He dealt with the pressure of living up to a monster contract. He assimilated himself into a new offense and a new blocking scheme. On top of that, he persevered through numerous injuries throughout the season.
In the end, left tackle Jason Peters still managed to earn his third-straight Pro Bowl bid in his first year with the Eagles and his first year in the NFC after spending his first five years with the Buffalo Bills. The best part for Peters was the chance to play in a postseason game for the first time in his career.
"It felt good just to get a taste of the playoffs, even though we got knocked out in the first round," Peters said. "It felt good with the atmosphere and to be back home in Texas playing in my first playoff game."
The Eagles paid a king's ransom for the 6-4, 340-pound All-Pro. The week before the 2009 draft, the Eagles gave the Bills a first-round, a fourth-round and a sixth-round draft pick and at the same time provided Peters with a lifetime of financial security in the form of a six-year contract.
Head coach Andy Reid said that he was the best left tackle in pro football. Critics cited that he surrendered a league-high 13 sacks, according to the website Pro Football Focus.
As Peters embarked on his first training camp, he suffered a quad injury and missed some of the early practices. His absence wasn't critical then, but it proved to be during the regular season. In the loss at Oakland, Peters suffered a knee injury and missed most of the contest leaving the inexperienced King Dunlap against Richard Seymour. In the opening act of the trilogy against the Cowboys, Peters incurred an ankle injury early in the game, but fought valiantly to get back in the game and help contain DeMarcus Ware. Peters was unable to suit up the following week in San Diego. He also missed most of the Atlanta game with shoulder and head injuries.
Despite the new offense and the tough luck with the injuries, Peters cut the number of sacks allowed in half to six per Pro Football Focus. And he was rewarded with a third-straight Pro Bowl nomination even though skeptics believe the honor was influenced by his reputation more than his play.
"Go back and check my stats. The times I did give up sacks, it was good defense by the DBs, it was a mental error or something. I was just trying to learn the system," Peters said. "I was trying to learn the way Donovan (McNabb) dropped and all of that."
Now, Peters will have a new quarterback to defend in Kevin Kolb. In Kolb's two starts in 2009, he was only sacked once. And Peters wants to help keep that number low. That's why he took part in the off-season conditioning program for the first time in his NFL career.
"I just go out there and do my thing," Peters said. "I'm always going to work; never get comfortable. I'm always going to bring it day in, day out. You have to put in the work here as you build up for the season. By the time training camp and the season rolls around, we're going to be hitting on all cylinders."
And with a familiarity of the offense, Peters believes that the left side of the offensive line with guard Todd Herremans can be outstanding in 2010.
"We can be very dominant. I was getting a feel for Todd last year," Peters said. "I know how he plays now."
If Peters can put together a fourth-straight Pro Bowl effort this season, maybe even his critics might have to start coming around to Peters' head coach's way of thinking.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:15 p.m., June 24