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Vandermeer's View: Two Texans Part of the 'New' Pro Bowl


Upon arriving in Honolulu, I was thoroughly prepared to endorse a quick return to the old Pro Bowl format of AFC vs NFC. But after checking out the draft and hearing Deion Sanders promise that J.J. Watt will get touches on offense, I'll reserve judgment.

Watt and Duane Brown are the only Texans here (Andre Johnson is injured) and they'll both play on Team Sanders, coached by Chuck Pagano and quarterbacked by new Texans villain Andrew Luck.

Last year, I took photos of Watt catching passes from Peyton Manning in pre game warm ups. This year, I imagine I'll be filing shots of Watt on the receiving end of throws from Manning's Indy replacement.

The fact that Sanders put something like that out there and the overall spirit of fun surrounding this year's event might make it a better show. As fans, that's what you care about most but believe me, the players cherish the week here as time well spent with their families and friends after a grueling season.

I'll be eager to catch up with the two Texans here and also get some thoughts on Bill O'Brien from Patriots and former O'Brien pupils Logan Mankins and Mathew Slater.

Last year, nine Texans made the trip. It seems like yesterday we were making sense of a 2012 season that slid in the wrong direction with losses in four of the last six games overall. And If you had told me that I would be standing on the same island one year later, asking questions about a new coach who took over following a 2-14 meltdown, I would say you shouldn't operate heavy machinery. Yet here we are.

This event is just a blip on the off season radar. But there are plenty of angles to take in. Pagano's team has two second year QBs in Luck and Nick Foles (plus third year man, Cam Newton).

And speaking of Pagano, how many would have picked him to be in the post season his first two seasons? The Texans are hoping that a first year NFL coach and young quarterback make a lot of noise fast. I'll ask some of these guys how they were able to do it.

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