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On The Pro Bowl, Notes And More

Posted Dec 27, 2011

Congratulations to three deserving Pro Bowl players who made it -- LeSean McCoy, Jason Peters and Jason Babin --with some thoughts on why they are special ...

McCoy deserved to be in the Pro Bowl last season, and there was no denying his presence this time around. McCoy is a superb all-around player who has quickly etched his name among the very best running backs in franchise history.

The day after the Eagles drafted McCoy, I asked running backs coach Ted Williams why the Eagles liked McCoy so much, and Williams was eager to demonstrate. He told me to visualize a box three yards wide by three yards long.

"You get him in this box and try to tackle him," said Williams, "and he'll make you miss. That's what makes him special."

Williams was right on in his analysis. McCoy is the most elusive back in the league, and he has complemented that quickness, vision and anticipation with excellent work habits and the commitment to greatness. No doubt, McCoy is a great back whom the Eagles have used so very well in his three seasons. There is more to come with McCoy, so sit back and enjoy the show.

Peters, maligned by some in his previous two seasons here, isn't hearing any complaints now. He has been phenomenal this season. Peters, already terrific, has limited his mistakes, his penalties and he has been a dominating force under new line coach Howard Mudd. We enjoyed Tra Thomas for a decade here as one of the best left tackles in franchise history. Peters is in that class, and then some. The man has made five straight Pro Bowls, three with the Eagles.

Babin is one of the most unique pass rushers I've ever seen. He is blazing quick off the ball and he has a nose for the quarterback. He has a skill set that allows defensive coordinators to use him in a variety of ways, and Babin combines the speed and tenacity that, and I'm going to admit this here, I think the Eagles hoped Mike Mamula would bring to the table. Babin is the more explosive athlete, though, and that is why his numbers are so great. Mamula worked hard, gave more production that many give him credit for, but Babin's get-off is in a different stratosphere.

All three are worthy Pro Bowl players. The Eagles had a couple of high alternates -- defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins was a first alternate and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was a second alternate -- and both could find their way to Honolulu. I would also think that long snapper Jon Dorenbos will deserve strong consideration when the Pro Bowl coach adds a player prior to the game.

Future Pro Bowl players here? Certainly wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is on his way. So is tight end Brent Celek. I think Jason Kelce has that kind of potential. I'd love to see the young safeties on this team raise their games to Pro Bowl level, too. And placekicker Alex Henery, who has made 22 of 25 field goals, is certainly going to improve his distance in the years to come.

I'm far more about wins and losses than I am about the Pro Bowl, but the players love the recognition and the game is always a big hit with the fans. The Eagles have talent on this roster. The goal is to develop more and more talent and bring along these young players rapidly.

NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT

  • Speaking of Henery, what is his range? The Eagles have brought him along at the right pace, and they've loosened the reins just a bit. He boomed a 51-yard field goal in Dallas, a kick that would have easily been good from 55 yards. Henery needs a good offseason of building strength and working on his stroke and he will come back next season as one of the best kickers in the NFC.
  • Jason Avant and McCoy are each just a couple of catches away from reaching 50 for the season, and if that happens, the Eagles would have five players with 50-plus receptions this year. That's happened only two other times in NFL history. The 1980 Browns and the 1994 Patriots are the only teams to have accomplished that feat.
  • We don't talk about weakside linebacker Brian Rolle a whole lot, but he has impressed this year. The kid has great instincts and plays fast. He isn't big, not at all, but Rolle plays big. Rolle has really made a difference in coverage against running backs since he became a starter this year.
  • The draft class production has been large for the Eagles with Danny Watkins, Henery, Rolle and Kelce starting. If Jaiquawn Jarrett and Curtis Marsh step up next season, the 2011 draft class could be looked on as something fantastic. Both Jarrett and Marsh are key in the team's plans for 2012 and beyond. Huge offseason for the kids.
  • Speaking of the Pro Bowl, Colt Anderson had to gain consideration prior to his injury. He changes the game in coverage, and while Bobby April's cover teams are still battling, the numbers have dropped since Anderson was injured.
  • Looking ahead to Sunday, the defense must stop the Washington running game. The defense knows the deal. Juan Castillo has to get his guys attacking the line of scrimmage, playing downhill football, playing physical and tackling very well. Washington is playing good offensive football the last several weeks with Rex Grossman at quarterback.

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