Jets Pro Bowl Selections 2008-09
A year after not receiving any Pro Bowl invitations, the New York Jets will send a team to Hawaii in February.
Today the National Football League announced that a franchise-record seven Jets have been selected to play in the league's annual all-star game.
Four of the seven have been named AFC starters — running back Thomas Jones, guard Alan Faneca, nose tackle Kris Jenkins and kick returner Leon Washington. Three have been named backups — quarterback Brett Favre, center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Four of the above were selected for their first Pro Bowl appearances — Jones, Washington, Mangold and Revis.
Perennial Pro Bowlers Favre, a 10-time selection, and Faneca, who's been invited eight consecutive years now, are scheduled to make their first trips to Honolulu as Jets. And Jenkins, another newcomer and a four-time selection, will anchor the AFC's starting defense.
The 30-year-old Jones is in the midst of a career year as he's set franchise records in three categories: most touchdowns in a season (15), most rush touchdowns in a season (13) and most consecutive games scoring a touchdown (8). The 5'10", 215-pounder, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, leads the AFC with 1,222 yards on the ground and needs just 114 yards in his final two contests to set a personal best.
"There is an energy and excitement about the guy and he carries that over for pregame and it carries over to the game," said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer of Jones. "He's playing with so much confidence and such a sense of passion that it's been a lot of fun to watch."
Mangold, an Ohio State product who was the 29th overall selection in the 2006 draft, has appeared in 46 pro contests, all as a starter, and he's quietly become one of the game's top centers.
"Nick is a smart guy. He always puts himself in the right position, which is very important at center to be able to read things," Faneca said. "It's not like playing left guard or right guard or tackle where you're splitting the difference. You have to be able to put yourself in the right position by reading the defense, the 'backers and where everyone's at."
Been There, Done That: Favre, Faneca, Jenkins
Faneca — the first Jets guard to go to a Pro Bowl — didn't have too much difficulty adjusting to his new home. After 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, he came to New York and has been as solid as advertised. The Jets have the NFL's ninth-ranked rush offense, averaging 129.2 yards per game.
On Aug. 6, the Jets secured Favre in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. The future Hall of Famer leads the NFL's third-ranked scoring offense as the Jets have averaged more than 27 points a game. His 67.6 completion percentage in a new system has been impressive and his 207-yard effort against Buffalo on Sunday pushed him past the 3,000-yard mark for the 17th consecutive season.
"I'm honored to be voted to the Pro Bowl again by my fans and peers but equally excited for my teammates," he said today. "Considering my late start this summer, I'm proud of what this team has accomplished so far."
Jenkins, who's playing nose in a 3-4 front for the first time, has been a defensive force all season. With two games remaining, he has collected 40 tackles, eight stops for losses and 3.5 sacks. He is the anchor of the NFL's fifth-ranked rush D as the Jets are limiting opponents to 90.9 yards per game.
"Kris has been a very consistent guy for us, and it's hard to do, making the position change that he did, never being in a 3-4 system, whether it was in college or pro football," said head coach Eric Mangini. "Kris has done a really sound job of understanding the technique, understanding the blocking schemes, but not losing his ability to make plays that he made in the other system, and that comes from understanding what you have to do in this system, which I think he's excelled at."
All Seven Arrived Under Tannenbaum/Mangini
Revis, in just his second NFL season, has become one of the NFL's top cornerbacks. The physical 5'11, 204-pounder, a Pittsburgh product who was the No. 14 overall selection in 2007, has five interceptions this season and is regularly asked to cover the opponent's top receiver. He becomes only the third Jet corner (following Ty Law and Aaron Glenn) to earn Pro Bowl honors.
"We're getting back to our identity of trying to make turnovers and be a turnover defense," Revis said Monday after he picked up a key theft late in Sunday's win, the third of the Jets' four takeaways.
Washington's position will be kick returner for the NFL finale, but he simply can do everything — and fast. His 2,067 combined yards lead the NFL and he's tied for the league lead with Seattle's Josh Wilson with 10 plays of 40-plus yards. Six of those came on kick returns, including a 92-yard touchdown against the Pats to set the franchise record with his fourth career TD return.
"My role, I realize, for this team is to prepare myself to provide a play when we need it," said Washington, who averages 26.7 yards on kick returns and 10.7 on punt returns.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and his personnel department went the trade route to acquire Jones before the '07 season and then Jenkins and Favre this spring and summer respectively. Faneca was a big free-agent get in the spring while Mangold (D1-06), Washington (D4-06) and Revis (D1-07) all came courtesy of the draft and have developed under head coach Eric Mangini and his staff.
The Jets' previous high for Pro Bowl players was five, which they've done on three occasions: 1982, 1985 and 1998. During the franchise's AFL years, the Green & White sent seven players to the AFL All-Star Game in '67, 11 in '68 and 10 in '69.
Five more Jets — DE Shaun Ellis, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OLB Calvin Pace, S Kerry Rhodes and FB Tony Richardson — were selected as Pro Bowl alternates.