The Eagles made a number of big-ticket free agent signings this offseason, but they might be getting the most impact from one of the under-the-radar additions.
According to Pro Football Focus, an independent online service that grades each and every player, left guard Evan Mathis ranks second at his position through the first five weeks of the NFL season.
Mathis graded out at a 7.6 rating overall, but it's been his run blocking that received rave reviews as he has a 5.1 rating in helping the league's top-ranked rushing attack. Mathis has a 1.5 in pass blocking, a 0.5 in screen blocking and a 0.5 in penalties.
"I think I've done what I've needed to do to keep getting better every year," Mathis said. "I've always put it on myself to continue to improve. So far, I think I am playing the best (of my career), but I still know I have plenty of potential. There's plenty of room to go."
Mathis knows that while the acknowledgement is great, it really doesn't mean a whole lot in a business that is more about what-have-you-done-for-me-lately.
"That rating and a $1.50 might get me a bottle of Coke," he said. "I keep trying to get better every day."
It's not the first time that Pro Football Focus has praised Mathis. In 2009, they proclaimed Mathis as player that deserved more attention. The 6-5, 302-pound Mathis was a third-round pick of the Panthers in 2005 and has also played for the Bengals and Dolphins. It would be easy to point to offensive line coach Howard Mudd's scheme as a reason for Mathis' success, but he said that he believes he's been a good fit wherever he's played.
"I've played in different schemes and when I'm on the field I play pretty decent. His scheme does call for more athletic linemen and your duties require some athleticism to do it and I think I do fit that very well," Mathis said. "Not to take away that I can't do another person's scheme, there are some schemes out there that are built around bigger guards. If you're carrying 30 pounds more fat than I am, what good is that going to do for you. Is it really going to give you that much power in the trenches?"
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