In the 2010-11 season, there were a few Eagles that enjoyed their breakout seasons. Unfortunately, those of you that have read my post on this subject last year, I didn’t do a great job predicting who those players would be. My candidates last year were Jeremy Maclin, Lesean McCoy, Kevin Kolb, Max Jean-Gilles and Durant Brooks. Hey, going 2 for 5 is still very good……..in baseball. A couple of Eagles(Brent Celek and Winston Justice) who had breakout seasons in 2009, regressed and incurred down years in 2010. What exactly is a breakout player? My definition below…
A non-rookie(typically young) that had his best season by an overwhelming margin compared to his previous year/s in the league.
The following players’ performance fit the criteria…
- Jeremy Maclin: In 2010, he caught 14 more balls, had 191 more yards, 6 more touchdowns and 11 more first down catches. He was our best receiver in the redzone which is an area the Eagles seriously struggled the previous year. His 11 red-zone catches were tied for 9th best in the NFL. Seven of his 10 touchdowns occurred in the red-zone. Some people believe he is already our best pure WR or will be in the near future. At the rate Jeremy is progressing, it might not take that long to make the distinction.
- Lesean McCoy: The jump from McCoy’s rookie to sophomore year was astounding. He went from having a pretty average rookie year to being one of the best running backs in the NFL the following season. In 2010, he had 443 more rushing yards at 1.1 yards more ypc, 3 more rushing touchdowns, 38 more catches for 284 more yards and 2 more receiving touchdowns. His pass blocking also significantly improved. Just a tremendous all-around player.
- Antonio Dixon: We saw the potential in Dixon when he played sparingly for the Eagles in 2009. Making Antonio the starting DRT was one of the very few things Mcdermott did right last season. He played 15 RS games in 2010(starting 10 compared to none in ‘09) and accrued 15 more tackles, 1 more sack, 2 more pass deflections, and 14 more stops. According to PFF, he was the 14th best overall DT/NT in the NFL last year and 8th best run defending DT/NT. He still needs work in the pass rushing department (Bunkley spelled him on 3rd downs) and hopefully with the help of Jim Washburn he will improve in that area.
- Mike McGlynn: Prior to playing in all 16 games(starting 14) in 2010, Mike only appeared in 3 games his previous 3 seasons. He had a breakout year not because of having a great season(which he didn’t) but for being able to step in and contribute. He was poor in pass protection but was a good, physical run blocker. He also did an adequate job snapping the ball.
- Sav Rocca: It’s funny, I actually expected him to be beat out by Durant Brooks but he instead had a very good season. He finished 8th in the NFL in net yardage and limited his renowned shanking. Hopefully, he reverts back to his old ways with the LOLSkins.
Honorable mention: Moises Fokou – He was one of the best run defending 4-3 outside linebackers in the league last season.
That rounds up last year’s break out performers and here are my candidates for this season…
Those of you that remember, when Chaney was drafted, I was probably his biggest supporter. Here are some of my comments from last year…
I believe all three will be starters at some point in the season. Jamar Chaney, Max Jean-Gilles, and Trevard Lindley.
Add Jamar Chaney, 7th rounder. Dude is gonna be good..
I actually voted for Chaney. Absolutely LOVED that pick. He will be our starting SAM soon.
Now, it seems that he might prove me right. I loved his speed, instincts, tackling and covering ability out of college. Since the time he took over for Bradley in the Dallas game, he averaged 10 tackles and 4 stops a game. If he continues that for an entire season, that’s 160 tackles and 64 stops. That’s elite level. He struggled in pass coverage but from the reports out of camp, he made huge strides in that area.This is what Reuben Frank had to say about him in a recent article….
Jamar Chaney is the Eagles’ best coverage linebacker since Carlos Emmons. Not even close.
However, Chaney has to show that he can do it in a live game. Although Chaney has been moved from the middle to the strong side, you can expect his strong performance to continue. He will be lining up across the opposing tight end and will be the primary linebacker covering them. With his speed, he can be a very effective blitzer as well.
S Nate Allen:
For the first five weeks or so, Allen was playing lights out football. He looked like a rookie of the year candidate. He was great in pass coverage, good against the run and he was blitzing well. After that however, he didn’t play as well. He nabbed 3 interceptions in his first four games and didn't have any the rest of the season. He was poor-average the rest of the way. He was especially bad in the Titans game. Ellis Hobbs got most of the blame for Kenny Britt going off but Allen was just as bad in that game. However, Allen is now almost 100% recovered from his knee injury and is already looking good in camp. I expect him to continue his play from the first month of the season last year and have a big year at safety for the Eagles.
WR Riley Cooper:
There aren’t many other good options for my 3rd and 4th candidates as the Eagles either have established veterans or rookies starting in a lot of positions. Cooper, even though he is the 4th WR, has an opportunity to be a major contributor. Just one injury to either Maclin or Desean will push him to a starting role as Avant will most likely stay in the slot. He had a good game against Tennesee with 3 catches, 51 yards and 1 TD. In that game, he had one of the best catches of the year when he retreated to snatch an underthrown ball away from a DB. With only 7 catches for 116 yards last year, I think he improves to catch about 25-30 passes.
LB Keenan Clayton:
I expected Clayton to come out and win the starting WLB job but Castillo instead moved Fokou over there. Keenan didn’t get much playing time as he played only 89 snaps in the regular season. When he did play, he was the best coverage linebacker on the field. He played every snap in the second Dallas game and played well, nearly securing a pick-six. Right now, he is the backup WLB but he could be spelling Fokou in the nickel. An injury to any of the linebackers will move him to starter. He needs to improve in run support and if he does he could be a very good player for us.