One of the highest honors an NFL player can receive for his performance during the year is selection to the Pro Bowl. This season, several Dolphins players are in contention and so we asked a couple of our experts to weigh in on which Fins they think should be Hawaii-bound the week before Super Bowl XLV…
Let’s start with the easiest choice: Cameron Wake. Wake is leading the league in sacks and has burst onto the scene in the AFC. “Mr Sack” is not only going to his first Pro Bowl, but should start. Wake may even garner some defensive player of the year votes…
Meanwhile, LT Jake Long is also in contention. Normally this would be the easiest choice. However, the offense has struggled so much this year and the running game has been nothing but average (4th in 2009, 19th in 2010). Toss in the fact that he has been playing the last few weeks with a really bad shoulder that will require operation. And finally, that Bears game where he personally gave up three sacks. I’m not so sure Jake is the lock that we all assumed he was going to be at the start of the season.
Then there is the case of the kicker, Dan Carpenter. He is 28 of 38 with an NFL long of 60. He makes 74% of all the field goals he attempts and has scored 112 point this season. He will face stiff competition from the Raiders Sebastian Janikowski (28/35 80% long of 54), who leads the AFC in scoring with 121 points. The raiders are still in the playoff hunt and Carpenter going 0-4 in the last game before the ballots were cast may have given the edge to Janikowski. I still believe Carpenter’s early season work gives him more than a fighting chance to return to the Pro Bowl.
The first thing you think about when you put Dolphins and Pro Bowl together in the 2010 season should be LB Cameron Wake. A league leading 14 sacks from the second year pro from Penn State has been a pleasant surprise for this defense. It was expected that Wake should be able to rush the passer, but to lead the league in sacks with two weeks remaining in the regular season has leaped over expectations! He has also been consistent against the run, ranking fourth on the Miami defense with 51 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. It’s shocking to see that Cameron is fourth in voting at the LB position and hopefully his vote total will rise because he deserves to be in Hawaii!
Jake Long has battled a left arm/shoulder injury most of the year, but his level of play I believe is deserving to make his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance this season. Long became the first Dolphins lineman to be selected to consecutive Pro Bowls since Richmond Webb was named to seven straight from 1990-96.
Dan Carpenter has been a key figure in the Dolphins offense all season long. Carpenter connected on all five of his attempts against Pittsburgh, and that was a single game high for his career. Dan matched that mark at Cincinnati the following week and that tied a Miami mark for most consecutive field goals over two games (Olindo Mare). Carpenter also hit a 60 yard field goal against Cleveland this season that tied for fifth longest in NFL History. Dan will be looking to bounce back from the Buffalo game, and I’m confident that he will finish strong.
1. Yeremiah Bell. He has started every game this season. Struggled early but got better every week to help this football team become one of the best in the league. A total of 92 tackles two forced fumbles. He has been there for his team as a player and a captain. Should be his second in a row. A starter this year.
2. Jake Long. With this guy on the field, your QB can always feel safe. He has stopped some of the best pass rushers in the league this year. Most of the big runs have come from running behind that left side that Long mans. Has been one of the most consistent left tackles since his rookie year. Should be a shoe-in.
3. Dan Carpenter. Yes, a kicker. This guy has been the most valuable offensive player on the Miami Dolphins football team. Every week Dan has kicked butt. Whether it was in overtime in Lambeau Field to pull out the victory in one of the toughest stadiums to win in, or anywhere else. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the week twice this year for his performances of kicking five field goals in two different games. He is a great weapon to have on your team. Send him across the water this year.
4. He needs no introduction. Where would the pass rush come from this season was the big question at the start of the season? Mr. Sack! Not only would he become the spark for this Miami Dolphins defense, but at this point of the year he leads the NFL in sacks. Cameron Wake has stepped up and became the standout of the new young talent of this football and this league. Mr. Sack, as our own Finsider Jesse Agler named him, has lived up to his name. Let’s hope to see him get in on his first try. Pro Bowl or not. I’m glad we have these guys and their talent in the aqua and orange.
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