Pair of Rams Making Pro Bowl Push

Posted Nov 19, 2013

With six weeks remaining in the NFL season, the Pro Bowl voting period is in full swing, and two Rams in the midst of banner seasons appear poised to make their Pro Bowl debuts.

Defensive end Robert Quinn and punter Johnny Hekker have each performed among the best in the league at their respective positions, and have positioned themselves in reach of the NFL’s all-star game.

In his third NFL season, Quinn enters this week with 12 sacks, a figure that leads the NFC and ranks second in the NFL to Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis, who has 13.5.

“I think his play speaks for itself,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said following Quinn’s two-sack performance against Indianapolis. “I think he clearly has the respect around the league already. We see that week to week from offenses.”

Hekker, in just his second NFL season, leads the NFL in net punting yardage at 43.5. Led by his efforts, the Rams have excelled in the area of punt coverage, and have allowed just 73 return yards this year, which ranks second-fewest in the NFL. Only 23 of Hekker’s 53 punts this year have been returned.

If named to the roster, Hekker would become the first Rams punter to be selected for the Pro Bowl since Dale Hatcher in 1985.

“That would mean a lot for me, just as far as the hard work I’ve put in this season and improving upon last season,” Hekker said. “I think it would mean even more to add that validation to my teammates. They’ve worked so hard. Maybe I would take a couple of them with me. We’ve worked so hard collectively to put this product on the field. Coach ‘Bones’ (special teams coordinator John Fassel) and Coach ‘Fish’ have us doing the right things and playing the right way, playing for each other, and that’s paid off so far.”

For the first time, this year’s Pro Bowl rosters will not be divided between the NFC and AFC. Fans, coaches and players will have a stake in selecting this year’s rosters, with 88 players to be chosen in all, divided up by position. Hekker’s performance through 10 games could place him in line to be one of the two punters chosen, and Quinn appears well on his way to be one of six defensive ends selected for the game.

If both Rams are selected, it would be the first time the Rams have had multiple Pro Bowlers since 2006, when WR Torry Holt, RB Steven Jackson and QB Marc Bulger represented St. Louis. Quinn could also become the first Rams defensive player named to the game since Leonard Little in 2003.

While the recognition would be appreciated, Quinn’s desire for personal accolades pales in comparison to his focus for the final six weeks of the season.

“If I’m blessed enough to be able make it in there, it would be a great accomplishment, but I just want to finish this season strong, personally and as a team,” Quinn said. “I’d like to see if we can make even a playoff push. It’s going to be tough, but that’s the main goal of mine.”

Pro Bowl balloting concludes December 26, and rosters will be announced in early January. Vote Your Rams to the Pro Bowl!