Thursday, January 28, 2010
From Nate Davis' "Joe Flacco an overachieving headliner on '09 All-Joe Team"
January 27, 2010
THE 2009 ALL-JOE TEAM
QB: Joe Flacco, Ravens— Who more appropriate to lead the All-Joe team than Joe Cool? The sophomore continued to blossom in the passing game while taking a greater role in leading Baltimore back to the postseason. Alex Smith, 49ers— The former No. 1 pick waited for a chance to revive his career then did just that after becoming a starter in November. Matt Moore, Panthers— Every team needs a good emergency quarterback, so why not pick a guy who won four of his five starts after replacing Jake Delhomme and outdueled Brett Favre and Eli Manning along the way.
RB: Cedric Benson, Bengals— A consummate hard hat guy, he led the NFL with 23.2 carries per game and rushed for a career-best 1,251 yards in just 13 games for the AFC North champs. Fred Jackson, Bills— Did you know his 2,516 all-purpose yards were the fourth-most ever? Did you know he became the first player to rush for 1,000 yards and have 1,000 kickoff return yards in the same season? Quite a year for undrafted former Division III standout. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers— Pro Bowler DeAngelo Williams' backup only started three games, but led Carolina with 1,133 yards on the ground despite battling foot and Achilles' problems. Stewart and Williams became the first teammates to both rush for 1,100 yards in the same season.
FB: Ahmard Hall, Titans— When you have a hard-nosed former Marine as your point man, as Chris Johnson did this year, it becomes a little easier to rack up 2,000 yards.
WR: Santonio Holmes, Steelers— Followed up his Super Bowl stardom with his first 1,000-yard season. Sixty-three of his 79 grabs produced first downs. Greg Jennings, Packers— With 16.4 yards per catch, this emerging talent makes the most of his opportunities. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets— Given his reliability on third down and ferocious downfield blocking, he could be the next Hines Ward. Jason Avant, Eagles— Fearlessly plies his trade over the middle. But he can also step in seamlessly as a starter as he proved in San Diego (8 catches, 156 yards).
TE: Zach Miller, Raiders— Despite Oakland's passing game, he's averaged 61 catches and nearly 800 yards the past two years. He also blows people up as a blocker. Brent Celek, Eagles— He stepped up as one of the weapons Donovan McNabb needed, falling 29 receiving yards shy of 1,000 while catching a team-high 76 passes.
T: Michael Oher, Ravens— All-Joe guys generally don't translate to the silver screen, but Oher lived up to his first-round billing and storybook background, shining at both tackle positions. Mark Tauscher, Packers— Fought back after shredding his knee at the end of the 2008 season. Once he got back on the field, QB Aaron Rodgers was sacked only 15 times in eight games. He went down 35 times before that. Winston Justice, Eagles— The 2006 second-rounder seemed to be a bust. But he stepped in for injured Shawn Andrews and started all 16 games at right tackle.
G: Brandon Moore, Jets— The Jets cut him in the offseason then decided they couldn't do without him. He justified that decision as a linchpin of the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack. Jake Scott, Titans— Another of Chris Johnson's favorites. Nate Garner, Dolphins— Gotta like any guy who can play tackle, guard, center and even tight end.
C: Jason Brown, Rams—Steven Jackson doesn't lead the NFC in rushing without this guy. Alex Mack, Browns— A major reason the Browns finished eighth in rushing offense.
K: Ryan Longwell, Vikings— Somehow, one of the game's finest kickers has never received Pro Bowl recognition. We'll take anyone who goes 26-for-28 on field-goal tries.
KR: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals— Rookie averaged 24.2 yards a pop while serving as a willing tackler on coverage teams.
LS: Jason Kyle, Saints— On target for the biggest snap of the season in overtime of the NFC Championship Game. Good enough for us.