49ers top the 2011 All Pro team

You know that a 6-11 team has turned it around to 13-3, when you put out the highest number of players to the Associated Press NFL All Pro team.

Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback for the first time, easily beating New Orleans’ Drew Brees, 47½ to 2½. Rodgers led Green Bay to a league-best 15-1 record, maintaining the brilliance he showed in taking the Packers to the Super Bowl title last February.

Calvin Johnson and Jared Allen each received 49 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. It’s the fourth All-Pro team for Allen, who led the league with 22 sacks, one-half short of the record. Johnson makes it for the first time after hauling in 96 catches for a 17.5-yard average and scoring 16 touchdowns.

But the real success, in my opinion, is that of the San Francisco 49ers. Making the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. An entirely new coaching staff in a year where there was no off-season practice. The team is chosen by the Associated Press and represents the best players at each position from the NFL season. It is essentially a starting team on both offense and defense as well as a kicker and punter. In total, 28 players were named to the All-Pro team.

San Francisco placed three defensive players on the All-Pro team. Justin Smith made the team at defensive tackle and also received votes as a defensive end. Smith had a great season and should be considered for defensive player of the year honors as well. He ended the regular season with 58 tackles, seven and a half sacks, and three forced fumbles for the 49er defense.

Linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis also on the All-Pro team after having tremendous seasons. San Francisco placing two of the four linebackers on the team is a testament to how well the unit played this season. Bowman finished seventh in the NFL with 143 tackles and had two sacks on the season. His emergence as a playmaker on defense alongside Willis was a big breakthrough for San Francisco this season. Willis had 97 tackles, two sacks, four forced fumbles, and an interception on the season. He accomplished all this while missing four games with a hamstring injury.

San Francisco also placed both kicker David Akers and punter Andy Lee on the All-Pro team. Akers made 44 out of 52 field goals on the season and scored 166 total points for San Francisco. The team will need these two to continue their excellent play in the playoffs if they hope to continue on.

San Francisco placed more players on the All-Pro team than any other team in the NFL this season. Who came in second? Well John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens of course, with three.