Friday, December 12, 2008

Brown, Porter Earn NFL All-Pro Honors

MIAMI ( ― Miami Dolphins starting running back Ronnie Brown, and starting outside linebacker Joey Porter both earned Pro Bowl honors on Tuesday. Brown has been the key component in the Dolphins' now famed "Wildcat" offense, while Porter has notched 17 ½ sacks through the first 14 games of the season. But, arguably the most important player on the team, quarterback Chad Pennington, was snubbed.

Brown's 827 rushing yards ranks 7th in the AFC through week 15. He has also added 10 touchdowns to his resume, including running and throwing for touchdowns in a week 3 blowout of the defending AFC champions, the New England Patriots. He, with the help of running back Ricky Williams led the revival of the single wing offense, now called the "Wildcat."

Linebacker Joey Porter was coming off one of his worst seasons in 2007, but so were most other Dolphins' players. Since the beginning of the season, Porter has been wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines and shown a knack for making the big play. That big play ability was on display during last Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, where Porter recorded a sack near the end of the 4th quarter that helped seal the victory.

But, curiously, the Pro Bowl selections didn't include Pennington. The story of Pennington will become legendary if the Dolphins make the playoffs. He was cast aside by the New York Jets in favor of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Not to take anything away from Favre, who was named a Pro Bowl reserve almost based upon name alone, but he hasn't done as much to lift his team up from the bottom of the league as Pennington has.

Pennington has been a steady, veteran leader for the young Dolphins and has put up better numbers than Favre in many categories. Pennington has a 95.1 passer rating for the season and has thrown only 6 interceptions all season. The drop in interceptions has helped the Dolphins challenge history for the fewest turnovers in a season in NFL history.

The final word on Favre versus Pennington, assuming both win this week, will come in week 17 when the Jets take on the Dolphins, with a playoff spot likely on the line.

It must be noted, the fan voting only makes up 1/3 of the selection process, but it can still skew the final results. This is why you see players like Chris Samuels of the Redskins being named to the Pro Bowl, or Joe Thomas selected. Both players are stars at their position, but in the selection of Thomas, he vastly underperformed in his second year against quality competition, while Broncos' rookie Ryan Clady has allowed only ½ sack all season long.

What will be interesting is when it comes time to select the NFL's most valuable player. Many experts are pointing towards Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Petersen as being the odds on favorite. It's not hard to argue his case, he's leading the league in rushing and should finish just below 2,000 yards for the season. But, if the Dolphins win out against the Chiefs and the Jets, and clinch a playoff spot just one year after being the laughing stock of the NFL, don't be surprised if Pennington doesn't get quite a few votes for his leadership.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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