Only four teams have zero Pro Bowl selections on the initial 2023 Pro Bowl roster: the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots. The Panthers, Commanders and Patriots have won 10 combined games this season, while the Packers are set to play a win-and-in game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday — meaning that they’re likely the only playoff team to be without Pro Bowl representation this season.
A few Packers do have a chance to earn a spot in the Pro Bowl festivities, which no longer feature a tackle football game, depending on the volume of dropouts, though. Outside linebacker Rashan Gary is the team’s only first alternate for the Pro Bowl. If Gary is invited up as a replacement, it will mark his first Pro Bowl in his NFL career. Despite starting the season on a pitch count — as he was recovering from a season-ending ACL tear — Gary has managed to record nine sacks in 2023 to go along with 22 quarterback hits.
The Packers’ second alternates are left guard Elgton Jenkins, defensive lineman Kenny Clark, cornerback Jaire Alexander and return man Keisean Nixon. The most egregious snub here is probably Nixon, who was left off the Pro Bowl roster last year despite earning First-Team All-Pro honors.
Nixon currently leads the NFL with 761 kick return yards, nearly 300 yards more than any other player. Among the top 11 returners, in terms of number of kick returns, only one — Rasheed Blackshear — has a higher yard-per-return average. Blackshear, who has 14 kick returns on the season, has returned fewer than half of the kicks that Nixon (29) has.
Here is at the player level. Nixon is the only player who has returned deep kicks for the Packers (Heath/Reed have some onside "returns" but those have always been excluded). pic.twitter.com/mPbD6d9X66— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) January 3, 2024
According to Shaun Newkirk, one of Twitter’s resident stat nerds, calculated that Nixon has added 64 return yards to the Packers’ kicking game in 2023. That number is nearly three times as valuable as any non-Blackshear returner this season, and north of 50 percent more valuable than Blackshear’s campaign. Don’t be surprised if Nixon once again earns another All-Pro honor, while the Pro Bowl process continues to overlook his impact.