The All-Joe Team was originally comprised by USA Today Sports writer Larry Weisman in honor of Kansas City defensive lineman Joe Phillips after he helped teammates Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith combined to take down quarterbacks 29 times during the 1992 season.
While Thomas and Smith received the brunt of attention, Phillips was instrumental in paving the way to get his teammates to the ball.
The team is an annual presentation of some of the hardest working players in the league. Often, these players are deemed “over-achievers” and rarely get the same level of media attention that some of the top superstars in the league receive. The only parameter of inclusion to the All-Joe Team is that the player has yet to be selected to the Pro Bowl.
However, many All-Joe Team selections go on to be selected to the annual contest in the Rainbow State. Prime example: 2011 All-Joe and 2012 Pro Bowl special teamer Lorenzo Alexander.
Find out why Morris and Lichtensteiger were deserving of the honor here:
When Alfred Morris was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the fact that he would start the team’s week one matchup against the New Orleans Saints seemed outlandish.
The unheralded back out of Florida Atlantic faced stiff competition in the backfield as incumbents Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. were fresh off successful debut campaigns. Morris, however, slowly worked his way up the depth chart showing a consistency to pick up yardage when his number was called.
Not only did Morris crack the starting lineup against the Saints, he exceeded all expectations, slicing the Saints defense for 96 yards and two scores.
Week after week, Morris continually piled up yards and touchdowns, knocking the conjecture that a sixth round pick can’t instantly contribute straight out of FedExField!
As he tacked on more yards, it became apparent that his season was on the verge of legendary status. The “over-achiever” claimed three Rookie of the Week designations, including his 200-yard, three touchdown dandy of a performance against the Dallas Cowboys in week 17. His execution against bitter rival Dallas also garnished NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
After running for 820 yards and eight touchdowns over the final seven games of the season, he found himself in Redskins lore as he smashed the franchise single season record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,613 and finished behind only Adrian Peterson for most rushing yards in the league.
USA Today writer Nate Davis had this to say about Morris’s selection:
“He quickly morphed from unknown sixth rounder to one of the most prolific rookies of all time after rushing for a team record 1,613 yards and trailing only Adrian Peterson for the league crown. Moreover, he keeps it very All-Joe by driving a 1991 Mazda.”
In the middle of the 2011 season, Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a grueling season-ending right knee injury, tearing several ligaments and left many questioning if he would ever have the same impact after such a serious injury.
He answered those questions with authority as he started all 16 games for the first time in his five-year career and showed what kind of impact he can have when he is on the field as he helped clear holes for Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III en route to the league’s best rushing attack, averaging 169.3 yards per contest.
In week six, the Redskins offense faced the tough task of facing one of the best run defenses in the league, the Minnesota Vikings. With former Pro Bowlers Kevin Williams and Jared Allen, the offensive line faced challengers who have created reputations as getting to ball carriers at their own will. Lichtensteiger had other plans.
The Redskins pounded the ball for 183 yards and three touchdowns as the team cruised to a 38-26 victory. The highlight of the game came courtesy of Griffin III as he bolted up the left sideline for a 76 -yard touchdown scamper. While Griffin III deservingly received praise for his sprint across the goal line, Lichtensteiger planted a key block that paved the way for the signal callers record-setting gallop.
After a phenomenal campaign, Lichtensteiger was voted the Ed Block Courage Award by his teammates. The award is given annually to a player who shows outstanding courage in the midst of adversity. I think its safe to say that the honor was justified as he rebounded from major surgery.
Davis had this to say about Lichtensteiger:
“He tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee in 2011, but, like Peterson, was back in top form in 2012 … in a lineman sort of way. Lichtensteiger didn’t miss a game for Washington’s top-ranked running game.”
There’s no doubt in our minds that Alfred and Kory will follow Lorenzo to the beaches of Hawaii as they will be the next All-Joe selections to become Pro Bowlers.
Tags: Alfred Morris, All-Joe Team, evan royster, Kory Lichtensteiger, Lorenzo Alexander, Robert Griffin III, Roy Helu Jr.
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