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Chandler Jones, Budda Baker Named To Pro Bowl

Dennis Gardeck, Zane Gonzalez, Kyler Murray named as alternates

Safety Budda Baker (left) and linebacker Chandler Jones were named to the Pro Bowl Tuesday.
Safety Budda Baker (left) and linebacker Chandler Jones were named to the Pro Bowl Tuesday.

Kliff Kingsbury didn't want to get into details when it came to who he thought deserved Pro Bowl consideration from his team this season.

"I think some of the numbers speak for themselves," Kingsbury said.

The number 15 certainly does – as in the number of sacks outside linebacker Chandler Jones has piled up this season. Tuesday night, the number three also did too – as in the number of Pro Bowl selections Jones has received, including one for 2019.

Jones wasn't the only Cardinal selected. Safety Budda Baker was also voted in by the players, coaches and fans. Both players will start.

"(Chandler) has been pretty dominant all year and has played so many snaps and continues to show up and wreak havoc every week when he gets an opportunity," Kingsbury said Monday of his best pass rusher.

Three Cardinals were also named as alternates: special teamer Dennis Gardeck, kicker Zane Gonzalez and quarterback Kyler Murray.

Baker, who was named to a Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2017 on special teams, has 135 tackles this season, six passes defensed and five tackles for loss. He's been a steadying influence in a secondary dominated with youth and with cornerback Patrick Peterson missing six games with a suspension.

"Of course, I had that pride feeling," Baker said. "When I made it my rookie year, people would say, 'A lot of people can do that as a special teamer.' This year as the free safety, that's definitely special for me."

Jones, meanwhile, still has a chance to eclipse his own franchise record for sacks in a season, with the 17 he got in 2017. It wasn't lost on the duo that two defensive players on the team were picked in a year where the Cardinals' defense has struggled.

"It feels good to earn respect from the guys across the league,your peers and the coaches," Jones said. "Unfortunately things didn't go the way we wanted them to go this year, but for us to get that recognition, it means a lot for sure."

It's been a season-long story about Jones' lack of national recognition, stemming both from an exclusion last season from the Pro Bowl and then the exclusion from the annual NFL Top 100 players list.

Jones mostly has downplayed the consideration, noting after this Pro Bowl pick he just needs to keep working and eventually, honors will come.

"I feel like (my performance) is something expected of me," Jones said earlier this season. "This organization, when (GM) Steve Keim signed me for a five-year deal (in 2017), he knew what I was capable of doing. He didn't sign me to get the accolades, he signed me to get the stats.

"As far as being overlooked or not being talked about, this is what is expected of me. If I were to be out there and not doing what I'm doing, then I'm being talked about, that Chandler Jones is just taking money and not getting sacks."