While there is no ‘real’ game of NFL football being played on Sunday, there is still the Pro Bowl. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Packers have a handful of players representing the Green & Gold in Arizona.
So let’s take a second to have a look into the reasons these players were selected.
Aaron Rodgers led all players in fan voting this year, and was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. On the field, Rodgers finished the season ranked 7th in passing yards (4,381), 2nd in passer rating (112.2), 3rd in touchdown passes (38) and first in interceptions thrown (5). He also has the possibility of receiving his second league MVP award. Due to his calf injury, however, Rodgers will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. He has been replaced by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton.
Josh Sitton was one of the main reasons that the Packers offensive line finished the season ranked 8th in the league in run blocking and 13th in pass protection. Because of Sitton’s presence on the line as a left guard, the Packers chose to run 36% of their running plays up the middle. Sitton was also only flagged once on the season for offensive holding. This is Sitton’s second Pro Bowl selection. He was chosen as an alternate last year.
John Kuhn led all fullbacks in fan voting for 2014, and is one of the main reasons that running back Eddie Lacy ran for over 1,100 yards on the season. While he doesn’t have any statistics that fly off the page (only one TD in 2014), Packer fans know how crucial he is to both the run game and passing game. I’m sure we all remember his key block on Julius Peppers in Week 17 of the 2013 season that led to the division-winning touchdown, right? This is Kuhn’s second Pro Bowl selection.
In his six years in the league, this will be Clay Matthews‘ fifth Pro Bowl selection. Obviously we’re not the only ones to notice his dominance game in and game out. Clay tallied a career high 61 total tackles this season to go along with 11 sacks, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one interception. The choice to move Clay to inside linebacker mid-year proved to be a smart move.
This may come as a surprise, but Jordy Nelson has finally been selected to only his first Pro Bowl this year. In 2014, Nelson caught 98 passes and finished 4th in the league in receiving yards (1,519) and tied for 2nd in touchdowns (13). In the last game of the season, Nelson also broke the Packers single-season receiving record which was set by Robert Brooks (1,497) in 1995. He also had seven 100-yard games on the season.
After missing a majority of the 2013 season with a broken leg, Randall Cobb returned to the field in 2014 with a fire we haven’t seen from him since he was drafted three years ago. On the season, Cobb caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, finishing 12th in the league in yardage and tied for 4th in touchdowns. (Pay that man!) In his first, three seasons combined, Cobb only had 13 touchdowns. Cobb was chosen as an alternate to replace Dallas WR Dez Bryany (injury). This is Cobb’s first Pro Bowl selection.
Cornerback Sam Shields is also finding himself in his first Pro Bowl after being chosen to replace Darrell Revis who is in the Super Bowl. Shields tallied 42 tackles, two interceptions and 13 passes defensed in 2014. He is the first Packers cornerback to be selected to the Pro Bowl since 2011 (Charles Woodson.) He was also a large part of the reason the Packers defense ranked 7th in opponent quarterback rating (82.0).
David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Eddie Lacy, Julius Peppers and Tramon Williams were also selected as Pro Bowl alternates, but will not be playing in Sunday’s game.