Bill Belichick likes to talk about the Patriots aren't interested in individual awards but that doesn't usually stop us from discussing them. The NFL opens up its Pro Bowl voting this week and there are a few candidates (beyond the obvious like Tom Brady) who may be in line for consideration.
Mainstays like Brady, Matthew Slater and Stephen Gostkowski are sure to generate interest, but we're more interested in players who have yet to earn the distinction. The Patriots have some worthy candidates who fall into that category, and this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is looking to identify which ones fit best.
So, with Pro Bowl voting set to open this week, which Patriot should earn his first Pro Bowl nomination?
PFW's Andy Hart says …
It would not be a stretch to say that James White was the Patriots MVP over the first half of the season. Whether it was catching passes, picking up the blitz or running out the clock as the lead back, White has pretty much done it all for the offense so far.
Looking at the stats through Week 9, White was leading the NFL in receptions for a running back with 61 and trailed only Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins overall. He also had career highs in virtually every statistical category including receptions, touchdowns (10), rushing yards (235), attempts (60), receiving touchdowns (six) and rushing touchdowns (four). He was also just 20 receiving yards short of his career best with 531.
In short, White has been the only consistent element of the offense and when Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon have been missing, it's been the reliable running back providing the production. He makes plays every week and no defense has been able to contain him. It's time for White to get the recognition that he deserves. Get the campaign started – he's a Pro Bowler for sure.
PFW's Paul Perillo says …
At the start of the season the Patriots defense wasn't performing at a high level. At the time Trey Flowers was dealing with an unknown injury that limited him during training camp and the preseason. Then he suffered a concussion that cost him time in Weeks 2 and 3. Since then the defense has been on the rise. Coincidence? I think not.
Flowers is not the flashiest player in the league. He won't remind folks of dynamic pass rushers like Von Miller. But that doesn't mean he isn't as effective doing what he does. Flowers is a very disruptive players both in the pass rush and against the run. He consistently reads and recognizes plays quickly and provides immediate support on screens, draws and shovel passes.
Recently he's been the team's best player and that just happens to coincide with the great efforts on defense in Buffalo and against Green Bay. Flowers was at the heart of that, and even though the stats showed him with just 2.5 sacks through nine weeks, he's been as effective as any front seven player in football.
There's a reason Brian Flores calls him the Quiet Storm – it's time for Flowers to get the recognition he deserves.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.