Erin Summers

Bowl game aftermath

Posted January 30, 2012

The football season is rapidly coming to an end but for those still holding on there were two games this past weekend - the Senior Bowl and the Pro Bowl.

Both highlight the ‘top of the line’ players in college and the NFL, though quite possibly the best of the NFL will actually be facing off Sunday in the Super Bowl.

Pro Bowl

It’s always an argument as to why they even have the Pro Bowl. Most fans scoff at the play-ground football, lack of effort or real athleticism that’s shown during the game.

I on the other hand happen to like the Pro Bowl. For one, the players definitely take the selection to heart, cherishing the opportunity to play in the game, and I still find it entertaining even though it isn’t real football.

Where else are you going to see New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees drop kick it for a field goal attempt? Or Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald grabbing touchdown passes from Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers? And in some instances players actually outplayed themselves. Miami receiver Brandon Marshall had four touchdowns – one of which he kicked to himself and you’ll just have to watch the highlight to understand how that worked – Marshall, who only had six touchdowns all season this year. (I know because for some gosh awful reason I had him on my fantasy squad for a stint.)

Now there are a lot of things that could make the Pro Bowl way more entertaining. They tried it with the in games tweets but frankly that was a bust. I say since we already know these players are the best of the best at what they do, why not step it up and notch and see what else they can do. The stuff that people are too afraid to run in real games because it’s too risky, the trick plays, the Statue of Liberty, the Hook-and-Lateral. Kind of like Brees attempting a field goal, why not?

I still want the guys to play football but why play it safe? It’s not like anyone is out there really hitting anyone (unless your name is Cam Newton because they certainly went after him) so no risk to injury.

Even if it’s just a pillow fight and nothing changes, I’ll still watch but maybe that’s just me.

Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl is quite the opposite of the Pro Bowl. The guys in the Pro Bowl don’t really have anything to prove, after the game is over they’ve earned some extra cash and it’s onto vacation. For those in the Senior Bowl this game could determine a lot about the rest of their football career.

The players have the opportunity to showcase themselves in a game setting one last time before the combine starts on Feb. 25 and the NFL draft on April 26.

And several of our local college players did just that. North Carolina contributed South starters LE Quinton Coples, WLB Zach Brown and back-ups WR Dwight Jones and DT Tydreke Powell. NC State had LB Audie Cole and WR T.J. Graham both who started for the North squad.

If you watched any of it, I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: UNC’s Quinton Coples did not look like the Quinton Coples Heels fans saw all season. He looked WAY better. I said it a few times over the season, and it would seem that after Coples performance Saturday it was in fact the case, Coples looked like he played all season not to get hurt. During the Senior Bowl he was explosive and quick off the line not only hurrying the quarterback but getting to him almost every play. Coples had three solo tackles, two for losses, a broken up pass and a five yard sack. Needless to say he definitely increased his draft stock, probably more so than any player from the area did. He’s being projected as a top-10 draft pick come April.

Not only did Coples stand out, a lot was being said about Wolfpack’s Audie Cole. Cole got a lot of play leading up to the game as scouts were impressed with his skill set and size. During the game he had two solo tackles, two assisted tackles and broke up a pass. Even though his almost pick wasn’t successful, he did wonders for his draft stock.

UNC’s Zach Brown is being looked at as a first round pick because of his quickness and power, and his three solo tackles, two assisted tackles and one tackle for a loss Saturday won’t hurt that.

State's T.J. Graham also helped his case, as a starter for the North he was used as a kick returner and brought attention with his speed and agility, running one back for 27 yards. He had two receptions for a total of 27 yards, totaling 54 all-purpose yards on the day.

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