With the NBA holding its annual regular-season awards ceremony Monday evening and the Eagles reporting to camp in exactly one month - and my late-June football jones - I thought why not reminisce a little and hand out some hardware for the Super Bowl champions.
Despite playing only 13 regular-season games, Carson Wentz was the team's most valuable player. The second-year pro threw for 33 touchdowns, 3,296 yards, compiled a 101.9 passer rating in the injury-shortened season. Those numbers pro-rate to 40 TDs and more than 4,000 yards over 16 games. He led the team to an 11-2 record before injuring his knee. Nick Foles was the ultimate closer but Wentz was the starter who took the Birds deep into the game.
Defensive Player of the Year
Tough call here. Fletcher Cox's statistics never do him justice. But he impacts games in ways that go far beyond numbers. Same goes for Malcolm Jenkins, whose versatility is not talked about enough. Nigel Bradham did a tremendous job stepping up when Jordan Hicks went down. But this one goes to Brandon Graham. Yes, he made perhaps the biggest play in Eagles' franchise history on the grandest stage, but he was also the model of consistency throughout the season. Nine and a half sacks is not eye-popping, but in Jim Schwartz's scheme and defensive line rotation, you're not going to have gaudy sack totals.
Offensive Player of the Year
This award also belongs to Mr. Wentz for all the reasons stated above. But there should be two write-in votes here. The first being Lane Johnson. He was the best right tackle in the NFL last season. We witnessed the difference in this team when Johnson was not on the field in 2016 while serving that 10-game suspension. Having him for the entire season in 2017 was enormous and a big reason they accomplished something no other Eagles team has. Zach Ertz also deserves consideration here. His 74 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns rank at or near the top three with any tight ends in the game. He has become a force.
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Newcomer of the Year
Jay Ajayi certainly had a big impact coming over the Dolphins in Week 8. Veteran Patrick Robinson, after appearing to be a camp cut while playing on the outside, slid inside and handled the slot with aplomb. Alshon Jeffery took a little while to get on the same page with Wentz but quickly became the impact receiver the club hoped for when they signed him to a one-year, $14 million deal. His short-term gamble on himself paid off in a big way for both he and club as he helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl win while getting a four-year, $52 million deal in the process.
But this honor goes to Nick Foles. In the NFC Title game and Super Bowl, Foles was 54 for 76, 725 yards, six TD, one INT, for a 123.7 passer rating, while completing nearly 72 percent of his passes. He was at his most clutch in the biggest games. Oh yeah, that does not include his touchdown reception. You may recall that play.
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