Bengals fans might not want any part of this, but voting for the 2017 Pro Bowl is now officially open. It is a little hard to understand why voting has opened so early heading into Week 6 of the 2016 season. Reardless, fans who want nothing more than to see their favorite players recognized for their individual accomplishments at the end of the season can now have their say on NFL.com by choosing their favorite players at each position.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the Bengals’ slow start to the 2016 NFL season is the fact that not many players look like Pro Bowl candidates so far. Last year, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert broke out with an astounding 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. For a player who only started in 12 games due to injury, those numbers are simply incredible.
Unfortunately, he hurt his ankle in the Pro Bowl and hasn’t played or even practiced fully since. For that reason, he vowed to never play in the Pro Bowl again, and many Bengals fans are likely hoping for as few Pro Bowl berths for their players as possible this year. One way to make that happen would be by the Bengals going to the Super Bowl...
You could make the argument that A.J. Green, who currently is one yard behind former Bengals receiver Marvin Jones in terms of most yards this season (518) is on pace for his sixth Pro Bowl berth in as many years in the league. In addition, Andrew Whitworth still looks like one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL and Carlos Dunlap ranks No. 2 among defensive ends in tackles (22), and No. 4 in sacks (4.0). Geno Atkins is also among the best in the league and should be a Pro Bowler once again.
Regardless, the incredibly obnoxious situation surrounding Eifert’s injury in the Pro Bowl is the kind of thing that the Bengals and their fans would like to avoid in the future. Granted, Eifert’s current injury status seems to be related to a tweak in his back suffered last week. But, if anything, it just helps to increase the frustration of Bengals fans with his string of injuries, highlighted by the issue from the Pro Bowl.
Can you imagine if another player player like A.J. Green, Andrew Whitworth, or Carlos Dunlap were to go down with an injury in a game that essentially means nothing? Losing Eifert was bad enough, but losing Green would be disastrous for the Bengals’ offense. Losing Dunlap would essentially destroy any semblance of a pass rush at this point. At Whitworth’s age, a serious injury in the Pro Bowl could lead to the end of his career.
If anything, Bengals fans should be excited that voting is open early so they can get a head start at voting literally anyone else to the 2017 Pro Bowl, in hopes of sparing the usefulness of the Bengals’ best players. Hopefully, if certain Bengals players manage to squeeze through the voting, they will decline to actually participate in the game in January... Unless the Bengals make the Super Bowl, then they’d be excluded anyway and we’d be the happiest fans on earth!