*The Falcons have a league-high nine players on the Pro Bowl roster, and as practice begins this week in Hawaii, AtlantaFalcons.com begins a breakdown of each player on Atlanta's roster on hand for the league's all-star game, who they're playing with and some of the interesting matchups that present themselves within the game. *
Quarterback:Quarterbacks may have the most fun in the Pro Bowl because they have the league's best weapons at their disposal. Joining Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in Hawaii this year is Eagles signal-caller Michael Vick and Saints QB Drew Brees.
The quarterback position is utilized a little differently than other positions in the Pro Bowl. Each quarterback generally will play a little over one quarter of the game, but can go back in at any time. Players at other positions are funneled in and out of the game repeatedly.
Vick enjoyed a season that saw him rush for more yards than any other quarterback in the league and added nine touchdowns on the ground. The dual-threat QB also passed for over 3,000 yards with 21 touchdowns. His 100.2 QB rating ranked second in the NFC.
The NFC South foe, Brees, had another stellar season, leading the NFC in touchdown passes and yards.
Ryan, in many ways, was the division's most well-rounded quarterback, ranking in the top five in many of the most important QB statistics.
Three of the four wide receivers Ryan will be throwing to all have similar games. Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White will have the luxury of built-in chemistry with the third-year passer, but Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Detroit's Calvin Johnson will be able to do many similar things on the field as White.
The X-factor and a duo to watch is what Ryan may have the opportunity to do with Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson, widely considered one of the most exciting players in the NFL. Jackson has the speed to take a 10-yard pass and turn it into a gain of 70 yards.
At tight end, Ryan will have another friendly face to team up with. Tony Gonzalez makes his first appearance on the NFC Pro Bowl squad in his career and is joined by Dallas Cowboys stalwart Jason Witten. Both players are capable blockers with very sure hands and Ryan may look to them often as the best of the best on defense in the AFC will be gunning for him.
Perhaps the best test of all for Ryan will be the cornerbacks he'll be watching in coverage against his receivers. Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha and the Jets' Darrelle Revis are widely believed to be the two best corners in the league.
Running back:Joining Atlanta's Michael Turner at running back is Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and St. Louis' Steven Jackson. The three backs were the top three rushers in the NFC this year. Peterson and Turner were also tied for the conference lead with 12 touchdowns. Jackson was a huge part of the Rams' surprising season, providing the team's rookie quarterback Sam Bradford with a reliable running game to take off some of the pressure.
All three running backs will be running behind Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli. Mughelli's straight-ahead style will match the rushing games of each back well. All three are deceptively elusive, but have reputations as tough, between-the-tackles backs.
Turner and the others will be butting heads with middle linebackers Ray Lewis from the Ravens and Jerod Mayo of New England. Mughelli will relish the opportunity to run against his former Ravens teammate, Lewis.