January 04, 2019
Two Philadelphia Eagles players made the Associated Press NFL First-Team All-Pro team. They were C Jason Kelce and DT Fletcher Cox. This is Kelce's second consecutive first-team All-Pro nod, and it's the first first-team All-Pro selection for Cox, who was a second-team All-Pro in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Kelce is the most athletic center in the NFL, capable of making plays in the screen game, and pulling to the edge that other centers simply cannot do. Hell, he may be the most athletic center ever. Kelce played through pain all season and was still an elite center.
Cox, meanwhile, probably had his best season in the NFL, as he had 46 tackles (including 12 tackles for loss), 10.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an incredibly impressive 34 hits on the quarterback.
There were also some snubs.
• The lack of appreciation for Malcolm Jenkins nationally continues to astound me. No safety wears as many hats as Jenkins, from his ability to play safety, slot corner, outside corner, and linebacker, to his leadership qualities. The fact that the Eagles lost their top three corners and their starting safety opposite Jenkins, and the secondary didn't completely fall apart, is a testament to Jenkins' importance to the team. The fact that the Vikings' Harrison Smith got in over Jenkins is laughable.
• The All-Pro team includes specifically two right tackles, and the first-team and second-team All-Pro lists somehow didn't include Lane Johnson. Again, that is laughable. While Johnson did give up a pair of sacks that resulted in fumbles early in the season, he is also asked to play on an island against the league's most elite pass rushers, while just about every other right tackle in the league would receive a ton of help against, say, J.J. Watt of the Texans, who Johnson obliterated Week 16.
Johnson was motivated by a Pro Bowl snub a couple weeks ago, as he showed up at the team's facilities at 2:30 a.m. after he learned that he was only an alternate.
"I thought it was kind of odd but that’s dealing with Lane," Doug Pederson said. "I think last week, he wanted to prove a point to himself and maybe to the voters out there, that he's a pretty good tackle. We think he's a pretty good tackle.
"These last couple of games, he's demonstrated that, and obviously against a tremendous pass rusher in J.J. Watt yesterday, who wasn't around the quarterback a whole lot, which was a good thing. So credit to Lane. His preparation, I'm sure inside he was mad and upset that he wasn't in the conversation, but he probably feels like he's better than an alternate in the Pro Bowl. But his preparation was the same. He came to work and put in the time, and I think he shows it by taking it out on his opponent in the game."
Expect a highly motivated Johnson against Khalil Mack on Sunday.
• Another great candidate for an All-Pro nod was Brandon Brooks, though in fairness, I can't say I'm aware of the types of seasons Zack Martin and Marshal Yanda had.
• And finally, most will point to Zach Ertz as a snub, seeing as he broke the single-season record for most catches by a tight end. However, both Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and George Kittle of the Niners have very good All-Pro arguments of their own:
In 2017, Kelce and Johnson were first-team All-Pros, while Cox and Carson Wentz were second-team All-Pros.
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