Ngata got a raw deal

FACEOFF

Who Was The Ravens' Biggest Pro Bowl Snub?

December 17, 2008|By CHILDS WALKER

I can usually see ambiguity in any question, but it's pretty clear that Haloti Ngata was the Raven who most deserved a Pro Bowl selection. He had to settle for being an alternate.

Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs are tremendous playmakers, but without Ngata's remarkable combination of size and power in the middle, would any of them have been as clear to do their flashier work? By the way, did everyone see that video Sunday of Ngata playing rugby in high school? I hope those children who got in his way have gotten over the nightmares.

But anyway, what's so cool about Ngata is that he's not simply a space plugger, a la Tony Siragusa. He reads screens beautifully and routinely dances out to the wing to break them up. When a runner gets by him, he doesn't quit; he kicks into a different gear and chases the play down. His interception against the Houston Texans, when he deflected the ball and hopped over to catch it, was one of my favorite plays of the season. How many 6-foot-4, 345-pound guys ever have two picks in a season?

But interior tackles don't tend to accumulate the sack numbers that turn defensive linemen into stars. And in terms of reputation, a huge factor in Pro Bowl voting, Ngata has to stand behind previous selections Albert Haynesworth and Kris Jenkins (Maryland).

He might be just as good as those guys. Announcers and scouts have been saying so all season.

But don't worry. If Ngata remains the force he is now, he'll have his days in Hawaii. And anyone who watched him every week already knows the Ravens have a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.

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