The stunning turnaround by the Jacksonville Jaguars shows best in the NFL standings â€" and the All-Pro Team.
Rarely do the Jags have members of the elite All-Pro squad. For 2017 Jamaal Williams Jersey , they have two: edge rusher Calais Campbell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
â€ťItâ€™s huge,â€ť Campbell said. â€ťThatâ€™s a big testament to the work we put in. We donâ€™t just show up and perform. We grind day in and day out to be the best. This defense is very special, so Iâ€™m glad to see us get some accolades for our hard work.â€ť
Added Ramsey of The Associated Press All-Pro Team announced Friday:
â€ťI can go on and on about corners I respect and I think are really good in the league. But I think (the voters) realize that I cover No. 1s every week, that Iâ€™m still putting up high numbers, still playing very well in my role and doing what I have to do.â€ť
What Campbell and Ramsey did was help the Jaguars rank first in pass defense and second overall, earning their first playoff berth since the 2007 season.
One player, Antonio Brown, was the only unanimous choice for All-Pro. The brilliant wide receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers drew all 50 ballots from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. Brown missed the last two-plus games with an ankle injury.
He was among four players to make a fourth All-Pro squad, joining New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker.
The repeaters from 2016 were Brown; Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who got 49 votes, and punter Hekker; and Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his third All-Pro team.
In their own turnaround season, the Rams led the way with six All-Pros, including two more specialists: kicker Greg Zuerlein and kick returner Pharoh Cooper. Running back Todd Gurley and left tackle Andrew Whitworth were honored.
â€ťDang, thatâ€™s crazy. It means a lot, honestly,â€ť said Gurley, who likely would have led the league in rushing had he played in LAâ€™s finale. â€ťItâ€™s a blessing. Iâ€™ve got so much respect for everybody in this league Youth Ben Roethlisberger Jersey , and to be in this position just means so much to me.
â€ťIâ€™ve been following people around the NFL my whole life, and to be considered as an All-Pro, man, God is good, honestly. Honestly.â€ť
Three Steelers joined Brown on the roster: Leâ€™Veon Bell as the flex, interior defensive lineman Cam Heyward, and right guard David DeCastro. No other team had more than two All-Pros, with the stronger NFC getting 18 players and the AFC 10.
Two rookies made it: punt returner Jamal Agnew of Detroit and special teamer Budda Baker of Arizona.
Also chosen: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce; Panthers left guard Andrew Norwell; Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins; Saints edge rusher Cameron Jordan; Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones; Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith; Detroit defensive back Darius Slay; and Titans safety Kevin Byard.
First-timers made an impression on both sides of the ball, with 15 on the team: Byard, Slay, Rhodes, Jones, Jordan, Ramsey, Campbell, Hopkins, Norwell, Kelce Womens Jake Gardiner Jersey , Johnson, Agnew, Baker, Gurley, and Cooper.
Wagner is on his third All-Pro squad.
â€ťWhen you get voted for these types of awards,â€ť he said, â€ťit shows you all the work you do in the offseason, the grinding, all the things you push through â€¦ when you get this, when people say this is not AFC, NFC, this is the league, this is who we deem the best at their position in the league, that says a lot. And you see the guys before you, the things they were able to accomplish, youâ€™ve seen those things and you want those things. Itâ€™s part of that mindset of wanting to be great and understanding what comes along with that, and wanting that kind of acknowledgment.â€ť
While making All-Pro has become almost natural for Wagner, Jordan finally got there in his seventh pro season.
â€ťIâ€™m definitely trying to push myself to be better than I was the year previous Authentic Melvin Gordon Jersey ,â€ť he said. â€ťI think I had a really good year last year. Of course, sack numbers wonâ€™t show that, but in terms of playing the run, in terms of getting after the passer I thought last year was one of my better years (7 1-2 sacks, 17 tackles for loss). So what I wanted to do this year is, of course, push myself to be better than last. That probably only poses the problem of where I go next year. Now Iâ€™ve got to shoot for more than what I did this year.â€ť
AP Sports Writers Mark Long, Tim Booth, Brett Martel and Greg Beacham contributed to this report.
Maybe Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta will go longer into the Saturday afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park than he did in his last start.
The former Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs has double-digit wins in each of the past four seasons, and a career 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. But he learned in his first season with the Phillies that it is all about the wins.
Philadelphia moved well above .500 by making careful decisions, and that included pulling Arrieta after five strong innings and 70 pitches Sunday against Washington simply because the club was trailing 3-0 with one hit.
â€śYou have to find a way to score runs. Youâ€™re running out of outs. Youâ€™re down,â€ť Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of his decision to pinch-hit Carlos Santana for Arrieta after he had given up two earned runs and four hits.
Philadelphia ended up scoring three runs that inning for a tie and winning 4-3 in 13 innings.
â€śThere was quite a bit of debate, and mostly because of how good Jake was,â€ť Kapler said. â€śI was confident we could have gotten two, maybe three more innings out of him. However, we didnâ€™t know if we were going to have an opportunity to score.
â€śSo there was definitely internal debate, mostly because of how good Jake is and because I knew he could give us length there â€" and because I knew he wanted to give us length. Heâ€™s earned the opportunity to do so. But for the strategy of the Phillies, I didnâ€™t think that was the right move.â€ť
Arrieta (5-6 Artemi Panarin Jersey , 3.54 ERA) hasnâ€™t been winning at his customary clip, the no-decision notwithstanding. On Saturday, heâ€™ll face right-hander Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05 ERA) and the struggling Pirates (40-47).
Arrieta is 11-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 career starts against Pittsburgh. The only time he faced them this season, he struck out 10 while pitching seven one-hit scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory on April 19.
The Phillies opened this series with a 17-5 smackdown Friday and have won five straight and six of seven to gain a share of the National League East lead.
The Pirates have lost four in a row â€" by a combined 48-13, with 59 hits and 12 homers allowed â€" and five of six. They continue to shuffle their lineup.
â€śThereâ€™s no sense in keeping it the same, is usually a point I get to, because weâ€™re not getting the results we want to get,â€ť Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
In his most recent start, Taillon lasted just 4 2/3 innings Sunday in San Diego. He left with a lead in a game the Pirates won 7-5 but gave up a homer and two singles with two outs in the fourth to prompt the pitching change.
â€śIâ€™m hunting a lot of good work, and I just need to keep going,â€ť Taillon, who is is 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in his past 14 starts, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Against the Phillies, Taillon is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts. This is a rematch of the April 19 game that Arrieta won. In that game, Taillon was rocked for five runs in 1 2/3 innings.