New England Patriots fans haven't many reasons to cheer during this disastrous 2023 season. However, backup defensive back Brenden Schooler has provided a few thanks to his playmaking on special teams.
While key ST contributors often go under the radar, the Pro Bowl provides a chance for these lesser-known names to get some well-deserved attention. Unfortunately, Schooler won't get the chance to compete for a spot on the select team -- and his own squad is to blame.
Voting for the 2024 Pro Bowl officially opened on Monday ahead of Week 13. Pats fans looking to help Schooler make the team were disappointed when he was nowhere to be found on the ballot. That's because New England selected veteran Matthew Slater as its one allotted nominee instead.
This snub is shocking to say the least. Yes, Slater is a locker room leader who clearly walks the Patriot Way. That doesn't mean he and his meager two tackles this season are worthy of a nomination, however.
Unfortunately, this looks to be a case of Bill Belichick playing favorites once again. Schooler has not only outpaced Slater in total (11 vs. 2) and solo (9 vs. 2) tackles, but he entered Week 12 tied for the NFL lead in the latter category.
There's a good case to be made that Schooler's 2023 campaign matches up to Slater's three most recent Pro Bowl years, which also earned him All-Pro honors as well. Yet the 26-year-old won't get the spotlight he deserves for a reason only the Patriots' staff knows why.
It's disappointing to see a player who's worked so hard to make an impact at the next level in an important area be overlooked by a bigger name, and one that hasn't produced nearly as much at that. Hopefully the All-Pro voters give Schooler the recognition his own team didn't provide him this offseason.
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