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Mudd Returning In 2012

Posted Jan 1, 2012

Howard Mudd has told the team that he will return to coach the offensive line in 2012.

"I'm very happy. I didn't know the cat was out of the bag," offensive tackle Todd Herremans said after the Eagles' 34-10 win Sunday over the Redskins. "I like Howard. I like his methods. He's a good personality to have on the team. I'm excited for him to come back because I think we're going to get better and better."

Mudd was lured out of retirement by head coach Andy Reid and the Eagles in February 2011 after one brief year away from football. The 2012 season will be his 38th in the NFL. Despite the lockout-shortened offseason, Mudd put together a line that consisted of only one person returning to the same position from the previous year - left tackle Jason Peters.

The Eagles had two rookies (center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins) start more than 10 games on the offensive line for the first time in franchise history. Left guard Evan Mathis was a veteran journeyman signed during training camp. Right tackle Todd Herremans moved to that spot from left guard late in the preseason. Herremans didn't play a single snap at right tackle in the exhibition season.

Despite all of that, the Eagles allowed 17 fewer sacks than the 2010 regular season. Running back LeSean McCoy enjoyed a breakout season that ended with his first Pro Bowl nomination as he led the NFL in total touchdowns and was second in the NFC in rushing yards. Peters has been called by many analysts the best offensive tackle playing in the game now and earned his fifth straight Pro Bowl selection.

"I love Coach Mudd’s system. It capitalizes on everyone’s athleticism. You get to initiate contact in pass protection, which allows you to stop a guy at the line," Mathis said. "It’s a good mix of zone and man."

Kelce said that when Mudd met with the offensive linemen earlier this week, the veteran coach said that he's only had one year that was more fun as a coach - the Super Bowl championship season in Indianapolis back in 2006.

"We were (8-8), but the way the offensive line came together, the strides we made as a unit, he's very pleased with that," Kelce said.

Mathis is a free agent this offseason after only signing a one-year deal back in training camp. The thought of playing for Mudd again and the success he had with the Eagles makes him want to return.

“I like the situation here so much more than the other places I’ve been," said Mathis, who wrapped up his seventh NFL season. "I’m playing my best football and I get to be on the field every week. Everybody on this line is very, very good and there’s still so much room for improvement."

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