- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pro Bowl rosters will be announced today, and outside linebacker Marcus Washington and receiver Santana Moss are the Washington Redskins with the best chances of being selected.

Washington is the only Redskin other than LaVar Arrington and Ray Brown — both part-time players who won’t be chosen — to be selected for the NFC team in the past. His statistics are similar to those he posted last year when he was voted to his first Pro Bowl.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Derrick Brooks, a perennial choice, will take one spot at linebacker. Washington’s main competition for the other two berths are Keith Brooking of the Atlanta Falcons, who also plays inside, and relative unknowns Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears and Will Witherspoon of the Carolina Panthers.

Moss made two game-changing plays on the “Monday Night Football” stage and tore up the league in the first half of the season.

However, he was less effective in the second half, which could hurt him against formidable competition at wideout like the Panthers’ Steve Smith, the St. Louis Rams’ Torry Holt, the Bucs’ Joey Galloway, the New York Giants’ Plaxico Burress and the Arizona Cardinals’ duo of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

The absence of Terrell Owens helps, so Moss, who led in the first round of fan balloting, should be selected.

“It would be a blessing,” Moss said. “I’ve been an [AFC] alternate twice with the Jets, so it would be a great feeling to be accepted amongst the guys that are Pro Bowlers. I feel like I’ve played to that level.”

Cornerback Shawn Springs, who made the AFC team with the Seattle Seahawks in 1998, has had a fine season. However, he wasn’t chosen last year, when he became the first cornerback to lead a team in interceptions and sacks, and faces tough competition this season from the Bucs’ Ronde Barber, the Bears’ Nathan Vasher, the Panthers’ Ken Lucas and the Falcons’ DeAngelo Hall.

Clinton Portis has a chance to break the Redskins’ rushing record for a season but still ranks as the NFC’s No. 4 running back behind the Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander, the Giants’ Tiki Barber and the Falcons’ Warrick Dunn.

“I’m nobody’s alternate,” said Portis, who was selected in 2003 as a member of the AFC’s Denver Broncos. “If I’m not picked straight out, I’m not going.”

Like Moss, quarterback Mark Brunell started hot, then cooled off. But big-name quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper were hurt, and Brett Favre struggled badly.

That leaves Brunell to compete with the Panthers’ Jake Delhomme and the Cowboys’ Drew Bledsoe for a spot as the backup to sure starter Matt Hasselbeck of the Seahawks.

It would be the fourth Pro Bowl for Brunell, who is a strong candidate for comeback player of the year, but his first since 1999.

H-back Chris Cooley has been as productive as any tight end in the NFC and led the fan voting at fullback. Unfortunately for Cooley, he doesn’t play that position, which figures to go to the Bucs’ Mike Alstott.

Right guard Randy Thomas had a decent shot to make it, but his season ended with a broken leg in Sunday’s rout of Dallas. Even if he’s picked, Thomas, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday, won’t be able to play in Hawaii on Feb. 12.

Sean Taylor was a surprise as the first alternate at safety as a rookie in 2004 and could be chosen this year. However, Brian Dawkins of the Philadelphia Eagles and Roy Williams of the Cowboys have big reputations. The Cardinals’ Adrian Wilson and the Minnesota Vikings’ Darren Sharper also made big impressions.

Notes — Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who tied a team record with four sacks in the 35-7 rout of Dallas, was named NFC defensive player of the week. … Ndukwe Ikechuku, a rookie guard from Northwestern, was promoted from the practice squad to take Thomas’ place. … Offensive lineman Jim Jones and tight end David Kashetta were added to the practice squad.



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