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February 01, 2020

Handing out awards for the 2019 Eagles, NFL Honors-style

Each year on the night before the Super Bowl, the NFL has its version of the Oscars, when it hands out awards for the regular season. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles are unlikely to have any winners, so let's go ahead an do an Eagles-only version of the NFL Honors awards show.

Most Valuable Player: Carson Wentz

There were some ups and downs along the way, but Wentz put any doubts about his status as the franchise quarterback to bed during the Eagles' late season run to the playoffs when he put an injury-devastated team on his back and willed them to four straight wins, two of which were fourth quarter comeback wins.

Coach of the Year: Doug Pederson

To be clear, I considered all Eagles coaches here, but landed on the top guy. After their embarrassing loss in Miami, the Eagles were 5-7 and at rock bottom, looking nothing like a team that had a chance to make the playoffs. However, Pederson kept the team invested, when other teams might have just packed it in for the season. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Brandon Brooks

Brooks made the Pro Bowl in 2018, so his inclusion here might confuse some. However, after rupturing his Achilles in a January 13 playoff loss to the Saints last year, Brooks somehow rehabbed in time to participate in training camp, a mere six months later. He got himself ready to play Week 1, and turned in a season in which he should have made the All-Pro team, but got snubbed.

Offensive Player of the Year: Zach Ertz

We'll go with a non-quarterback here, and in my view, while Miles Sanders had more yards from scrimmage, I don't know where the team would have been in 2019 without Ertz, who was by far Wentz's most reliable target. Ertz's numbers were down a touch in 2019, but he still caught 88 balls for 916 yards and 6 TDs, despite often drawing double teams, and/or the opposing defense's best cover corner.

Defensive Player of the Year: Brandon Graham

There isn't a slam dunk obvious choice here, but we'll go with Graham, who was healthy again after a down year in 2018. He led the team in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (17), while also playing outstanding run defense, as always. 

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Miles Sanders

Duh. Sanders should be getting more consideration for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, given that he led all rookies with 1,327 yards. But beyond the stats, Sanders really turned it on late in the season, when the Eagles desperately needed a player to provide an explosive spark.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: T.J. Edwards

The Eagles only drafted one defensive player, Shareef Miller in the fourth round, and he didn't play a single snap as a rookie, either in the regular defense or on special teams. That makes the obvious choice Edwards, an undrafted special teamer who only played 115 snaps in the regular defense, and still ended up with 30 total tackles.

Clutch Performance Play of the Year: Sidney Jones

I can think of about a half-dozen extremely un-clutch plays the Eagles made in 2019. 

On the clutch side, Greg Ward's touchdown reception against Washington is a good candidate, but I'm going to go with Jones' fourth quarter pass breakup in the end zone on fourth down against the Cowboys. 

The moment the schedule came out in April, we all pretty much knew that the Eagles-Cowboys matchup Week 16 would likely decide the division, and Jones made the biggest play in the biggest moment of the biggest game. Two weeks prior, he also made a huge play against the Giants, when he batted down a fourth down pass intended for Darius Slayton that also sealed a win.

Jones' Eagles career has been a disappointment so far, but at least he has those two moments.

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