It’s not like the Texans need extra motivation as they embark on their first post season. But, just in case, they now have it.To be the third playoff seed and get only two Pro Bowl players – Arian Foster and Johnathan Joseph – can be looked at a couple of ways. Either the Texans are a true ensemble, a balanced team or the world still does not take them seriously. I’m going to go with the latter.The obvious snubs are on the offensive line. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold are great players. But if your offense is 27th in the league, you don’t deserve two linemen getting in. No way.
Duane Brown and Chris Myers are having stellar campaigns for the second best rushing attack in the league. A team that has lost its top two quarterbacks has remained in the top third of the NFL in total offense and is ahead of teams featuring five of the eight offensive linemen selected.At linebacker, Brian Cushing has been spectacular, anchoring the NFL’s second-ranked unit, and has twice as many forced fumbles (2) and sacks (4) as Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson. Take nothing away from Johnson but he plays for the 15th rated defense and hasn’t helped spark one of the most dramatic defensive year-to-year turnarounds in NFL history.Connor Barwin has come on strong lately and deserved a long look to make it over the Chiefs’ Tamba Hali. Again, Hali and Johnson may be wonderful but if your side of the ball is not up to snuff then ties or close calls should go to the players whose squad is getting the job done. Barwin has 11.5 sacks on a team that lost its best defensive player (at the same position) in week five.The Chiefs may have turned heads with their win over Green Bay but they also gave up 41 points to Buffalo, 31 to Miami and 37 to the Jets. Aloha!J.J. Watt is ninth among all defensive linemen in tackles. With voting cloudy because of 3-4 and 4-3 defensive line position distinctions, it’s not surprising that Watt didn’t make it. But anyone who voted should have at least given some consideration to adding the rookie to their squad.The finishing kick this season is about more than individual accolades. But Congratulations have to go out to Arian Foster for his second straight bid. And Johnathan Joseph who becomes the first Texans cornerback since Aaron Glenn to get a trip to Hawaii (that’s right, Dunta Robinson never made it).When the teams were announced, I smiled thinking that this is just adding a bit of fuel to the post season fire and the focus heading into this weekend. Of course, the Titans might feel that way too. They received zero bids. — Marc Vandermeer of Vandermeer & Lopez
CHRIS MYERS, BRIAN CUSHING
Very rarely do I turn to the, “We don’t get respect” card.
Too often, that’s a copout and off-base. But in the case of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs not just among the Texans — but in all of football – it’s obvious Chris Myers and Brian Cushing fell victim to the Texans’ inglorious history.
Cushing is arguably the best linebacker in the game today, with due respect to the Clay Matthews and Terrell Suggs of the world. He is the most dominant player on arguably the best defense in football.
Myers, meanwhile, consistently grades out among the best players on either side of the ball, every week.
He’s on his third QB, too, and not missing a beat.
Both will have their glory. They’ll earn it. Still, what a shame the Texans still are getting very little credit for a remarkable season. — John Lopez of Vandermeer & Lopez
Based on the game-by-game reviews and overall season analysis from ProFootballFocus, Myers was the best center in the NFL in 2011. Nick Mangold of the Jets had another fine year, but missed a couple of games, and wasn’t quite up to his usual self. Myers had no horrible plays like the terrible snap Mangold had Saturday against the Giants, which created a big turnover near the end zone.Myers is one of the most improved players on this team over the last 2 seasons. He’s extremely reliable and durable, making all the line calls and helping lead the way for the NFL’s 2nd best rushing attack. Arian Foster and Ben Tate have been performing at a high level all season, and that starts up front. Myers has handled bigger defensive tackles pretty well, and consistently grades out at an elite level on a week-to-week basis.Many people will focus on the bigger snubs, like Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin. I think those guys belong, but there’s NO QUESTION Chris Myers is a Pro Bowler. —Mike Meltser of the Mike Meltser Show
There is injustice and then there is just plain disrespect. Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin was clearly disrespected by not making the Pro Bowl this season. While the additions of cornerback Johnathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning have been huge, it’s very likely we would not be talking about the Texans as the AFC South champions and heading to the playoffs for the first time were it not for the way Barwin stepped up this season in place of injured Mario Williams. Barwin shifted over to the pass rushing linebacker spot when Williams went down and has stepped up in ways that was once unimaginable. He has 11.5 sacks on the season but he has also been strong against the run with 46 totals stops. Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs definitely deserved the starting nod, but Barwin should have been No.2 ahead of Denver rookie Von Miller and Kansas City’s Tamba Hali. Barwin has certainly been more instrumental to his team’s ground-breaking season than Miller and Hali have been to their respective teams. There is still a chance the injustice will be undone and Barwin will make the team as an alternate. — Terrance Harris, SportsRadio 610 columnist
CONNOR BARWIN, DUANE BROWN, BRIAN CUSHING
Like most of you, I was not very happy with the Texans only having two members of this year’s Pro Bowl roster. But, after looking at the bigger picture, it really shouldn’t matter that much.
Lets remember back to 2009, when Matt Schaub had an all-world season and was left off the initial Pro Bowl roster. Then a few weeks later, he started the game in Miami and was named the MVP.
The point I am trying to make, is although you want the Texans players like Connor Barwin, Brian Cushing, Duane Brown, and others to be named to the team. Fear not, they will be soon. Players drop out, either by choice or Super Bowl conflict. Therefore, the names that I mentioned and the other names listed as alternates will have a chance to be living it up on Diamond Head in Oahu come January. — Dan Mathews, SportsRadio 610 reporter
It’s nice to have both Arian Foster and Johnathan Joseph represent the Texans on the Pro Bowl squad, but there should have been at least 5 in my opinion, and could put 6 in. Brian Cushing, JJ Watt, Conner Barwin, Duane Brown are 4 others I’d pay serious attention too, football fans, players and coaches outside of the AFC South obviously didn’t.
Brian Cushing should probably be there, but guys like London Fletcher, D’Qwell Jackson, and Chad Greenway probably deserve to be there over Cushing though, they’ve all had terrific seasons, now Cushing is an alternate and will likely represent the Texans in Hawaii anyway, assuming they’re not preparing to play in the Super Bowl. Duane Brown, to me deserves to be there over anyone else that I named that should be in and both foster and Joseph, who are in. Brown, I don’t think, has allowed a sack all season. While there aren’t stats for offensive lineman etc, it is essentially a popularity contest, and the Texans just aren’t that popular. At the end of the day…who cares? It’s not like you’ll be watching anyway. How many of you saw Matt Schaub win last season’s Pro Bowl MVP?…LOL…You lie! — Shaun Bijani of The Odd Couple
BRIAN CUSHING, CONNOR BARWIN
Brian Cushing has been the spiritual leader on the field for the Texans, not to mention a leader on the stat sheets. Cushing leads all inside linebackers in the AFC in interceptions, forced fumbles, and sacks. The only category that he doesn’t lead is tackles, where he is one away from the number three spot. Is that not enough for you? He has only led the 31st ranked defense in 2010 to currently hold the 2nd ranking in the NFL. Are you not entertained?
The other snub, in my opinion, is far less egregious because the outside linebacker position is currently oversaturated with talent. And while Connor Barwin is 3rd in the AFC with 11.5 sacks and a forced fumble, there are several OLBs that have racked up many more tackles than the third year Cincinnati Bearcat has over the past 16 weeks. Also you must not forget that Barwin switched positions midway through the season to help cover the void caused by Mario Williams’ torn pectoral muscle. Not only did he manage to change positions, he did it while continuing to put the fear of God into the opposing quarterbacks.
Foster and Joseph deserve the congratulatory pats on the back that they will no doubt receive, but I can’t help but feel like I have been slapped in the face by the coaches, fans, and players that didn’t pick #56 and #98. — Mike Williams, SportsRadio 610 reporter