It was assumed before today that the Rams would actually have at least one if not more players representing them in the Pro Bowl. That became official tonight at 8PM CT on NFL Network when it was announced that Rams defensive end Robert Quinn and punter Johnny Hekker were named to the pro bowl.
Quinn becomes the first Rams defender to make it since cornerback Aeneas Williams and defensive end Leonard Little in 2003. Hekker becomes the first Rams punter to go since Dale Hatcher in 1985 and the first specialist since K Jeff Wilkins in 2003.
The Rams went last season without a pro bowler even though many were deserving. With the team’s recent success, players have gotten more and more recognition which shows at this time of year during pro bowl voting which has more recently became what seems like a popularity contest.
Robert Quinn, who is also in the running for defensive player of the year and the annual Deacon Jones award, is the highest rated 4-3 defensive end on Pro Football focus and leads 4-3 defensive ends in sacks and QB hits and is also ranked second in QB hurries.
It was pretty certain Quinn was going to the Pro Bowl, but if he hadn’t been voted in, it might have been one of the biggest snubs in Pro Bowl history.
Johnny Hekker on the other hand, was a nail biter. It took some serious campaigning, but Hekker got in, and rightfully so.
Hekker is the second highest rated punter on pro football focus and is has the most net yards among punters. Hekker also has respectable stats in punt yards, average punt yards, is tied for the longest hang time, percentage of punts returned, as well as others.
For two young players like Quinn and Hekker to be going to the pro bowl, it really shows how talented this team is and how bright the future really is.
Now time for biggest snubs. The Rams don’t have anybody that jump out in terms of stats or ratings, but its the plays and their abilities that they make that aren’t accounted for that make these players special.
Rodger Saffold deserved to go to the Pro Bowl in my opinion. Saffold is an incredible athlete, and when Saffold took over at guard, you could just see the difference in the run game. He can play guard he can play tackle, heck he could probably play center if you put him there.
I believe Saffold deserved to go more than Iupati. Iupati is a good offensive lineman as well, but if you compare the stats and the impact these two players have on their teams, I would put Saffold over Iupati.
Even though Jake Long got hurt, he did deserve a spot. Long was playing at a pro bowl level and really took this offensive line to the next level. Without Long there is no way the Rams have seven wins this season, he has been key in run blocking and done a fine job in pass protection. Hopefully he can come back healthy next season and play at the same level.
As usual it’s always a shame to see a guy like James Laurinaitis not get in. Did he deserve to go this year? Probably not, but the amount of work that he puts in, and the impact that he makes on this defense, certainly gives him a spot in my book.
Be happy Rams fans, there will actually be a reason to watch the pro bowl this year. Robert Quinn and Johnny Hekker will be going to Hawaii, and remember just because they are in the same conference doesn’t necessarily mean they will be on the same team.
Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will “draft” players for their team on January 22nd at 8PM ET on NFL Network and the Pro Bowl will be held on January 26th.
To finish things off we have to of course congratulate Robert Quinn and Johnny Hekker for putting the St. Louis Rams on the map and being selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl.
Tags: St. Louis Rams