ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 27: Chris Long #91 of the St. Louis Rams rushes the quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome on November 27, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Rams 23-20. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Glory be, the 2013 Pro Bowl is saved. Back from the brink of extinction after an April report that said the league was considering suspending the annual event and but of many jokes. The St. Louis Rams had nobody representing them in the last Pro Bowl. Will that change in the next one?
Steven Jackson was the last player to rep the Rams in the Pro Bowl getting alternate bids in 2010, 2009 and way back in 2006. Torry Holt and Marc Bulger (remember when he was good?) made it in 2006 as well. Teams that win at the same pace as the Rams have in recent years don't typically have Pro Bowl representatives, unless one of the players has done something outstanding, a la Jared Allen and his league-best 22 sacks last season with the hapless Vikings.
Fair or not, success begets Pro Bowl nominations, which is why the Rams might have a better shot at representation in Hawaii this year.
Interestingly enough, during Jeff Fisher's 17-year tenure as head coach of the Oilers/Titans, his teams had at least one player in the Pro Bowl every year except for one, 2004. Fisher's teams had a defensive player in the Pro Bowl every season except for three.
Here are my favorites to represent the Rams at the Pro Bowl, followed by a list of underdogs.
- Chris Long - This is the easiest one. If the Rams had won more games last season, his outstanding play might have received more notice.
- Cortland Finnegan - Defensive backs usually get Pro Bowl votes for interceptions. Finnegan made the first-team in 2008, a year he had five INTs. Better play in the secondary could help him get some looks, especially as the man most likely to breath new life into the unit.
- James Laurinaitis - A better defense around JL, particularly an improved front four, could mean that this is the year he puts it all together and gets lumped in with the elite at his position.
- Scott Wells - The Rams' new center made it as an alternate in 2012. Could he do it again in a Rams uniform?
- Harvey Dahl - Again, another player that could really thrive with better play from those around him.
- Danny Amendola - Short gains on his mass of catches in 2010 probably torpedoed his chances. He returns this season, and if the Rams offense can open up the field a little more, he could be productive.
- Robert Quinn - Chris Long is going to get plenty of extra attention from blockers this year. Can Quinn pick up his sack totals?
- Kendall Langford - 4-3 defensive tackles face a lot of bias when it comes to awards and honors. None of the interior linemen for the NFC on last year's Pro Bowl roster came from a four-man front. Nevertheless, Fisher's teams have an affinity for pocket crashing defensive tackles. If Langford can make things happen, he could get notice.
- Sam Bradford - Dare I put his name on this list, even as an underdog?