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View from the O-Zone: Time will come for A-Rob, others


JACKSONVILLE – No Jaguars players made the Pro Bowl when the 2016 selections were announced Tuesday. That's too bad – and in a lot of cases, not really right.

That Allen Robinson did not make the Pro Bowl …

Well, that's really, really not right – and for that, we say shame, shame, shame on the selection process. If any Jaguars player clearly deserved the honor this season, it was the second-year wide receiver.

A-Rob deserved to be going to Hawaii, and as a first alternate there's every chance he could still be going. But he should have been named Tuesday.



Without question.

It would be easy here to rail, rip and roar against the selection process. Robinson not only is clearly ascending into one of the NFL's elite receivers, he just as clearly reached that level – only to be left off out of the league's All-Star game. That's unfair – absolutely, positively, without question.

Still, it's the Christmas season; 'tis no time for railing, ripping or roaring.

Besides, the process isn't going to change. The NFL wants fans involved, so they're going to get a vote. The league also wants players and coaches voting, even though players and coaches don't always take the process as seriously as you would think would be the case, either.

The truth is there's no perfect system, although the belief here is a collection of media, scouts, coaches and personnel officials certainly would provide a more thought-out – and likely, a more representative – Pro Bowl.

But you know what? So what? The Pro Bowl is what it is, and we all kind of know what it is.

It's a game of reputation over merit; not always, but often.

Here's the reality: While Robinson didn't make the Pro Bowl this season, he has every appearance of a long-term good player. Here's what happens for long-term good players:

They tend to get their due.

Because it is a reputation game, players who are good for a long time to tend to miss the game a time or two early in their careers when they deserve it and make it a time or two at the end of their careers when another young player might deserve it a bit more.

It's not so much about Robinson playing in Jacksonville, or being in a small market – or even the Jaguars' struggles. I saw the same phenomenon happen in Indianapolis with players such as Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday and Robert Mathis – very good players on a high-profile team.

It's more a matter of a reputation taking a while to take hold, and a matter of people voting for players with whom they're more familiar.  Call it the Pro Bowl circle of life. Here's guessing A-Rob plays well enough long enough to make multiple Pro Bowls, and to get a few on the back end.

As for the rest of the Jaguars, there were a lot of woulda, coulda, shouldas Tuesday – just as there are more than a few players who could be joining Robinson in the Pro Bowl in the not-too-distant future.

A look at other Jaguars on Pro Bowl Tuesday:

*Paul Posluszny, linebacker.If the defense had a strength this season, it was run defense – and Posluszny plays the run as well as any middle linebacker in the league.

*Roy Miller, nose tackle.This is as a definite "shoulda." Miller played at a Pro Bowl level this season, and with the exception of two games – at Tampa Bay and Tennessee – the Jaguars' run defense was as good as any in the NFL. Poz was one reason. Miller was just as good, if not better. He should have made it.

*Telvin Smith, linebacker.This is another "shoulda." He's turning into one of the best young linebackers in the NFL – and played at a Pro Bowl level at times this season. He's not a sack guy and that often hurts at outside linebacker. Still, as the Jaguars get better, his profile will rise. He's too dynamic not to get recognized soon.

*Blake Bortles, quarterback. **It's not his time yet. If he cleans up the interceptions and continues to grow at the rate he's growing, that time will come. Soon.

*Allen Hurns, wide receiver.Receiver's a tough spot to make the Pro Bowl. Don't tell Hurns he can't, though – and don't be surprised he does eventually. He has a tendency to prove people wrong.

*Rashad Greene, wide receiver.He obviously wasn't close this season, but in five games since returning from an early-season thumb injury, he has shown signs of being a Pro Bowl punt returner. He's a playmaker.

*Brandon Linder, guard.His Pro Bowl chances obviously ended when he was placed on injured reserve with a torn labrum, but if he stays healthy, he has as much chance as any player on the Jaguars' roster of being a Pro Bowl-level player for a long, long time.

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