September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick (61) during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Now that the Presidential Election is over, it’s time to turn our focus to another important election: that of the NFL Pro Bowl. Over the last decade, the Chargers had several players who were a lock to earn that coveted trip to Hawaii. Players such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers and others. However, those days are over for this struggling team. We have to look a little deeper to find those players who deserve the Pro Bowl recognition.
Punter – 5 Mike Scifres
One of the best punters in the league, this season has been no exception. He is 3rd in the AFC with a 48.3avg which would also be a career high. Thanks to his ability to directional kick, and drop punt (and a S/O to great special teams coverage, especially guy below) only 2 of his 32 punts have been touchbacks!
He is a 6-time Pro Bowl alternate but has a great chance to be the starter this year.
Special Teams – 25 Darrell Stuckey
The 3rd year pro has had a breakout season on special teams this year. Through 8 games, DSII has recorded 10 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble. He also has made a few incredible plays, most recently last Thursday night against Kansas City with a diving catch on a punt that pinned the Chiefs on the 5 yard line.
DSII is making the most of his opportunity on Special Teams and his results reflect the hustle and hard work he has put in. He deserves to go to Hawaii.
Linebacker – 56 Donald Butler
One of the most exciting young defensive players on the Chargers, Butler made a name for himself last year posting 96 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 8 tackles for loss. The 3rd year pro is picking right up where he left off, with 55 tackles through the first 8 games (2nd on team), 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT and 1 defensive touchdown. He is very active and constantly is around the ball, leading to one of the great sayings for Boltheads “The Butler Did It!”
While he is not a league leader in the top of any 1 category, his all-around play has been great and should definitely be looked at as a possible alternate.
Center – 61 Nick Hardwick
A stabalizing force in an otherwise very weak offensive line. Hardwick has finally shaken the injury bug that plagued him early in his career and has now started 42 straight games. He may not get the recognition from the rest of the league due to the amount of times Rivers has been sacked, but if Hardwick was not there, those numbers wouldbe MUCH higher.
Those are the 4 Bolts that I believe are the most deserving on a talented but underperforming Chargers team this year. We are only at the halway mark with plenty of season left for guys to make a case. Of course, I would rather have ZERO Chargers in the Pro Bowl….because that would mean we’re in the SUPER BOWL!!!
Please feel free to comment and let me know if you think somebody else should have been included. And please go here to vote for who you think should represent! www.nfl.com/probowl