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Aloha Bills: The Studs and Snubs

First things first, congratulations are in order for Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jairus Byrd. Each of these guys put together a solid season (Byrd did so with shortened time) and stood up with the best of their position to make it to the Pro-Bowl. Then there were the snubs…

For once the fans around the league got the voting right… and then, the NFL screws it up for a few deserving guys! For the longest time, Bills fans have seen their players passed over, but this year, especially on defense, we have talent! Players like rookie Kiko Alonso, Aaron Williams (who may have made it save for being placed on IR today), and especially Marcell Dareus got passed over.

With this post we shall look at our studs – the guys that made it to the Pro-Bowl and how they stacked up with the best. Then we shall look at the snubs; we shall see how they stacked up in the NFL and how they got passed over for others (to put it politely). Note I am borrowing some material from an earlier article I wrote, but only because the information within is still relevant.

THE STUDS!

DT Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams has been the best player for the Bills in the last several years. A former 5th rounder from LSU due to his shorter size, Kyle is explosive and can be seen blowing his way in the backfield a dozen times per game which in turned earned him Pro-Bowl nods in 2010 and 2012 (He was on the IR in 2011). Kyle Williams was tied for the most sacks among DTs in the league with 10.5 sacks and had 65 tackles (3rd among DTs), several of these occurring behind the line. Though undersized, his penetration skill is phenomenal and there should be no doubt why Kyle Williams is going to Hawaii.

DE Mario Williams

Mario started off the year with a bang with double digit sacks. While his production tapered off in the second half, that has been the result of more double teams which has allowed others to get sacks instead. Mario was the 1st overall pick from N.C. State in 2006 to the Texans where he had mixed success and two Pro-Bowls. Mario has gotten flack for not living up to his $100 million deal, but it’s been a while since the Bills has had a player with double digit sacks 2 years in a row. Mario Williams is third in the league with 13 sacks, has deflected 4 passes and 34 tackles. Mario was also a great choice for the Pro-Bowl.

FS Jairus Byrd

Byrd’s selection may be a bit surprising given that he missed the first five games due to plantar fasciitis. Still it’s undeniable that he has been one of the better safeties in the NFL for the past few years and he has gone to 2 Pro-Bowls (2009 and 2012) as well. The former second rounder from Oregon in 10 games has amassed 45 tackles, 4 picks (tied 3rd among safeties) and 6 passes broken-up. Byrd has good awareness on the field, but was likely helped to a third trip due to weak competition from other free safeties.

THE SNUBS!

DT Marcell Dareus

Dareus is a beast of a player and has some of the highest potential on the Bills roster. For the life of me I cannot figure out how Dareus got passed over! I am LIVID! The former third overall pick of the 2011 draft, Dareus has finally elevated his game from good to groundbreaking with his solid play on the line. Dareus LEADS DTs with 67 tackles, many of those for losses, has 7.5 sacks (5th among DTs and 3 passes broken-up. Dareus’s size and speed allow him to line up anywhere on the D-Line.

Seriously how did Dareus get snubbed! He led all DTs in fan voting so that wasn’t the problem. Dareus had to share some stats with Kyle Williams, but still the two of them dominated other players in their position. The other DTs that made the Pro-Bowl include Gerald McCoy (Bucs), Haloti Ngata (Ravens), Dontari Poe (Chiefs), Justin Smith (49ers) and Ndamukong Suh (Lions). Obviously these guys have talent, but they don’t stack up to Dareus so let’s draw up their stats to compare.

PLAYER

TEAM

SOLO

ASSISTS

TACKLES

SACKS

Marcell Dareus

BUF

45

22

67

7.5

Dontari Poe

KAN

43

8

51

4.5

Justin Smith

SFO

32

17

49

6.5

Gerald McCoy

TAM

34

14

48

9.0

Ndamukong Suh

DET

34

12

46

5.5

Haloti Ngata

BAL

18

27

45

1.5

Dareus clearly has his competition beat in solo tackles and total tackles and only fell second to McCoy in sacks 9.0 to 7.5. McCoy was one of the few stars of the Bucs "D" who does stack up well with Dareus. Poe is unique as he is a true nose tackle, a position that usually does not stack up stats that well, but he was good this year.

The fact is the NFL likes to stick with the guys that have been to the Pro-Bowl before; Ngata is a Dareus-type player who has made the Pro-Bowl consecutively since 2009, BUT statistically he pales in comparison to Dareus’s phenomenal year. And Suh, also a talented guy who finally has been behaving this year, with three Pro-Bowls under his belt, does NOT stack up there with the likes of Dareus. Oh, and then there’s Justin Smith a 3-4 Defensive End (NOT Tackle) who was ok with stats, but having 5 consecutive Pro-Bowls under his belt kind of has me thinking of a fix. QUIT PLAYING FAVORITES NFL and let really deserving players like Dareus play in the Pro-Bowl!!

LB Kiko Alonso

A rookie with room to grow, Kiko has been outstanding, playing all defensive reps for the Bills at middle linebacker and being able to stop the run, defend the pass and blitz on occasion. While he sits now 4th overall in total tackles, that’s due to the defense shutting down Miami completely last Sunday, atop of picking up the scraps from a strong defensive middle. I don’t think there is a team out there with a linebacker producing as much with such a dynamic duo in front of him. Kiko currently has 145 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 5 passes broken-up and 4 picks (tied 3rd among linebackers), and here how he stacks up with the Pro-Bowl ILBs.

PLAYER

TEAM

SOLO

ASSISTS

TACKLES

SACKS

INTS

PDS

Kiko Alonso

BUF

81

64

145

2.0

4

5

Vontaze Burfict

CIN

105

52

157

3.0

1

8

Luke Kuechly

CAR

88

58

146

2.0

4

7

NaVorro Bowman

SFO

111

24

135

4.0

1

8

Patrick Willis

SFO

78

20

98

3.0

0

1

Remember how Burfict killed his draft stock a few years back (and I thought the Bills should have risked a seventh round pick on him…). Yeah that’s him leading the pack. Kuechly, also a second year vet has been solid as well. NaVorro Bowman made the Pro-Bowl last year and definitely stacks up there with the best.

BUT Patrick Willis… I know that Bowman takes away a lot of your tackles and the two of you are a great tandem, but seriously… statistically it was average. Willis got in as a safety valve having made the Pro-Bowl every year since 2007! It’s like the Rueben Brown (a good guard but overly penalized) made it to Hawaii every year because the NFL HAS NO IMAGINATION! Kiko bested Willis in every category save for 1 additional sack (and those come in spades with the Bills)! Kiko, like Dareus, got slighted although rarely do rookies (more impressive if you ask me) make it to the Pro-Bowl.

SS Aaron Williams

Williams struggled as a corner in his first two years with the Bills, but the former 34th pick has really blossomed at strong safety with the ability to kick out to corner this year. Aaron’s instincts have been better as a safety as well. This year, Williams has made 82 tackles, 4 picks (tied 3rd among safeties including Jim Leonhard and Byrd), 1 FF and 11 passes defended (tied 2nd). Aaron Williams does not seem too happy based by his tweets, but I feel that some of his teammates (like me) got slighted.

Why Aaron got snubbed comes down to two factors. First is the fact that players on the IR, no matter how good you may be, do not get selected… I suppose that since he got placed on the IR after voting ended, there could’ve been a chance, but the coaches/league probably adjusted for his injury. The other is that Polamalu factor; Troy Polamalu has made the Pro-Bowl in all but two years thanks to good stats and instincts. As long as Polamalu is healthy, it’ll be a long road to the Pro-Bowl.

Polamalu made 65 tackles (17 less than Williams), 2 picks (2 less than Williams) and 11 passes broken up (even). Eric Berry of the Chiefs (seriously KC is so overrated) meanwhile had 74 tackles (8 less), 3 picks – 2 pick sixes though and 10 passes defended (1 less). The "weakest" of the selections though was Seattle’s Kam Chancellor who had 90 tackles (8 more), but had 3 picks (1 less) and 6 passes defended (5 less).

RECAP

Other potential snubs included CB Leodis McKelvin, K Dan Carpenter, OT Cordy Glenn, RB Fred Jackson, C Eric Wood and ST Marcus Easley. With these guys it’s a little clearer that they faced solid competition. Again, congrats are in order to Kyle Williams, Mario Williams and Jairus Byrd, for their great efforts leading up to the Pro-Bowl. Again, I feel the NFL made a huge mistake in forgoing FAN FAVORITE and STATISTICALLY DOMINANT players in Marcell Dareus and Kiko Alonso for lesser players this year. Obviously a better record will give the NFL more reasons to look at our players so here’s hoping for a better season next time for guys!

Go Bills!

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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