Larry Allen and Roy Williams were named to the Pro Bowl yesterday, making this the smallest Cowboys contingent since 2002, when Dexter Coakley was the sole Dallas representative.
The voting shows how the season has drifted. At midseason when Dallas was 5-3 Drew Bledsoe was the top rated QB in the NFC and Terry Glenn was among the conference leaders in yardage. Jason Witten was among the NFC tight end leaders. CBs Anthony Henry and Terence Newman had gotten off to strong starts.
The chances of going to Honolulu for all the offensive candidates ended when two-time defending Pro Bowl OT Flozell Adams tore his ACL. Adams' departure started a domino effect: first, Witten started blocking more to assist green OTs Torrin Tucker and Rob Petitti. In the process, his reception total dropped comparded to last year. With Dallas running more two and three man routes, defenses bunched up on Glenn and his production dropped. Bledsoe started seeing more blitzes and tigher coverage, resulting in a steep decline for his QB ratings.
On defense Henry injured his groin against Arizona, causing him to miss a month. Newman has a problem that only a John Madden can fix; he's played his best football this year, and offenses now regularly throw away from him. Consequently, his interception totals are small and INTs are the Pro Bowl statistic for cornerbacks. Until Madden or a Madden-like analyst touts Newman, he'll cover in obscurity. And the only way for the Maddens to start paying attention is for the Cowboys to become contenders again.
Another Cowboys who could be a Pro Bowl contender next year is Bradie James. He has been playing at a high level for the last half of the season. Because the rest of the defense has dropped off, few are noticing. Like Newman, he'll need the "Madden treatment" if he hopes for future offseason accolades.