What were they thinking?

5739.jpg


It is one of the most senseless Pro-Bowl snubs I have ever witnessed. The whole process has been tainted. No John Henderson? No credibility.

There were, without question, two players on the Jaguars deserving of a spot on this season's AFC Pro-Bowl roster. Rashean Mathis made it. Henderson, for reasons that could never be explained or justified, did not.

Simply put, Henderson played the best defensive tackle I have seen since I covered Joe Greene in the 1970's. I'm not going to tell you Henderson is Greene, but he's not far off.

"Big John has been unbelievable this year. I think last year was excellent, as well. Maybe he didn't get the notoriety that I think he is starting to get this year, but he has been a real force for us in the middle. I think the other thing that's happened was that Marcus (Stroud) was out for five weeks and John has taken on a little bit of a leadership role in terms of not just taking care of himself but getting guys around him," Jack Del Rio said.

"I've talked to him constantly about the way Joe Greene took charge of that team in Pittsburgh. I spent a lot of time talking with Tony Dungy about what made that team so special in Pittsburgh and he went on to talk about Joe Greene. I think John Henderson is that type of man: big, strong and when he says something, guys listen," Del Rio added.

Del Rio made those comments in this past Sunday's postgame interview. The voting was already complete. It had already been decided. Henderson would be snubbed.

Henderson is nothing like Greene because "Mean Joe" was never snubbed. "Mean Joe" was the best defensive tackle in the game, by far, and everyone knew it. I can also tell you that when Greene, now a scout for the Steelers, evaluated the defensive line crop for the 2002 draft, he considered Henderson to be the top prospect.

"I don't think there's any doubt, by anybody who studies and watches, that he's the best defensive tackle in the NFL," Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith said when informed on Tuesday that Henderson had not been selected to the AFC Pro-Bowl squad.

Greene was selected to the Pro Bowl 10 times. Henderson made it in 2004 as an alternate. It is the only trip of his five-year career. What a disgrace.

Henderson dominates the line of scrimmage as Greene did, though in a much different way. Greene was the classic defensive tackle. He came off the ball low and with a power and quickness the game had never previously seen. Henderson plays high and is not especially quick or fast, but he dominates with the sheer force of his massive body. Henderson blocks the ground and the sky.

Greene was a student of the game. He was a deep-thinker who loved to wax philosophical. Henderson, in a much simpler way, has started to speak volumes. He's become a player reporters seek for perspective.

By nature of their intimidating physical statures, Greene and Henderson are naturally men of great presence. "Mean Joe" had an explosive side to him that remains legendary. He could threaten you with his eyes. Henderson threatens you with his silence.

They are very different men with very different styles of play, but they share this: They each performed for my eyes and my eyes know a Pro-Bowl player when they see one and Henderson should be one. What he did for the Jaguars this season when Marcus Stroud was out of the lineup can not be minimized.

"When Marcus went down, he was always the guy getting all of the attention. He played extremely well in that five-game stretch," Smith said.

I'll forgive the fan portion of the voting process. It's a failed system that is the price we have to pay for marketing. I won't, however, forgive the players and coaches. Any team that has played against the Jaguars has to know Henderson is the best defensive tackle they've faced.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising