It’s the middle of the 2010 NFL football season. Setting the drama aside, where are my selections for the midseason NFL All Pro Team. Some players on this list might not make the cut by the end of the year or if they get injured but for now this is my take on the best of the best.
The top players on the list are the starters and the second players are backups.
2010 ALL PRO TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
QB: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Who else? As usual Manning and Brady are setting the standard for quarterback play this season. Peyton Manning, despite tons of injuries on the offensive side of the ball, continues to be a maestro at the quarterback position. His dismantling of the want to be upstart Houston Texans this past week speaks volumes to his ability.
The Patriots have also had their struggles on offense and despite any off field issues or lack of effort, the loss of Randy Moss hurts that offense. But Brady continues to find a way to move the ball and score when it counts the most.
RB: Arian Foster, Houston Texans
RB: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
It is really hard to pick running backs this year with so many deserving contenders. I have to give a nod to Arian Foster who has finally provided a running game to the Houston Texans’ potent offense. This second year player is also second in rushing yards with 737 yards at midseason with a very solid 5.7 average yards per carry.
With all due respect to Adrian Peterson, I have to go with Chris Johnson as my second pick. The Tennessee Titans passing game has been a bit erratic and defenses are really stacking up to contain Johnson. Yet, he still has 721 rushing yards and is always a threat to break off the big play.
FB: Le’Ron McClain, Baltimore Ravens
FB: Heath Evans, New Orleans Saints
Fullbacks are really a dying breed in the NFL and I wonder how much longer we will really have true fullbacks. Here I’m going with players who are the most versatile at the position.
Le’Ron McClain can do it all. He is an excellent run blocker, pass blocker, he can tote the rock, and catch passes out of the backfield. He is the most talented and versatile fullback in the game today.
Heath Evans of the Saints also provides the full compliment of offensive skills and adds another dimension to the Saints already potent offense.
WR: Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
WR: Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
WR: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
WR: Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos
This is another extremely difficult position to choose the best of the best but I did it. Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the game right now. While his statistics are not at the top of the league, partially do to being a bit injured, he has been the one receiver who has made some a huge difference for his team and come up with big catches at the most critical moments to win games.
Like Andre Johnson, Roddy White is having a career year and is an extremely gifted and valuable receiver. He made a serious run for the top spot on my list.
Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions, a lot like Andre Johnson of the Texans, has battled the injury bug. Just watching him play and make huge catches in critical situations to push the Lions to wins (and almost wins) has been impressive.
While Brandon Lloyd leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth given his woeful stint with the Washington Redskins you just can’t ignore his league leading 878 yards receiving and an impressive 20.9 yards per catch.
TE: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
TE: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
There is no question here. Antonio Gates is playing lights out football. He is third in the league with 663 receiving yards and right now is head and shoulders above anybody else.
Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys deserves some recognition as well. Despite a team that is imploding, he continues to plug along. He took Dallas Clark’s place who would have made it but he is now on injured reserve.
C: Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers (Rookie)
C: Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts
Maurkice Pouncey is a one nasty piece of work. He plays center like a defense player, attacking the line of scrimmage and the player he faces. This is one of the most impressive rookie offensive lineman I have seen in quite some time.
Jeff Saturday of the Colts continues to be a maestro at the line of scrimmage and big security blanket for Peyton Manning.
Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens almost made the cut as did Nick Mangold of the New York Jets.
G: Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints
G: Ben Grubbs, Baltimore Ravens
G: Adam Goldberg, St. Louis Rams
G: Jahari Evans, New Orleans Saints
Jahari Evans gets all the press and tends to be everybody’s pick as one of the best guards in the league, but I think Carl Nicks is outstanding and one of the most impressive performers at guard, particularly since he often has to help Jermond Bushrod, the left tackle.
Ben Grubbs has had an excellent season for the Baltimore Ravens, and along with center Matt Birk, is the reason the Ravens running game is successful up the middle.
I’ve only seen the Rams play a few times but one player that certainly stood out to me is the guard Adam Goldberg.
Jahari Evans of the Saints, along with Carl Nicks and center Jonathan Goodwin make up one of the best offense lines in the league. They struggled a bit against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, but who doesn’t?
T: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
T: Jake Long, Miami Dolphins
T: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
T: Damien Woody, New York Jets
I have seen Joe Thomas struggle a little this year but he tends to be a very consistent and solid performer at the left tackle position and he faces two of the toughest defenses in the league twice a year in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Jake Long, while I think he is overrated, has also become a very consistent performer at the most critical of positions on the field at left tackle.
It’s interesting how the unsung players often are better than the ones that get all the press. Marshal Yanda took over at right tackle for the injured Jarred Gaither and had done a fabulous job opposite Michael Oher on the left hand side. I can’t image that Gaither will get his job back once healthy.
Finally, Damien Woody of the New York Jets makes the team. There is a reason that LaDanian Tomlinson looks young again, and Woody and the rest of the offensive line are part of the reason.
K: Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars
K: Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins
Josh Scobee’s 59 yards field goal with no time left to beat the Indianapolis Colts is enough to get him on this list.
Dan Carpenter of the Miami Dolphins has been very consistent and can hit long ones.
Kick Returner: Brandon Tate, New England Patriots
Brandon Tate has made a huge difference in the return game for the Patriots and has great breakaway speed. He’s always a threat to bust the long one.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Arian Foster of the Texans probably deserves the award but I have to go with Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE: Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers (Rookie)
Pouncey is one of the best rookie offensive linemen I have ever seen.