January 10, 2018
After every game during the regular season, we handed out 10 awards, win or lose. With the regular season over, we'll borrow the "NFL Honors" that the league awards the week of the Super Bowl, and apply them just to the Eagles.
Duh. With Wentz, the Eagles would likely be touchdown favorites at home on Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons. Without him, they are 2.5-point underdogs as the No. 1 seed, to a No. 6 seed.
Any logical person who saw Wentz play this season knows how special of a player he is. There's almost nothing not to like. He's 6'5, 240, strong arm, accuracy has become a strength, mobility, ability to throw on the run, incredibly smart, tough, mature, willing to make difficult throws, open to coaching, and his teammates love him.
Assuming he doesn't have injuries plague his career, Wentz's ceiling is, "Best player in the NFL." That's what Eagles fans have to look forward to for the next decade-plus.
You could go so many different directions here. Jim Schwartz is certainly a good candidate. In 2015, the last year under Chip Kelly, the Eagles had the 30th ranked defense in the NFL. Two years later, they were fourth.
Or how about John DeFilippo, who has been credited with the development of Wentz, and is one of the hottest head coaching candidates this offseason. And to a lesser degree, there's Cory Undlin, who coached up a defensive secondary that many felt was the weak link on the team heading into the season. Or maybe Mike Groh, who got Dorial Green-Beckham the hell out of here.
But we'll just go with Dougy P, for his ability to keep it all together, despite the devastating losses to Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, and Darren Sproles. The Eagles took each new injury in stride and simply kept winning. Pederson deserves a ton of credit for the season he had.
Also, I personally loved BB Doug's aggressive style on fourth down and in two point conversion scenarios.
Pederson is also a strong candidate for NFL Coach of the Year, though it'll likely go to the Los Angeles Rams' Sean McVay.
Johnson faced a new stud pass rusher seemingly every week. A quick list of edge rushers who primarily rushed against Johnson: Ryan Kerrigan twice, Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul twice, Joey Bosa, Von Miller, DeMarcus Lawrence, Michael Bennett, and Khalil Mack.
Johnson shut them out, sack-wise.
Johnson rhetorically asked on Tuesday, "Who else am I going to see, Godzilla out there?"
As noted above, the Eagles had the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL this season, but there was no one "star player." I had a difficult time choosing between Graham and Fletcher Cox, but landed on Graham, who had a career high 9.5 sacks on top of 16 additional tackles for loss. Graham was outstanding against the run all season long, helping the Eagles earn the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, and as always, he consistently put pressure on the quarterback.
Clement had 71 carries for 321 yards (4.3 YPC) and 4 TDs. He also chipped in 10 receptions for 123 yards and 2 TDs, including this great catch on what was arguably the play of the year from Wentz:
Clement was clearly a nice find as an undrafted free agent.
Barnett proved to be a valuable rotational defensive end in his rookie season, tallying five sacks, a forced fumble that led to a TD, two fumble recoveries, two blocked FG/PAT attempts, and the Eagles had him down for 32 QBPs (pressures + hits on the QB).
It would appear Barnett has a bright future.
When I think of a "comeback" player, I think of a player who was good once, then wasn't for whatever reason, then was again. That would disqualify Nelson Agholor for me since he was never good before this season.
Even still, there's no better choice than Kelce, who had a really rough season in 2016, was trade bait during the 2017 offseason, and then had an All-Pro season.
To note, called it.
He's making this.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) September 24, 2017
Who cares? Just give it to Wentz, I guess.
The Eagles lost this game, of course, but holy hell what a throw.
That is amazing.
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