This evening the NFL will announce the rosters of both the AFC and NFC teams for the annual Pro-Bowl game, which is scheduled to be played at 8 p.m. ET on January 31, 2010 in Landshark Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins. It is always an honor to players when they are voted into this special contest featuring the best of the league, and just like every other franchise, the Eagles have some of their players in competition to go. Because this season marks the first time the Pro-Bowl game will be played a week prior to the Super Bowl, any players that participate in the league championship will not be allowed to play in it. Of course they will still receive credit for earning a Pro-Bowl appearance, but they will simply not play in the game for precautionary reasons. After all, no team wants one of their key players to get hurt in the all-star game when the biggest game of the year is on the line the following week.
This season, the Eagles have been fortunate enough to have quite a few players rank among the best in the NFL, and shouldn’t be surprised to see a handful of their roster members be named to the NFC squad for the Pro-Bowl. In this article, some of the Eagles worthy of Pro-Bowl consideration have been mentioned, analyzed, and given an initial rating as to the likelihood that they will indeed earn a spot in the game. *Ratings have been judged on a scale consisting of: small chance, moderate chance, good chance, definite lock*
QB Donovan McNabb: McNabb was once a familiar face at the Pro-Bowl. He went to 5 straight of these annual games for excellent seasons (from the year 2000-2004), but has not been there since. He set career-high totals statistically last year in several categories, and despite some missed games this season because of a rib injury, has overall been one of top passers in the NFC conference. With 24 touchdowns (2 rushing) compared to 10 interceptions, McNabb seems to be a logical choice as a reserve in the Pro-Bowl, but superstars like the Vikings’ Brett Favre, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and the Saints’ Drew Brees have pretty muched locked themselves into spots on the team. Rating/Chance of Earning Pro-Bowl Appearance: Small
FB Leonard Weaver: If it weren’t for the massive hype surrounding the Minnesota Vikings and their fan base that undoubtedly voted for their FB–Naufahu Tahi–a countless amount of times, Weaver would easily have been the number 1 Fullback in terms of votes received for the position in the NFC, and quite possibly throughout both conferences. The offseason acquisition has averaged nearly 5 yards per carry while totaling roughly 500 yards and 4 touchdowns, through both rushing and receiving. His blocking has helped RB LeSean McCoy gain over 600 yards on the ground, the most by any Philadelphia rookie runner, and overall Weaver has been a quietly dangerous weapon in the offensive unit. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Good
WR DeSean Jackson: Jackson is only his 2nd season, and he is quickly rising to the top tier of receivers in the entire league. Not only does he lead the Eagles in receiving yards (1,120) and catching scores (9), but he also has the NFL’s best average in terms of yards gained per punt return (16.0). His explosiveness is something that cannot be matched by any other, and there is no reason the young, speedy target should not be handed an invitation to the Pro-Bowl. As if his receiving achievements were not enough, the California native has also compiled a touchdown rushing the ball, and leads the league in scoring plays over 40 yards. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Definite Lock
TE Brent Celek: Even though Celek has had a huge season in his first year as the Eagles’ full-time starter at the Tight End position, there are several things indicating the reliable player will not be invited to the Pro-Bowl. His 69 receptions are absolutely fantastic, as is his total of 875 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns, but big-name players like Tony Gonzalez, Vernon Davis, and Jason Witten are all among the NFC’s leading TEs. A release of some of the fan voting results revealed that Celek was not even in the top 5 at his position, so although he has had a phenomenal season, will likely not be given his first Pro-Bowl appearance. Rating/Chance at Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Small
OT Jason Peters: Mainly because there is a lack of big-name offensive lineman in the NFC, Peters could find himself with his second consecutive Pro-Bowl appearance. Last year he made it with the Bills despite giving up 11.5 sacks, so it seems probable that Peters can go again this season. He was given a big contract in the offseason, and despite some inconsistency here and there, has been a key piece to the success the Eagles’ offense has had. Once again, partly because he has a large reputation as being a top Offensive Tackle, he has a decent chance at getting voted in, and his performance–although rocky at times–supports his case for being in the all-star game. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Moderate
DE Trent Cole: Two seasons ago, Cole was awarded a Pro-Bowl spot for his 12.5 sack total that led the Eagles. Well, the crafty defensive lineman has 12.5 sacks thus far, and appears a viable candidate for a second appearance in the game. His 54 total tackles are surprisingly high on the team’s list of leaders at the statistic, and with a pair of pass deflections and forced fumbles to go with it, the 5th-year player seems to be deserving of consideration for the Pro-Bowl. Because of his success, Cole’s reputation has also begun to sprout, hence a likely increase in votes for the game. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Good
DT Mike Patterson: When examining Patterson’s statistical slate for the year, his numbers do not jump out as impressive. With only a half a sack, it doesn’t seem as if the 5th-year lineman is doing much as a dominant force on the line for the Eagles. But his 51 tackles are the best among all Defensive Tackles, and he has helped the Birds hold opposing rushers to less than 100 yards in all but a single game of the season. With Minnesota hosting two of the premier names at the position in Pat and Kevin Williams, and Arizona featuring a big-name player in Darnell Docket at the DT spot, it might be a stretch to assume Patterson will be handed a Pro-Bowl appearance, but definitely don’t count him out. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Moderate
CB Asante Samuel: Last year, Samuel was able to earn a Pro-Bowl appearance with only 4 interceptions and quality coverage in the secondary. This season he has come close to matching his career-high mark of picks, recording 9 of them through all but one game of the 2009 campaign. That total is tied for first in the entire league, and to add to that, the former Patriot has recorded 40 total tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. It was revealed that Samuel finished second among all Cornerbacks in the fan voting segment of determining Pro-Bowl players, so there’s a very good chance the defensive back will be given his third career trip to the game. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Definite Lock
CB Sheldon Brown: In spite of playing as arguably the most consistent Eagles Cornerback since he joined the team in 2002, Brown has never been awarded a spot in the Pro-Bowl. His teammates have been campaigning for him throughout the entire season, and fellow Philly player Brian Westbrook said that he would be shocked if Brown were not voted in this year. With 5 interceptions, 51 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and two remarkable defensive touchdowns, there isn’t much else Brown can do to get the league’s attention. He’s played very solid all season long, and has even played injured to help his team win, so he should definitely be given a spot…the question is whether he will indeed receive it, for there are few instances in which two CBs from the same team are voted in (Samuel is a definite lock for this year’s Pro-Bowl). Rating/Chance at Earning of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Moderate
K David Akers: With all the positive talk of the Eagles’ explosive offense this year, the Kicker–David Akers–has not been mentioned often. And he’s having one of his best seasons, too. His 32 successful field goal conversions leads the league, and his accuracy percentage (88.9) is ranked fourth among all active Kickers. In addition to this, he has made 11 of 13 tries in the 40-50 yard field goal range, and tied his own franchise record for most consecutive games without a missed field goal. Overall, his main competition is the Vikings’ Ryan Longwell, who edges Akers in the fact that he has made all but one of his field goal attempts past 40 yards. Rating/Chance of Earning a Pro-Bowl Appearance: Good
With the players most likely to have a chance at earning a spot covered, all we can do now is wait for the official announcement this evening on who has been selected to represent their teams in the Pro-Bowl this season!
Current: Coming Soon!