The Miami Dolphins will be represented in Honolulu when the NFL Pro Bowl returns to Hawaii's Aloha Stadium late next month, with center Mike Pouncey being named to the annual all-start game on Tuesday. It was the absence of a Dolphins player, however, that should get more notice. Miami safety Reshad Jones, among the best, if not the best, safeties in the game this season will not be making the trip to Hawaii, at least not as an initial member of the roster.
Jones, who could be an alternate for the game and get called up if a player has to back out for some reason, should be considered among the biggest snubs for this year's game. He has become a dominant safety in the game, playing in the box as a run stuffer and supporting in pass coverage. He hits hard and he makes plays. He is tied for sixth in the league in interceptions so far this year, picking off five passes. He has returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns, tying him for the most in the league. He is fifth in the league in tackles with 124, a position that makes him the only non-linebacker in the top five and puts him 14 tackles ahead of the next closest safety on the list.
Jones has dominated this season, yet he was left off the roster. Pro Football Focus recognized the snub:
Reshad Jones and Malcolm Jenkins were 2 of PFF's top 5 rated safeties, neither got the call. #ProBowlSnubs— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 23, 2015
Bleacher Report wrote:
There may not have been a more glaring snub that (sic) Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones...
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal recognized how Jones was snubbed, making him the top player on his list of 11 players who "should have found a way on the roster."
Jones was unfairly punished for not having a big name and playing on a low-profile team. There's no question he's had a better season than Kam Chancellor, who made it over him at strong safety. He's a rare combination these days at safety of a big hitter that also makes big plays in coverage.
Former Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor commented on Jones missing the all-star event:
NFL.com's Chris Wesseling, in writing about Kam Chancellor's selection to the Pro Bowl this year added:
Chancellor is rightfully one of the league's most respected players, but he got in on reputation this year. Frankly, Reshad Jones of the Dolphins got robbed. No safety in the league was more disruptive at the line of the scrimmage. Jones even chipped in a pair of pick-sixes for good measure.
Jones absolutely should be included on the list of players heading to Hawaii this year. The strong safeties selected to the game were Eric Berry from the Kansas City Chiefs, Chancellor from the Seattle Seahawks, and Charles Woodson from the Oakland Raiders. Berry has had a good year, especially when you add in his return from Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Woodson, in his final year, has still be able to get it done, especially in coverage, even as he approaches 40 years old. Chancellor is a good safety, and he does have a reputation for being among the top defensive backs in the league. Jones, however, has played at least as well, if not better, than all three of them.
Pouncey, who is headed to his third straight Pro Bowl contest, said of the Jones snub:
"I feel so bad for Reshad. I felt like, and I know, that he's the best safety in the NFL. For him not to make it is very disappointing. I told him when I got off the phone with him earlier that I wish I could give him my Pro Bowl nod because I feel like he's a guy that deserves it more than any guy on our football team and any guy throughout the NFL the way he's played. He's an impact player on the football field. He's really grown as a football player and I think he's the best safety in the NFL. It's just sad he didn't make it."
He then added, when asked if the team's poor 2015 performance hurt Jones' chances at making the game:
"I mean, obviously. If you were to watch him play on film he's the best safety in the NFL. For him not to make the Pro Bowl obviously it has to be bigger than just what you're putting out on the football field by himself. I mean, does anybody have better numbers than him?"
Jones may be one of the biggest snubs for the 2016 Pro Bowl. He has done everything anyone could have wanted from a strong safety, he is in consideration for an All-Pro spot, yet he was not good enough to be named to his first career Pro Bowl? Something is wrong with that picture. Hopefully, when the alternates start getting picked up for the game, Jones can still make a trip to Hawaii, a trip that would absolutely fix a huge snub in this year's Pro Bowl rosters.