Just because a team is 1-7 doesn't mean it lacks Pro Bowl candidates. This Panther team has some young players worthy of your vote. Four of six players being endorsed of players I'm endorsing would be first time Pro Bowlers. I'll also tell you up front the list doesn't include some the recent Panther PBers. I can't say Steve Smith deserves to go nor can I endorse DeAngelo Williams. In both players cases you could argue both players were victims of poor play around them, its not a bad argument. But that argument it hardly gives credence for omitting another player with the production and a winning team. That's just the way it is and I'm okay with that. Both these guys will be tearing it up next year.
So below is my official Panther Pro Bowl endorsed candidates in which I ask for your vote, and I'm also talking to fans of other teams reading this. I've ranked them starting with the strongest candidate in my view:
LB James Anderson - Anderson is 5th in tackles in the NFL, 2nd in the NFC behind only Chad Greenway. He is also the 6th best LB in passes defensed (6) and has 2.5 sacks. Anderson has been a model of consistency this season averaging 9.5 tackles per game and has gone from reliable back-up to key starter. Anderson is making the plays on the field usually reserved for the WLB.
LB Jon Beason - I'm endorsing Beason at MLB since Dan Conner was kicking butt at MLB prior to his hip injury. Though Beason lacks the gaudy stats of prior seasons after switching positions we can expect a spike in his production going forward. Beason is the one endorsement based more on prior performance that 2010 stats. I have no doubt Beason will justify his inclusion should be garner your vote.
DT Derek Landri - 3rd in tackles in the NFC with 22 solo and 2.0 sacks on the Panthers 13th ranked run defense that is also 5th in points allowed. Landri has revitalized his career in Carolina after serving as a back-up his first 2.5 seasons in Jacksonville. Landri does a good job of getting penetrating and disrupting running plays.
SS Charles Godfrey - Godfrey is tied for 5th in the NFC with 4 INTs, tied for 12th in PDs with 6, 19th in tackles at 43. Since moving to SS this season Godfrey has become the player we thought Ron Meeks might mold him in to. Where in seasons past he would be happy to defend a ball he is now getting two hands on it. He also continues to play well in run support and isn't afriad of laying a big hit.
K John Kasay - Though he hasn't seen much work this season Kasay did boot a 55 yarder a couple weeks ago, the 3rd longest kick of his career at a youthful 41 years of age. He's hit 10 of 12 FGs and all 8 XPT (yes, only 8 opportunities in 8 games). Yet the real reaosn you want to John Kasay is this guy is clutch. When the game is on the line you can still send Kasay out with confidence.
P Jason Baker - NFL.com ranks Baker as the #5 punter overall. Though he not spectacular in any statistical category I'm endorsing Baker because he seems to always do exactly what is needed with the football. He's very consistent and has a strong leg.
Additional players left off this endorsement list are thre three veteran starters on the offensive line: LT Jordan Gross, LT Travelle Wharton and C Ryan Kalil. Prior to the season I considered all three as serious PB candidates but given the first half performance of this group none of them warrant consideration. This is one of the more perplexing realizations in the 2010 season.
Conversely, if not for his recent hip injury that landed LB Dan Conner on IR he would be on this list. Pro Football Focus had Conner its 3rd ranked MLB prior to his landing on IR (hip). I love to watch Conner make a tackle; he's one of those tough-nosed players that prefers to run through a tackle and then jam the opposing players helmet into the ground as he gets up.
So that's the six Panther players being endorsed for the 2011 Pro Bowl. Please go to this link to vote!