While the rest of New Orleans dealt with unusual cold conditions this weekend, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, tight end Jimmy Graham, guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs and defensive end Cameron Jordan enjoyed the warmth of Honolulu, Hawaii.
All five players were selected to play for Team Jerry Rice. This is the first year the Pro-Bowl has implemented a fantasy-style draft.
This was certainly the year the Pro Bowl returned to glory. The draft made it more entertaining facing teammates against each other. The game was so competitive that only a single point determined the winner and the score was tied into the third quarter.
Jimmy Graham was second on Team Rice in receiving, right behind Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns, with 5 receptions, 51 yards and 1 touchdown. Some Saints fans were scared thinking that the Pro Bowl was a perfect opportunity for other teams to see just how good Graham worked outside with other players. Graham had some incredible catches and did not disappoint.
Drew Brees , the captain of Team Rice, was third in passing behind Alex Smith and Phillip Rivers completing only 9/19 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. On a sour note, Drew also was the only quarterback to fumble.
Drew’s play might not have seemed like that of a team captain but his experience and leadership were on display. His advice to young quarterbacks and other players on Team Rice helped them to a victory in the final minutes of the game. Drew has 4 seasons with 5,000 + passing yards and deserved that captain spot in the 2014 Pro Bowl.
On the defensive end, there was only one guy who really impressed me. Cameron Jordan is a name you hear during every Saints game due to his outstanding performances game after game. He had two tackles and a sack and helped to set the tone for a tenacious Team Rice defense.
This was Ben Grubbs’ second Pro Bowl appearance in his career. Grubbs did not impress me. I don’t even remember seeing him on the field. Do you think another player deserved this honor? Feel free to leave a comment.
Jahri Evans has been to the Pro Bowl in his last five seasons of the eight he has played, all with the Saints. He gets the job done, but you hardly notice him. It’s hard to make an impression on the field when you’re only on it for a few downs.
This year was the maiden voyage of the new Pro Bowl. Hopefully the NFL has learned from this and will keep the draft feature. Will all players representing the New Orleans Saints be lucky enough to be on the same team again? I’m hoping for all candidates to be on Team Archie Manning, in a dream world!