Philadelphia Eagles News

Unsung Eagles Share In 5-1 Success

Success is a team accomplishment, and there is no "I" in Eagles, but there are some individuals who have been unsung contributors to this 5-1 start. Here is a bit of recognition for them.

And let's understand something first: Injuries have forced the Eagles to reach deep into every corner of their roster, and they have won five of six games because players, some who are considered in the bottom tier of the 53-man roster (and then some), have stepped up and played good, winning football.

DAVID MOLK, center

Great story. David Molk didn't play football last season after he was released by San Diego and earned a contract with the Eagles then fought his way onto the roster with a strong summer and preseason. Then Jason Kelce goes down and, all of a sudden, Molk is the man in the middle of the offensive line.

He's gotten better each week as the starter. Molk is only 287 pounds, but he is quick on his feet, a smart player and a good technician. The Eagles have had some stability up front since the return of right tackle Lane Johnson after his four-game suspension, and the results have been positive for the offensive output.

Molk is the starter until Kelce is healthy. Kelce has projected November 10 as a target date to return, but as long as the Eagles have Molk making strides, they are in capable hands at the center position.

EMMANUEL ACHO/CASEY MATTHEWS, linebacker

Mychal Kendricks may be the best defensive player on this team, so losing him with a calf injury during the win at the Colts was a serious blow to the defense. Fortunately, both Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews have teamed to fill the void.

The coaching staff has done a fine job rotating the two and playing to their strengths. Acho isn't as mobile as is Matthews, but Acho has played the run physically and has been around the ball a lot. Matthews has been effective playing downhill and his performance in space is much improved.

Suddenly, the defense is playing in sync. The dominating performance against the Giants set the bar high, and both players have been part of the success.

BRENT CELEK, tight end

Once upon a time, in 2009, Brent Celek caught 76 passes and was regarded as a premier pass-catching tight end in this league. But the Eagles have shifted the offense over the years and while could still excel in that role, he's been asked to do a lot of other things. Blocking, for example, has been a strength in Celek's game.

And with the offensive line in patchwork mode early in the season with injuries to Kelce and Evan Mathis and the absence of Johnson, Celek did more than his share of blocking to help the line keep quarterback Nick Foles clean in the pocket. Celek is now one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. He can also catch passes and make an impact catching the football, as he showed on Sunday night with 4 catches for 45 yards against the Giants.

Celek has only 10 receptions this season to date, but who's complaining? He's done a fantastic job performing the tasks asked of him.

FLETCHER COX, defensive end

Fletcher Cox has blossomed. There is no doubt about that. He has become a dominating defensive lineman in the 3-man front and he's adjusted to the role over the span of two seasons after a very good rookie campaign in a 4-3 front.

Cox uses his athletic ability and long arms and sheer power to take command at the line of scrimmage. He's done a good job against the run and has added some pressure rushing the quarterback. Cox has come into his own at just the right time for the Eagles.

JAMES CASEY, tight end/special teams

The Eagles signed James Casey in free agency prior to the 2013 season with the idea that he would be a big part in the offense, as well as on special teams. Then they couldn't pass up Stanford tight end Zach Ertz in the draft, and Casey's role in the offense diminished.

It hasn't affected Casey's day-to-day approach, nor in the ways he helps the Eagles. A core part of the special teams, Casey is also helping the passing game. He had a big first-down catch to seal the win over Washington and then caught a pretty 26-yard touchdown pass on Sunday night.

BRANDON GRAHAM, linebacker

The Eagles have some nice depth at outside linebacker behind Trent Cole and Connor Barwin because Brandon Graham has worked so hard to become an effective player on both sides. He's been terrific. Graham is tied for first on the team with seven tackles for loss and is third with six quarterback hurries. He has a pair of sacks and 16 total tackles.

Graham has improved tremendously in pass coverage and his hard work has made him an all-around contributor to the defense.

VINNY CURRY, defensive line

Another young defensive lineman who has made the transition to the scheme, Vinny Curry has four quarterback sacks in the last three games. The Eagles use him a lot in the four-man nickel pass rush and Curry lines up and gets off the ball quickly and makes an impact.

It's been a long road for Curry, who has had to change his body and his approach to the game to earn playing time. The two coaching staffs have been demanding of Curry and he has responded with some strong football in 2014.

DONNIE JONES, punter/holder

We know that Donnie Jones is an outstanding and reliable punter and his precision on kicks inside the 20-yard line – he has 14 of them this season – help the defense with field position. But Jones has also been part of the field goal team that's helped rookie Cody Parkey make such a strong early impression. Along with long snapper Jon Dorenbos, Jones provides great consistency and timing on field goals, and that has really aided Parkey.

The veteran leadership of Jones and Dorenbos gives Parkey great guidance, and the young man has been nearly perfect in six games. Jones is a flawless holder and, together with Dorenbos and Parkey, make for one of the best kicking games in the league.

JASON PETERS, left tackle

He's really not unsung, as Jason Peters is recognized as one of the best left tackles in the NFL, but this is just a shout out to him for the performance he has had this season. Peters is a rock. He's solid. He takes on the best pass rushers and takes them out of the game.

The Eagles have had a lot of movement along the offensive line this season, but they've had Peters start each week at left tackle. He's got the bind side of quarterback Nick Foles handled. Not many teams in the league have that position so ably covered.

CHRIS MARAGOS, safety/special teams

The impact of Chris Maragos on special teams has deservedly gained a lot of attention. He does the dirty work on special teams as a cover specialist, as the personal protector for Jones on punts, and as a blocker in the return game. Maragos has a blocked punt and a punt block returned for a touchdown to his credit, and he's been an example of the selfless nature this locker room brings to work every day.

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