This past NFL season was certainly memorable for Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, who finished third in the NFL in sacks and enjoyed a monstrous eighth season in the league. Building on the 12.5 quarterback takedowns he registered with the Tennessee Titans in 2010, his game improved for a career-high 18 sacks this past season. Babin got a grasp on five questions from Shutdown Corner.
Shutdown Corner: Talk about a successful season with the Eagles, including those 18 sacks. It certainly was a career year and a memorable ride.
Jason Babin: My success is the team's success. It's one of those things to a certain degree that it's effort and ability but also how I benefit from what my teammates do and then it is up to me to perform.
I know how I prepare, how I eat, how I live my life. I know we're going to have more than 46 sacks as a defense next year. We will all build on this year, collectively and individually, and improve. It is really tough for me to have an offseason and down-time. I'm eager to get back out there.
SC: There's no denying that the Eagles disappointed this year with an 8-8 record -- after all they were a popular pick to win the division and make the Super Bowl. The finish was strong, with four straight wins. Is there a sense this team turned the corner at the end of the season?
JB: I'll say this - there was a lot of new parts and a lot of things we had to figure out on the sly. No one wishes that the season had gone this way, we know that and we feel that way too. But over the last few weeks, we figured out how to go from OK to friggin good. I think we found answers on both sides of the ball, answers we can take to next year.
SC: But it was still a letdown and a frustrating one at that. Why?
JB: We had the ability, the talent, everything was there. You can't get mad at the coaches. We went out there and just didn't play that well. Could we have gotten it done? Absolutely. I feel we can do better as we get ready for this next season.
SC: A lot of fans were down on your defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo. He came from the offensive side of the ball as a line coach to now being defensive coordinator. There was plenty of talk at the beginning of the season that didn't want him or head coach Andy Reid back.
JB: Early on, Castillo was more or less a transition, when you go from offensive line coach to coordinator, you're doing more than just coaching; you're creating a style, a system. So that can take time. It took a little longer to work out than we would have liked and I'm sure he would have liked.
I think there was a lot of growing going on and that's what makes him good as a coach. He listened, we listened — we all learned. None of us saw it going any other way and we expected coach Reid back, that was the player perspective. We weren't on the roller coaster of the media, the fans.
SC: After 18 sacks and a career year, has your life changed?
JB: Obviously it's changed that I'm much more recognizable; Tennessee wasn't the media hot spot that the East Coast is. It really hasn't changed what I have to do or how I prepare. We're pretty low key as a family, I still take out the garbage and like to spend time at home.
I'm a pretty normal guy. There was a [Detroit] Pistons vs. [Philadelphia] 76ers [NBA] game a few weeks ago and I was out with a few buddies. Some recognized me and asked for a photo. One photo then led to another. Pretty soon, a couple hundred people were around me and asking for photos, autographs. Thankfully security stepped in soon after that.
Of course, my buddies were no help. They kept antagonizing the situation and making a big deal of it.