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Pro Bowl Roster Includes Three Standout Eagles: A Fan’s Take
The Philadelphia Eagles have had very little to brag about this season. In fact, Eagles fans like myself are reduced to using a meaningless three-game winning streak as hope for 2012. But while Philadelphia will deem 2011 as a failure, there are really only three things from this year that are unquestionable successes - and they were rewarded with Pro Bowl berths on Dec. 27.
Despite a 7-8 record, three Eagles were able to make the Pro Bowl roster for the NFC. They include the NFC's leading rusher LeSean McCoy, one of the NFC's leading sackers in Jason Babin, and offensive tackle Jason Peters. Throughout the turmoil and misery in Philadelphia, these three are pretty much the only ones that have risen above the fray.
McCoy's trajectory is well known by now, as he exploded into stardom in just his third season. If he was allowed to do more in some of the terrible fourth quarters this season, perhaps the Eagles could have kept a lead or two and stolen the NFC East. Instead, McCoy will have to settle for his first Pro Bowl berth and a big new contract at some point - whether with Philadelphia or not.
Babin has stood alone as perhaps the only big free agent that has really paid off for the Eagles. While Nnadmi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could not fit in despite all their hype and money, Babin swooped in and became the Birds' defensive leader. Even in the midst of all the losing and defensive gaffes, Babin quietly piled up 18 sacks and eight in his last four games. He was feared to be a one-year fluke with the Tennessee Titans in 2010, yet he is the only member of the Eagles' prized free agent class that hasn't been a disappointment.
The performance of Babin helped make the Eagles defense look better than it really was for much of the season. The same can be said of Jason Peters, who stood out in an offensive line that struggled to do its job. When the line did get noticed, it was for when they let Michael Vick get banged up and injured, or when McCoy got locked down. But just as Babin rose above the rest of the defensive line, Peters rose above the offensive line until the rest of the corps caught up in December.
McCoy, Babin and Peters were no-brainer Pro Bowl picks in spite of how the rest of the Eagles let them down. As such, it is even easier and harsher to imagine what might have been if Philadelphia had followed their lead and not wasted their efforts.
But if the Birds had done that, even more of them would be on the Pro Bowl roster and there would be a real chance that they'd miss that game in lue of playing in the Super Bowl. Instead, just one Bowl will have to do for McCoy, Babin and Peters while the rest of the team tries to rebuild in their quest for the other one.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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