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ESPN:PFW:2005 Midseason All-Pro team


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I searched for this but didn't seem to find anything on this, so I'm sorry if this is old news (which it could be seeing that it's a few days old). but some folks may not have seen it since it was insider material.



Tuesday, November 8, 2005

2005 Midseason All-Pro team


By Jeff Reynolds

Pro Football Weekly

Bengal quarterbacking. Pro Football Weekly's 2005 Midseason All-Pro team? That's right. And there are plenty of other new faces anointed as the best at their respective positions -- as Bengals QB Carson Palmer was -- after input from scouts and a vote by PFW's editors. Only two offensive players, one defensive player and two specialists are back from 2004's team.


QB: Carson Palmer -- Cincinnati Bengals

Palmer has a legitimate chance to approach the single-season NFL record for completion percentage (Bengals QB Ken Anderson, 70.55 percent in 1982) and is surrounded with the weaponry to mount other gaudy numbers. Very poised for a player with just 22 career starts, the MVP candidate has helped the first-place Bengals to make playoff talk more than a punch line at Paul Brown Stadium.

RB: Edgerrin James -- Indianapolis Colts

For everyone who wanted James to earn the $9.1 million he could take home for 2005, his first-half effort has more than filled the bill. A unanimous pick who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage for much of the season to date, James stole the show from QB Peyton Manning and the fast-paced Colts offense. James is on pace to set career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns, just in time to hit the open market -- maybe -- in March.

RB: LaDainian Tomlinson -- San Diego Chargers

Like James a unanimous pick, Tomlinson continues to prove worthy of the praise that he's the most complete back around, running, catching and throwing, and averaging almost two touchdowns per game through nine games.

WR: Steve Smith -- Carolina Panthers

Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden called Smith the most complete receiver he has seen this season. Smith returned from a leg injury suffered in the 2004 opener to become an MVP candidate this year, quite an impressive feat for a player whose game is predicated on speed, quick cuts and making plays after the catch.

WR: Chad Johnson -- Cincinnati Bengals

Johnson edged Eagles WR Terrell Owens, and -- like T.O.'s -- Johnson's "Look at me" antics receive a lot of attention. Johnson strives to be the best receiver in football and puts in the time the other six days of the week to star on Sundays. He has a great rapport with Palmer. Johnson will drop a few and has lapses in concentration, but his speed and athleticism render single-coverage worthless.

Antonio Gates has cemented himself as the league's premier tight end.

TE: Antonio Gates -- San Diego Chargers

The newly minted Gates can handle playing second fiddle sometimes to Tomlinson. But he won't have to stand for being the No. 2 tight end in the NFL any longer, in our opinion. Gates, our Midseason All-Pro at the TE position last year, destroyed his competition in the first half.

C: Tom Nalen -- Denver Broncos

The pivot for Denver's roundhouse-wielding running game (5.3 yards per carry, 170.8 per game), Nalen continues to be a vital part of the Broncos' cutback system. Some scouts think Nalen is having the best year of his career, in this his 12th season, despite some recent penalty problems.

OG: Steve Hutchinson -- Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander wants more cash? Some backs would pay to run behind Hutchinson and teammate Walter Jones (see below), who form the best left side in football, bar none. A lesser athlete than some 300-pound guards, Hutchinson makes up for it by being as tough as they come and working as if his paycheck depends on it.

OG: Alan Faneca -- Pittsburgh Steelers

A road grader and locker-room leader for the run-first Steelers, Faneca continues to do a gold-standard job at left guard. Faneca, another '04 honoree, has held his own against the most talented interior linemen in the game, and he buries most linebackers at the point of attack. With OLT Marvel Smith improving, the Steelers almost always run behind their power pair on the left side, which made breaking in Willie Parker less of a strain.

OT: Walter Jones -- Seattle Seahawks

Nobody, especially the big men in the game, enjoys training camp. But Jones, who ended a three-year contract dispute with a new deal and made it to his first training camp since 2002 this past summer, might be proving the extra contact is worth the headache. An amazing athlete for his size, Jones is entrusted with the principal responsibility on the Seahawks' signature sweep play.

OT: Jordan Gross -- Carolina Panthers

Moved from the left side to right tackle to fill the Panthers' need for a powerful run-blocker on the edge, Gross returns to the position he manned during Carolina's Super Bowl run in 2003. The results have been tremendous, as Gross went the first seven games without allowing a sack and had only one penalty.


DE: Dwight Freeney -- Indianapolis Colts

Freeney closed with authority last season -- nine sacks in December -- and picked up where he left off in spite of a lingering shoulder injury. Freeney's speed, explosiveness and underrated power create opportunities not only for himself but for the other playmakers around him because of all of the attention he gets.

DE: Michael Strahan -- New York Giants

Perhaps a leading candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year award for his play in returning from a torn pectoral muscle, Strahan dropped 20 pounds to sustain his career and gain speed in Tim Lewis' defense. Strahan apparently is on the right track: He's averaging almost one sack per game despite regular double-team attention.

DT: Rod Coleman -- Atlanta Falcons

The one player on the Atlanta defense whom opponents bother to scheme against, Coleman continues to prove his worth. After notching a career-high 11 1/2 sacks in 2004, Coleman, undersized but superquick, should easily exceed that number this season. It's difficult to pay too much attention to Coleman. The Falcons' defensive ends, especially Patrick Kerney, can do almost as much damage if you forget about them.

DT: Casey Hampton -- Pittsburgh Steelers

A horse in the middle of the Steelers' vaunted 3-4 defense, Hampton has recovered from a serious knee injury a year ago to regain his Pro Bowl form. The perception is that Pittsburgh's most prized defensive personnel is considered the LB corps, but even the Joey Porters and James Farriors of the world know better. A big part of why the Steelers' run defense rates as one of the NFL's best, Hampton dominates most centers and can beat tandem blocks.

OLB: Cato June -- Indianapolis Colts

A converted safety and former sixth-round pick, June is morphing into an all-star at the WLB position for the Colts. June is a natural playing the Derrick Brooks role in Dungy's cover-2. Five interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, and 7.2 tackles per game (heading into the Week 9 Monday-nighter) is fine work for a player who had to fight for his job in training camp.

OLB: Marcus Washington -- Washington Redskins

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' purest pass-rusher, according to the coach, Washington has quite a résumé tape for himself. He shut down Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez and is perfectly suited for a role with as much responsibility as any in the Redskins' defense. Washington regularly plays over the tight end, but among his responsibilities are reading the direction of the play and making a snap-time decision whether to blitz, drop, or jam the tight end and hold contain.

Brian Urlacher is once again the leader of Chicago's talented defense.

MLB: Brian Urlacher -- Chicago Bears

The Bears felt Urlacher could be one of the more dominant players at his position this year, even though he missed seven games in 2004. Finally healthy and surrounded by more skill (WLB Lance Briggs and DLE Adewale Ogunleye have impressed), Urlacher has exploded. He was born to roam in the defense head coach Lovie Smith and coordinator Ron Rivera built around him.

CB: Ken Lucas -- Carolina Panthers

One scout told PFW Lucas played nearly perfectly in one game this season. Although he's well short of his own prediction of 10 interceptions in 2005, a large part of that is because teams prefer to attack second-year CB Chris Gamble on the other side. In addition, Lucas plays the run effectively.

CB: Shawn Springs -- Washington Redskins

Springs did miss some time and has been slowed by shin and hamstring injuries. However, he has exhibited a level of toughness most doubted he had after he flamed out in Seattle. Springs -- the lone defensive returnee from 2004 -- covers like a blanket and rarely gets tested. When he does, he has been up to the task, playing in a man-heavy coverage scheme.

S: Troy Polamalu -- Pittsburgh Steelers

Used mostly as a fifth linebacker in the Steelers' attacking defense, Polamalu is a blitzing dynamo with good speed and a knack for finding the ball. He's also smaller than most running backs, but he held his own against Gates, our pick for top tight end, and had three sacks against Houston.

S: Mike Brown -- Chicago Bears

Brown's game makes him best-suited to serve as a box safety, so the Bears decided the heady heavy hitter would play more of a SS role this year after mostly serving as a free safety. Having rehabbed like a man possessed from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in September 2004, Brown responded emphatically with a stellar performance in the first half of the year.


PK: Neil Rackers -- Arizona Cardinals

Of his first 26 field-goal tries -- all of which were good -- half were from 40 yards or more. Another 2004 honoree, Rackers has a range that begins at the opponents' 40-yard line, and everything short of that is money in the bank. If the Cardinals' offense continues to stall short of the end zone, Rackers easily could erase Mike Vanderjagt's mark of 39 consecutive field goals in a season.

P: Mitch Berger -- New Orleans Saints

Well under half of Berger's punts have been returned this season, and he's making the Saints' coverage groups look better than they really are by limiting opponents to 2.3 return yards per punt (39 punts, 91 return yards). The Saints have struggled on both sides of the ball this season, making special teams contributions that much more critical.

KR: Terrence McGee -- Buffalo Bills

McGee is getting used to this midseason thing after holding down this very spot a year ago. This season, he's averaging an impressive 32.0 yards per return. McGee also happens to be playing the CB position at a very high level. A 2003 fourth-round pick making a name for himself, McGee represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl in 2004 and recently signed a contract extension to remain with the Bills.

PR: Wes Welker -- Miami Dolphins

Certainly a very good return man among an average lot, Welker has the size of a place-kicker but is dangerous with the ball in his hands. An undrafted free agent last season, Welker holds only a limited role on offense but is sure-handed and reliable enough to become a mainstay as Nick Saban's return ace.

Head coach: Tony Dungy -- Indianapolis Colts

A quiet leader, Dungy could be going home to Detroit for Super Bowl XL. With apologies to the 1999 and 2000 Buccaneers, there is an argument to be made that the 2005 Colts are the best team ever coached by Dungy. Dungy's fingerprints are all over a defense playing with great energy and effort -- and it doesn't hurt that the group has far more talent and experience than in years past.

Material from Pro Football Weekly.

Visit the PFW Web site at http://www.profootballweekly.com

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Moss should be on that list

I think that Smith and Johnson are good choices. Moss has been great for us, but aside from two huge games (Dallas & KC) he hasn't been quite as good as those two WRs. Just remember, it's only the half way point of the season. Here's hoping that there is much more to come from Mr. Moss. :cheers:

It's great to see Springs up there at CB. I feel he really got jipped out of the Pro Bowl last year. He is a shut down corner in every sense of the term; the best we've had since Darrell Green.

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MW and Springs...we cant complain...to have two players on their is nice.

Moss is a canidate...but to only be able to choose 2 for the whole league....I would say Moss is a top 5 WR.

Springs has really done MUCH better than what I ever imagined he'd do in a Burgundy & Gold uniform. He has become one of the best DB's in the league hands down. He is very consistent and if he stays healthy should be a lock to make the probowl.

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Moss should be on the list. It is not just his yardage but how he has gotten it. He is leading the league in the big play. That is what a big time WR is for. Add to that the fact that he is a real team professional without all the diva baggage you get with Johnson. I am tired of divas. Really tired.

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If we are going to go strictly by stats, Moss is doing better than Chad Johnson in more receiving categories. If we aren't going by numbers I think that Moss has a greater affect on games than Johnson does. I think Steve Smith and Moss are 1 and 1a......

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I cant really argue with Santana being left out. If it were based purely on numbers he would be there, but given that Springs and Washington made the team, its obviously not based entirely statistics. Its hard to argue anyone over CJ and Smith as great as Santana is.

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