Friday, December 28, 2012

Reggie Bush, Mike Pouncey among Dolphins' seven Pro Bowl alternates

It was a disappointing Wednesday in terms of individual Dolphins accolades, as defensive end Cameron Wake was Miami's only player voted to the AFC Pro Bowl roster in 2012.

Wake, who was certainly deserving of his selection after terrorizing opposing quarterbacks to the tune of 15 sacks this season, earned his second career trip to the Pro Bowl while others like punter Brandon Fields, safety Reshad Jones and Mike Pouncey were snubbed.

However, because many players selected end up dropping out of the game due to injury or their team's participation in the Super Bowl a week later, a number of Dolphins have a chance to be added to the AFC roster at a future date after being named alternates on Thursday.

Obvious snubs like Fields and Pouncey are among the Dolphins' seven Pro Bowl alternates. They are joined by running back Reggie Bush, wide receiver Brian Hartline, guard Richie Incognito and defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks.

Of the seven, only Soliai and Starks have ever earned previous Pro Bowl acknowledgement. Soliai is an alternate for the second straight season after earning his first nod in 2011, while Starks was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season.

It's safe to say most of these players are certainly worthy alternates. Fields won the fan vote this year and leads the AFC in gross average (50.3), while Pouncey has easily established himself one of the NFL's top centers.

Meanwhile, Bush is closing in on his second straight 1,000-yard season and Hartline reached the 1,000-yard plateau for the first time in his career in Week 15. I'd say just about the only guy I don't agree with being an alternate here is Incognito, who has graded out positively this season but overall has been far too inconsistent to be in the Pro Bowl discussion.

The most perplexing name missing from the Dolphins' alternates list is safety Reshad Jones, who had a strong argument for a starting spot and certainly out-performed selected strong safeties Eric Berry (Chiefs) and LaRon Landry (Jets) this season. For Jones to not even be on the alternates list is just laughable and downright wrong.

I'm also surprised to see no mention of rookie returner Marcus Thigpen, who is one of only three players in the NFL this season with touchdown returns on both a kickoff and a punt and ranks in the top three in the NFL in kickoff and punt return averages.