Let’s give out some awards for the 2013 season.
MVP – Nick Foles
I easily could have chosen Shady for this, but the emergence of Foles seemed to help the whole team. A hot QB just puts an extra bounce in everyone’s step. Nick didn’t turn the ball over but a few times, which kept pressure off the defense. The Eagles didn’t have a lot of 3 & outs so that helped with field position as well. One of the best things I think you can say about a QB is that he makes the players around him better. Foles had that effect this year. DeSean Jackson had a career year. So did Riley Cooper. And Shady. TEs became impact players. And Foles ran for 221 yards. Great year.
Offensive Player of the Year – LeSean McCoy
Shady led the NFL in rushing. He scored 11 TDs and had over 2,000 total yards. Amazing season. No matter who the QB was, they had an elite RB to feed the ball to. Watching him on the final drive in GB and in the 4th quarter against the Lions was just special.
Defensive Player of the Year – Trent Cole
I could have gone a couple of different directions since no player had a great year. I chose Cole since he led the team in sacks and FFs. He also had 5 TFLs and 4 PDs. Cole did a great job against the run. He set the edge when plays came at him. He chased down RBs from behind when they went away. He also set a great example for everyone with his attitude. Cole embraced the move to OLB. He didn’t complain at all and did everything that was asked of him. There was a time in the first Dallas game when he covered Jason Witten down the seam. He lined up over Calvin Johnson in the Lions game a time or two. Just last week, Cole broke up a pass. Cole set the tone for the switch to the 3-4. Not all veterans do that.
Special Teams Player of the Year – Donnie Jones
Donnie Football, as he is now known, had a terrific season. He set the Eagles record for punts inside the 20. Almost half of his punts (33 of 82) were downed inside the 20. That’s amazing. He also had some timely rockets. His 56-yarder late in the Dallas game was huge. A short kick gives Dallas a ton of confidence. Instead, they were backed up further than they expected to be.
Rookie of the Year – Lane Johnson
Boring choice, right? There’s no fun in going with the 1st round pick. But Johnson had a good year. He started slow, but kept working on his technique and he learned from his mistakes. Go watch an early game. You’ll see how passive he was. Re-watch the Saints game and you see Johnson fire off the ball, even in pass pro. The sky is the limit for this young man.
Comeback Player of the Year – Jason Peters
I thought about Jason Kelce for this award, but chose Peters since he is older and has a tad more bulk to his frame. The bigger and older you are, the harder it can be to come back from a major injury. Peters didn’t make it all the way back to 2011 form, but he had a good year. He was voted to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro. I expect him to be even better in 2014.
Playmaker of the Year – Brandon Boykin
FFs. INTs. Big tackles. Downing punts inside the 5. Boykin did it all. He played in less than 60 percent of the defensive snaps Boykin broke up 17 passes and picked off 6 more. Just wait til he fully figures out what he’s doing. 2 of the INTs came in the Red Zone. He sealed wins against WAS and DAL with late picks.
Unsung MVP – Jason Avant
38 catches and 2 TDs doesn’t sound like much to get excited about, but Avant has value beyond the numbers. He is an outstanding run blocker. He’s a good blocker on WR screens. And he is a great teammate. Avant, as much as anyone, kept the peace after the Riley Cooper incident. Don’t underestimate just how critical that was for this team, on an off the field. Cooper’s production proved to be huge. It was also important to have the team stay as one and play together. If this group had splintered, there is no way they win 10 games.
Breakout Player of the Year – Riley Cooper
Coooer was down in the Marianas Trench back in August. He was lower than low. He said the right things to his teammates to work through that time and got himself to the season. But then Cooper wasn’t producing. When Foles took over and threw the ball his way, Riley turned into a playmaker. From outcast to underachiever to key player in about 2 months. Crazy.
Most Disappointing Player – Pat Chung
I wasn’t expecting the second coming of Brian Dawkins, but I also didn’t think I’d prefer rookie Earl Wolff on the field to him. Chung struggled to stay healthy. He missed some very costly tackles. He had a TFL, broke up 3 passes and recovered a fumble. That is a good game, but not a good season.
Assistant Coach of the Year – Bill Lazor
Mike Vick got off to a great start before he got hurt. Then Foles came in and led the league in QB rating. Matt Barkley didn’t play so well, but I thought he threw the ball better than ever. Give Lazor credit for coaching these guys up and getting them to show improvement. It will be real interesting to see if he gets another job. I certainly hope not because I want to see what kind of progress he can make with the QBs going forward.
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Now let’s have some fun.
The Wide-9 Can Kiss My Ass Award – Nate Allen
Put Nate in a conventional defense and he suddenly doesn’t suck. Who knew?
Comeback Player of the Year…Within the 2013 Season – Todd Herremans
After the KC game, we were all ready for Todd to be benched. His pass protection got worlds better. He changed some things technically and kept working all year long.
The Hipster Linebacker of the Year – Connor Barwin
Mr. First Down – Brad Smith
We threw him the ball twice all year. Both were screens. He got 1st downs both times. Am I the only one who wanted to see a few more passes go his way?
The “Holy Crap, Will You Please Learn to Tackle” Award – Mychal Kendricks
Such a special talent. Such a frustrating player. He can cover. He can blitz. He can make plays. If only he was a more consistent tackler. Ugh. Kendricks plays too fast at times and gets out of control. Let’s hope Rick Minter can cure him of that this summer. I considered giving MK The “What do you mean I get to stay in the same position” Award, but didn’t want to jinx him. He’s played 2 years and already has multiple starts at WLB, SAM and 3-4 ILB.
Mr. Safety – Cedric Thornton
Back the offense up near the goal line and watch him work. Best run defender on the team in 2013. Now about that pass rush…
Good Teammate Award – Mike Vick
Vick could have made life miserable for a lot of people this year, but he supported Nick Foles and never questioned Chip Kelly giving Foles the job. Vick said very little, but what he did say was completely supportive of Foles.
Gimme an F Award – Earl Wolff
Wolff showed real promise as a rookie. He looked nothing like Jaiquawn Jarrett, CJ Gaddis, Macho Harris or the rest of the recent failures. If Earl continues to play well, we’ll steal an F from other names and give it to him. I’m sure Bo Wul won’t mind helping out Earl Wolfff.
DB Cooper Award – Damaris Johnson
Disappearing with 6 figures is hard to do, but Johnson pulled that off. Some of you will point out James Casey, but he played more late in the season. Johnson was sitting. And Casey was a good blocker and STer. He just was a non-factor in the passing game.
The Snow Angel Award – Brent Celek
Getting an extra TD late in the Lions game would have been cool, but Celek made the smart decision when he slid to the ground. It was fun to see the Eagles once again doing smart things.
The Vocabulary Expander – Cary Williams
Not quite as vicious a nickname as Night Train Lane, but Williams taught NFL fans all over the world about sconces. I’ll admit, I’d never heard that word before last spring. I’m curious to see what word Cary teaches us in 2014.
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Just wanted to publicly thank everyone who donated money for my trip to Mobile. You guys are great. I can’t thank you enough. I will try to steal a playmaking Safety while I’m down there, but there is a problem…I won’t be able to fit a big one in my bag. No promises, but I’ll see what I can do.
Special thanks to Baloophi for all his help in raising the money. He actually doesn’t have a choice. I’ve got pictures of him in a hot tub with Max Jean-Gilles and Chad Hall. That’s enough to permanently destroy any man’s reputation.
Thanks again, guys. Eagles fans are a special group.