of February unless somebody gets hurt.
Westbrook was named a first alternate even though one could seriously put his name in the MVP race and it wouldn't be farfetched.
The three NFC Pro Bowl running backs are San Francisco's Frank Gore, who didn't look so hot when he played against the Eagles, New York's Tiki Barber, who didn't look so hot in two games this year against the Eagles and Steven Jackson of St. Louis, who didn't face the Eagles this season.
Gore has enjoyed a sensational season with 1,491 rushing yards, a hefty 5.5 average and six touchdowns.
Barber has rushed for 1,357 yards (4.7 average) and just two touchdowns. He is often replaced near the goal line by bruiser Brandon Jacobs. Is that the definition of a Pro Bowl back?
Jackson has rushed for 1,246 yards (4.3 average) and nine touchdowns.
Westbrook has rushed for 1,092 yards (5.1 average) and seven touchdowns. He has carried the ball just 213 times, compared to 288 for both Barber and Jackson and 271 for Gore.
Westbrook also has 72 receptions for 664 yards and four touchdowns. He is the first Eagle to have more than 1,000 yards rushing and 600 receiving in the same season.
It's easy to say that somebody deserves to make an all-star team, but who would somebody like Westbrook replace?
This year, he has had a better season than both Barber and Jackson. An argument could certainly be made for Gore, but Westbrook should have been no less than the second back picked.
Now the only way he will get to Hawaii is if one of the three players bows out of the game. And based on his sensational season, Westbrook shouldn't need to enter the Pro Bowl through the back door.