The Eagles have completed 8 regular season games and therefore have hit the mid point of their season... So I figured it would be a good time to take a little poll on who we think has been the biggest surprise of the first here. Here are the nominees.
Darren Howard - This is a guy whose place on the team was in serious doubt coming into training camp. Many fans wanted to keep Jerome McDougle over him... Fast forward to right now and Darren Howard is leading the team in sacks with 6.5. That's the 5th most in the NFC. Howard's versatility rushing the passer from both the inside and outside is exactly what the Eagles expected to get when they signed him to a big free agent contract in 2006.
Desean Jackson - A second round pick that's leading the team in recieving has to be considered a suprise. Jackson leads all NFL rookies in recieving yards and he's second in receptions. He also leads all rookies in return TDs and punt returns over 40 yards. Halfway through the season, Jackson is a legit rookie of the year candidate and a major weapon on this offense.
Sav Rocca - Last year we saw some promise from the Austrailian but we also saw quite a bit of inconsistency. Not this year... Rocca is in the top 5 in the NFC in punting average and punts inside the 20. He leads the NFC and is second in the NFL in punts placed inside the 10. Rocca has always had the big leg, but his directional punting and ability to place punts have improved by leaps and bounds this year.
Juqua Parker - Most of us were happy to have Juqua around as a backup or situational type defensive end... but how many of us can say we were comfortable with him as a starter? 9 weeks ago not all of us, but right now we all are. Juqua is having a career year with 4.5 sacks plus and INT for a TD. Aside from just the sacks, Juqua has brought constant pressure and has really become that threat opposite Trent Cole that we all wanted last year. Teams can no longer double team or pay attention only to Cole. Parker has become a legit threat on the other side of the line.
Those are my nominations for the biggest surprise of the first half. Did I miss anyone? Feel free to write in someone in the comments.