Some players make the Pro Bowl. Some players are named All-Pros. But the guys who often go unnoticed are named annually to USA Today’s All-Joe team, a team set aside for players who are deserving of accolades and awards, but don’t necessarily get national recognition.
This tradition was started in 1992 by NFL writer Larry Weisman, who created the team in honor of Joe Phillips, a defensive lineman.
The Denver Broncos players who made the team were all also deserving of potential Pro Bowl recognition.
Offensively, Knowshon Moreno was selected after the best season of his career. Moreno stayed healthy for the most part throughout the entire year, and finished with his first 1,000 yard rushing season, while establishing his role as the Broncos’ top back and showing versatility, catching 60 passes while racking up 13 total touchdowns.
Also selected on offense were center Manny Ramirez and tackle Chris Clark, two guys who were expected to either be backups or barely make the team back in May or June.
Nobody expected Ramirez to do as well as he did, and I would contend that he was arguably one of the top five best centers in the entire league. In fact, I think the stats would back that up. Ramirez graded out by Pro Football Focus as one of the top players at his position in the NFL.
While Chris Clark wasn’t Ryan Clady at left tackle, he also didn’t give up many touchdowns, and the Broncos’ offense didn’t falter too much. Clark was signed to an extension before officially replacing Ryan Clady as the left tackle, and he did an absolutely tremendous job in a pinch, starting all but two games for the Broncos at left tackle and helping keep Peyton Mannign upright.
Incredibly, Chris Harris Jr. wasn’t selected to the Pro Bowl, but the cornerback did make the All-Joe team. to be honest with you, Harris might very well be the Broncos’ most consistent defender, which is why so many were up in arms about him not playing against New England. The Broncos’ cornerback position–when healthy–is arguably the deepest position on the team, so losing Harris is something they can sustain, but he is a heck of a player, and should be a staple for this franchise for a long time.