In an up and down year, the Jets have sent a league-leading seven players to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Now isn’t that something else?
Alan Faneca, Leon Washington, Kris Jenkins, and Thomas Jones were all named to the starting roster while Brett Favre, Nick Mangold, and Darrelle Revis received invitations as reserves.
What surprised me the most was that this is Thomas Jones’ first trip to Hawaii. Granted, he only had a whopping total of two touchdowns last year, but remember when he was in Chicago? He helped the Bears get to the Super Bowl, but with modest stats when compared with what he’s done this year. The year he went to the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning’s Colts, he had six touchdowns and 1,210 yards. This season, Jones has already surpassed that yardage total with two games left to play. He’s amassed 1,222 yards, having crossed the goal line 13 times via rushing and 15 total, both franchise records. Curtis Martin, the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher was a Jet. I’m just sayin…
It’s no wonder why Faneca deserves to be selected for the Pro Bowl. He blocks for that stud of a running back. He’ll be appearing in his eighth NFL All-Star game. Gang Green is second in the NFL averaging 4.8 yards per rush. Last season, New York’s O-line was a group of matadors, allowing 44 sacks through 14 games. Through that many games this year, Faneca has helped cut that total nearly in half, allowing Brett Favre to go down just 26 times in the backfield.
Kris Jenkins, making his fourth trip to the Aloha State, has helped anchor a stout defensive line that has held an NFL-high five teams to under 50 yards rushing this season. He joins the company of Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. With those two up front for the AFC, Adrian Peterson should have some trouble running the ball.
Leon Washington, who I still think isn’t used enough out of the backfield, made his first Pro Bowl as a kick returner, becoming the second Jet to go as a returner in the last three years (Justin Miller, 2006). Washington leads the league in combined yards with 2,067-that’s the league, meaning he has more than Chicago’s Devin Hester-and has six kickoff returns for 40-or-more yards. Favre referred to him as an MVP player after Sunday’s win against Buffalo. He’s good.
In making his 10th Pro Bowl, Favre joins an eclectic group of Jet quarterbacks-Joe Namath, Ken O’Brien, Boomer Esiason, and Vinny Testaverde-to make the team. O’Brien is the only one to have made the Pro Bowl more than once, so will Favre match that next season? Who knows, and right now who cares? New York media, anyone?
Nick Mangold is the third Jets center to play in Hawaii, joining the likes of Joe Fields, who did it twice and Kevin Mawae, who went six times. It certainly is not any secret that like Faneca, Mangold has been a big part of why Thomas Jones is having a career season. It’s a damn shame the entire Jets O-line can’t go, because they deserve it. While a lot of positions and aspects of the team have done 180’s for the Jets this year, the offensive line is easily the most improved.
Darrelle Revis is second in the NFL with five interceptions and is the first Jets cornerback to make the Pro Bowl since Ty Law in 2005. The secondary has been a low point for the Green and White this season (29th league-wide in defending the pass), but that can hardly be blamed on Revis, who closed out the game at Miami in Week 1 with a pick and the most recent win against the Bills as well. He has 36 tackles and 13 assists to go along with a forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Who would have seen this? A league-leading seven Pro Bowlers from New York’s “other” team. At this point it’s certainly no surprise, but back in training camp, who woulda thunk it?