This is going to be one of the toughest years to choose an All Pro Team given the injuries to star players and the topsy-turvy season but here goes.
QB: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Most years you just put Tom Brady or Peyton Manning up there, no questions asked. This year with Brady out and the Colts struggling a little, it’s a new ballgame. Brees has been playing great football this year with back-up receivers. Most of the interceptions I’ve seen him throw haven’t even been his fault. Philip Rivers of San Diego has played well this year but there is something I just don’t like about the guy. Tony Romo, Kurt Warner, and Jay Cutler would also be honorable mentions, but all three have ball security issues.
RB: Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants
I know this is going to cause some discussion because Clinton Portis is leading the league in rushing, but it’s really hard to pick a running back. Jacobs is an absolute load. Thinking about running backs it is also clear why the NFC has the dominant teams this year. Think about this, Brandon Jacobs, Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Marion Barber, and Michael Turner. The AFC? The leading rusher is Willie Parker who is always hurt, Joseph Addai has been hurt, LaDanian Tomlinson who isn’t playing like LaDanian Tomlinson. Who else is there? The 7-0 Titans have Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Clinton Portis would be my second choice.
FB: Lawrence Vickers, Cleveland Browns
This young full back is a real load. And fullbacks are a dying breed. I’ve also been impressed with Le’Ron McClain of the Ravens.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
WR: Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
While I think Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are still the most talented receivers in the league and get double and triple teamed a lot, I have to go with other wide receivers based on production. Right now I think Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the league, and Andre Johnson is putting up the numbers that gets him the second spot. I will say it was very, very, very difficult not to choose Brandon Marshall, who is simply amazing. Very tough call there, and it’s all right now based on numbers. You can’t go wrong with either one.
TE: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
This was an easy choice.
G: Chris Snee, New York Giants
G: Leonard Davis, Dallas Cowboys
I have not seen very good offensive line play this year at any position but Snee and Davis have been about the best I’ve seen. Davis has some real weaknesses in pulling and getting downfield but he’s huge and really clears the path on running plays, and in the guard position does a mostly decent job of pass protection.
T: Jammal Brown, New Orleans Saints
T: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Jammal Brown has been effectively protecting Brees blindside all year long. Joe Thomas has been very consistent in the games I’ve seen him play and very much worth the first round pick the Browns used on him.
C: Kevin Maewae, C, Tennessee Titans
I have been very impressed with Casey Rabach of the Washington Redskins until he got manhandled (sorry ladies) by Shaun Rogers of Cleveland. There’s a reason Chris Johnson and LenDale White are tearing up the league in rushing.
K: Matt Prater, Denver Broncos
This is a tough one because there a lot of good kickers, but I am going with Prater because of his strong leg.
Kick Returner: Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers
With Reggie Bush injured, I’m gong with Sproles
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
With all the great rookie running backs out there you would think one of them would have to get the offensive rookie nod. But the QB position is so vital and Ryan has helped revitalize the Falcons and by all accounts looks like the real deal. I’d probably go with Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans otherwise.
DE: Juqua Parker, Philadelphia Eagles
DE: John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons
Where did Juqua Parker come from? He’s been in the league nine years and I didn’t know much about him before this year. Every game I have seen him play he is a solid force on defense. Abraham has lead the league in sacks until two weeks ago (and a bye). Justin Tuck of the New York Giants is a real monster on the line as well so it was a tough call.
DT: Shaun Rogers, Cleveland Browns
DT: Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee Titans
Shaun Rogers has been the most consistent beast on the DL I have seen this year. Haynesworth is a bit of a mystery to me and I think he is a little overhyped and overrated but he is a monster in the middle and anchors the best defense in the league. Kevin Williams has had a great year for the Vikings. I have also been very impressed this year with Jamal Williams of the San Diego Chargers.
LB: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
LB: DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
LB: Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
LB: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
This was also a rather tough call here. The interesting thing this year is Ray Lewis is back in form and he absolutely makes this team because he anchors that great Ravens defense (that laid and egg against Indianapolis). James Harrison, so far, is the best linebacker in the league. His mate LaMar Woodley almost made the list. Joey Porter may lead the league in sacks of this writing, but I have to go with my squad above.
SS: Troy Polamalu
Polamalu is back with a vengeance this year after some injuries slowed him down last year. Bob Sanders is hurt, as usual. I have also been impressed with Adrian Wilson of the Arizona Cardinals.
FS: Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
Ed Reed is still the best at his position.
CB: Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings
CB: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
Antoine Winfield has been the best defensive player I have seen this year and Champ Bailey, although sometimes getting burned, is still a staple at this position. Bailey got injured, but he’s staying on my mid-season list.
P: Mike Scifres, San Diego Chargers
His good average and weird spin on the ball has really helped the Chargers with field position.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota Vikings
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE: Chris Horton, SS, Washington Redskins
It’s amazing how this young 7th round draft pick has a nose for the ball. Very strong Honorable Mention for Jerrod Mayo, LB, New England Patriots
COACH OF THE YEAR: Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins
MEA CULPA. I was not a Zorn basher at the start of the year because I had no idea what to expect of him but I was a real skeptic in the choice of Zorn as a head coach whose previous experience as only as a quarterbacks coach. Last year the Redskins were a disaster waiting to happen every single week. They lost games they should have won, and a lot of times looked out of sync. Joe Gibbs didn’t seem like the head coach, I think Gregg Williams was. While the Redskins don’t look like world beaters and had a lethargic outing against the Lions, this isn’t a team that snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory like last year. I am not fond of the Redskins as a team because of Dan Snyder but I love this coach.
HM: Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans was very hard not to choose here. His decision to stick with Kerry Collins as QB could be deemed a bold move, but the Titans are winning.