Earlier this week, 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers was named a starter on the 2012 NFC Pro Bowl roster, in what will be his first Pro Bowl selection. He will join Charles Woodson as one of the two starting corners for the team, pending either the 49ers or Packers ending up in the Super Bowl. If either team makes it, Seahawks corner Brandon Browner is the first alternate.
What is mildly amusing is that Nnamdi Asomugha only ended up as the second alternate. Nnamdi is a great corner, but he has had some struggles in Philadelphia this season, as has much of the Eagles roster. I find it mildly amusing given how insane it was getting around here during Nnamdi Watch back in late July. I was just as much a part of that as anybody else, particularly given that media reports were making it seem like the 49ers were loading their eggs in the Nnamdi basket. It ended up not really playing out that way, but at the time, insanity ruled.
In his weekly power rankings, SI's Don Banks asked how many people prior to the season would have picked Rogers as the Pro Bowler and Nnamdi as the second alternate. I don't know how many of us would have made that selection, but if you also told me that Rogers would improve his hands issues on interception attempts, I would been somewhat inclined to think he might make the Pro Bowl. After all, much of the Pro Bowl voting is about the high profile players, and interceptions generally make the difference for a cornerback's Pro Bowl case.
This also comes as ESPN's KC Joyner included Rogers in his four top defensive game-plan nightmares. The article is Insider-protected, so I wanted to at least provide a quick rundown of it. The four players listed were Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs, Lions DT Ndamukong Suh and Rogers.
In describing why Rogers was a matchup nightmare, Joyner described Rogers as a guy who can be both a cover corner and a ballhawk. Where many corners fall into one category or the other, Rogers could fall into both because he can handle cover duties, but is also willing to take risks to grab picks. The risks come in part because he can know he has another guy helping on the back end. He described Rogers as follows:
His 6.4 overall YPA, 7.7 vertical YPA and 6.8 stretch vertical YPA totals would all place him into the shutdown coverage corner column, but he has augmented those numbers with six interceptions, tied for fourth in the league. (Note: Vertical passes are those thrown 11 or more yards downfield, and stretch-verticals are those thrown 20 or more yards). The interceptions are not just a fluke, either, as Rogers also has six near interceptions. The NFC playoff picture is filled with pass-heavy teams, but those offenses should avoid throwing at Rogers in the postseason.
Rogers has said multiple times that he wants to finish out his career with the 49ers. How do the 49ers handle his contract situation? He's having the best season of his career, so he's definitely worthy of some bucks. At the same time, he turned 30 just prior to the start of the season. How do you handle a new contract for Rogers?