Setting aside the Pro Bowl’s merits or lack thereof, seeing your favorite players recognized for their greatness never gets old. Even in a disappointing year like the one we’re currently enduring from our Atlanta Falcons, there are bright spots to be found.
Jessie Bates and Chris Lindstrom have been two of them, so it’s only fitting that they have both gotten Pro Bowl nods for their work this season.
We’ll start with Bates, a splash signing this offseason who has been everything the Falcons possibly could have hoped for. In 16 games thus far, Bates has a career-high six interceptions to his name, including a pick-six, plus a career-best yards per reception number. A big-time playmaker who has also been a needed, reliable tackler and safety net on the backend of Ryan Nielsen’s defense, Bates is the best defender on the team and a long-term building block for Atlanta given his youth. There’s little question he deserved this one.
Ditto Lindstrom. After a slower start to the season by his lofty standards, Lindstrom has returned to form as a very good pass protector—27 guards have allowed more sacks and 69 have allowed more pressures—and Pro Football Focus’s top run blocker at his position. Like Bates, Lindstrom is a young building block for this team, and a player who will be instrumental to Atlanta’s offensive turnaround in 2024, under Arthur Smith or another play caller.
Congratulations to both Bates and Lindstrom, and may these honors be earned again in 2024.