December 27, 2012

Morstead, Evans Honored with 2013 Pro Bowl First Team

P Thomas Morstead and RG Jahri Evans were the two Saints named to this year's NFC Pro Bowl squad, and are expected to start at the endangered Pro Bowl.

The NFL is reportedly considering cancelling the Pro Bowl game after this season, and replacing it with something less farcical - recent games have been stand-up affairs without the violence and energy befitting a football game.

Morstead and Evans were named to the first team of the NFC squad, but likely will not be the only Saints represented.  Players on the teams in the Super Bowl - played the next week in New Orleans - will not play in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.  In recent years, so many players have opted out of the Pro Bowl that third, fourth and fifth alternates were named before the game actually played.

Both Morstead and Evans are middle-round picks by the Saints in the Mickey Loomis era - and in hindsight were nobodies that have turned into stars with the Saints.  Morstead leads the NFL with 50.5 total yards/punt average and a net average of 44.4, which would break 49er P Andy Lee's NFL record of 43.99 yard net average.  Evans overcame a plague of holding penalties last season to anchor the interior of the Saints' line this season, and helping to protect a right tackle position that has been a problem spot.  This is Morstead's first Pro Bowl nomination, while this is Evans' fourth straight Pro Bowl.

Snubs on the Saints' squad were glaring - QB Drew Brees leads the NFL in passing yardage (4781) and touchdowns (39) with one game to go, but was bumped by Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III.  Brees did not do himself any favors by leading the league with 18 interceptions, and tossing his lowest completion percentage since his lousy 2003 season in San Diego, and leading the scarred Saints franchise through a lost season.

WR Marques Colston also enjoyed a resurgent year, though he was crowded out by superb seasons from Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Chicago's Brandon Marshall, Dallas' Dez Bryant and Atlanta's Roddy White and Julio Jones.  Johnson, Marshall, Jones and New York's Victor Cruz were named to the NFC's first team.

C Brian de la Puente, a low-profile reliable option in the middle of the Saints' line, is one of many NFC centers wondering why Packers C Jeff Saturday, recently benched by Green Bay, was named a Pro Bowl starter.

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