Pro Bowl Might Be Very Light On Bucs

December 16th, 2008
Joe predicts Ronde Barber and Barrett Ruud will be named to the 2009 Pro Bowl team today at 4 p.m. Joe is pulling for Jermain Phillips, but it unlikely he will get the nod.

Joe is pulling for Jermaine Phillips to earn his first Pro Bowl nod, but it's unlikely the strong safety will make it when rosters are named at 4 p.m. today. Joe predicts fans, coaches and players will elect Ronde Barber and Barrett Ruud, as the only Bucs representatives.

In one of the more ridiculous annual NFL traditions, Pro Bowl selections for this season will be revealed at 4 p.m. today, with still two games remaining on the schedule.

Why the NFL can’t include an entire season in deciding who plays in its February all-star game is something Joe will never understand. They can’t wait two weeks?

Fans, coaches and players vote to select Pro Bowlers, and each group supposedly has an equal say in who goes.

Expect the Bucs to maybe send one or two players, from the defense only.

First, Tampa Bay fans are not among the fan groups who vote in droves for their favorite players. Sorry, Bucs fans, you are second rate in that category. Nobody will confuse you with Dallas and Green Bay. No Bucs were tops among fan voting last year or this year.


Despite the frequent accolades for the Bucs young offensive line, none has had a Pro Bowl-caliber season. The Bucs have no shot to send anyone from the quarterback, tight end or backfield positions.

That leaves wide receiver, where Antonio Bryant sits as the sixth leading receiver in the NFC (74 catches, 1044 yards, 6 TDs). Only four wide receivers go to the Pro Bowl, two starters and two reserves.

Statistically, Bryant is behind Atlanta’s Roddy White (82 catches, 1,310 yards, 6 TDs), Carolina’s Steve Smith (70 catches, 1,240 yards, 6 TDs), Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (88 catches, 1,200 yards, 9 TDs), Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (65 catches, 1,165 yards, 10 TDs) and Green Bay’s Greg Jennings (69 catches, 1.153 yards, 8 TDs).  Also, Arizona’s Anquan Boldin (89 catches, 1,038, 11 TDs) will get a lot of consideration.

Joe believes Bryant has little chance to make the team. He’s not popular among fans, and surely not among coaches, given his past troubles in the league.

Joe is sure Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White and one of the Arizona receivers will get the trip to Hawaii. So expect the Bucs to get shutout on offense.


The Bucs last two losses and their horrendous defense on the road through much of the season, especially the destruction of their run defense before a national audience on Monday Night Football, will keep nearly all of the defense home in February.

Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks will get some veteran love from players, coaches and fans, but it might not be enough to get either of them a spot in the Pro Bowl. Brooks didn’t make the game last year, but he’s been better in 2008. Barber’s recent interceptions and improved play will help him a lot. Joe wouldn’t select Barber, but he’s pulling for him, regardless. 

Nobody on the Bucs defensive line has a shot, and Barrett Ruud might have lost ground among players and coaches during the Bucs last two games. But Ruud is fourth in the NFC in tackles, plus a couple of interceptions and growing respect around the league.

In the secondary, Joe really wants to see strong safety Jermaine Phillips get a trip to Hawaii. It was clear how much he meant to the unit when he was out with an injury earlier in the season and Sabby Piscatelli filled in as the starter for a few games. You could have made a good case for Phillips to go to the Pro Bowl last year, as well. He hits hard, has been more of a standout than the others, and he’s made his share of big plays. But he did miss four games, and that will hurt his chances.

Joe predicts Barber and Ruud make the Pro Bowl team as reserves.

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