Pretty much been the 'season of discontent' in Philly but there are a few things that have gone under the radar that have been real positives:
- Colt Anderson on special teams coverage
Followed up a solid year last year where he was 2nd on the team in special teams coverage tackles (11 which trailed Fokou's 14 tackles) with an absolutely outstanding year this year on special teams coverage. He has already duplicated his number of tackles (11 in just 9 games) and leads the NFL right now. Also has been just penalized once compared to 3 times last year.
Aren't many players on the Eagles having a Pro Bowl-caliber year but Colt Anderson is and deserves some serious merit at this point for a Pro Bowl for his outstanding work on special teams coverage. He's done Bobby Aprile proud.
- Brent Celek's running block ability:
While no one is ever going to confuse Celek's running-block ability with say Mark Bavaro in his prime, it is something he has really worked on the past few years or so with dramatic improvement. I have always appreciated players who work on the parts of their game that are lacking and improve them enough over time to become average or even better. Celek's reached that point this year.
In 2008, Celek was rated the 57th out of 58 TE (-10.3) in run blocking according to PFF. Simply put, he just got blown off the ball most times. In 2009, he showed little improvement rated just 55th out of 61 TE (-10.3). Last year, he was 26th out of 61 TEs (-2.6).
This past offseason he worked with Mudd to improve this running block technique to get better leverage and ability to drive opposing DEs/LBs back and added another 10 pds of muscle mainly in his lower body. He's up to 16th out of 53 TEs (-0.3) this year and really has become a solid asset as a run blocker. While it is not something that will directly show up in the box score, Celek's notable improvement as a run blocker has definitely helped McCoy and this offense to be among the league leader's in a bunch of rushing categories.
- 'Lunch Pail' work of Derek Landri
I love watching Landri play because when you talk about 'effort/energy' guys he is probably the best example the Eagles have right now on the DL especially since Cole has been hobbled even since his return. Since Landri has gotten into the lineup in Week 5 vs. Bills, all he has done is make plays by plugging the point of attack especially against the run & even supplying a little pass rush. Besides the Pats game where he had 2 penalties and didn't play that well, he had been the Eagles most consistent performer on the DL the past 6 weeks or so.
Ryan would have loved a guy like Landri who while isn't the most athletically-gifted player or an imposing physical specimen has been giving this defense both consistency and effort. Something that can't be said for a number of other players on this defense this year.
There have been other positives too on this team (Peters, Mathis, McCoy) but I tried to focus on some of the things that are somewhat below the radar and not getting much attention.
Any others people would add?