By "most average season statistically", I refer, of course, to Schobel's 6.5 sacks this past season - a number he has not dipped to since he registered 6.5 in his rookie season. Despite losing 50% of his 2006 production in that area (14 sacks in a Pro Bowl '06 campaign), Schobel appears to have earned a Pro Bowl berth based on his reputation as a hard-working pass rusher, and a playmaker.
Despite that reputation, however, Schobel has routinely drawn the ire of Bills fans - especially from this community - for this lack of production despite signing a 7-year, $50 million contract extension before the season started. Whether or not you believe that Schobel is providing enough bang for his bucks, one thing is certain: he's still very much respected by his peers.
Here's what confuses me about Schobel's berth. From the team's release on the subject (linked above):
The defensive end still led the team in sacks (6.5) and also led Buffalo's defense in forced fumbles with six, as compiled by the coaching staff, which was also tied for second most in the league among defensive ends.
96 tackles? Really? What I'm wondering here is if that total was also compiled by the coaching staff, because according to the team's stats page, they're off by quite a bit - he's only listed as having 57 stops there. Is this just a clerical error, or am I reading the stats wrong? Any statistical gurus out there?
Nonetheless, with Jason Peters out of the Pro Bowl, it will be nice to see a Bill flying around in Hawaii. Now I may actually cover the event. Congratulations, Mr. Schobel - and may we suggest that you use your Hawaiian vacation to absorb some of the abilities of your statistically superior All-Star teammates.
Despite having a Pro Bowler on the unit, Connor Byrne writes - and I agree - that the Bills should make the D-Line a top priority this off-season. Which is ironic, because two highly-touted linemen (Detroit's Shaun Rogers and Green Bay's Corey Williams) are reportedly set to switch teams. Byrne also believes that re-signing Lee Evans should be a priority as well.
This is a couple of days old now - and once again, sireric beat me to the punch on this - but if you have doubts about whether or not Dick Jauron is serious about winning, he's aware this is a big year.
Programming note: we're about ready to wrap up our "State of the Roster" series with a quick overview of the special teams. I've also got a couple of discussions planned for this weekend that you won't want to miss; Monday is the big day to keep your browsers set. Monday morning I'll be laying out exactly what we'll be up to over the next few months leading up through the NFL Draft, going over everything you can count on seeing here. Stay tuned - and if you have any ideas/suggestions on topics of discussion, either let me know about them, or start 'em up yourself in the diaries!