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The 2014 BGN Awards: Jordan Matthews, Jason Peters draw praise

Well this season was interesting, but now is the time to single out the good and bad of the year.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles season ended without much celebration, as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in the Chip Kelly Era. A three-game slide in the fourth quarter of the season ended the team's hopes of the postseason, despite Philadelphia finishing 10-6. However, while the season ended poorly, there were a lot of positive performances by individual players during the year that should be acknowledged.

BGN's annual awards are meant to honor the good and the bad of the season. Here are our staff's award winners for 2014:

Most Valuable Player

Brandon Gowton: Jason Peters. His teammates calls him The Franchise for a reason. Peters is 32 and still playing at a very high level. I'd argue he's still the best tackle in the league, despite the fact he's no longer in his peak. I can't disagree more with people who have suggested he struggled in 2014. He was the only Eagles starting offensive lineman not to miss a game, save for when he was ejected in the Philadelphia-Washington game in Week 3. That was such an awesome moment, by the way. Peters isn't some rah-rah guy that talks trash and shoves people after the play. He usually lets his game do the talking. But in a moment where a player like Chris Baker hits the team's quarterback with a cheap shot, he knew the right thing to do was to retaliate and show that wasn't acceptable. A lot of players in the Eagles locker room really look up to Peters. I'd argue that no player is more well respected than he is. A true leader by example and a heck of a talent.

For what it's worth, Peters finished as the second highest graded tackle by Pro Football Focus.

Mike Kaye: Jeremy Maclin. Although Jason Peters, Fletcher Cox and Connor Barwin are all worthy of the award, Maclin may have been the most important playmaker on the team. He was perhaps the most consistent player on the team and was on pace for the most prolific receiving season in team history before Nick Foles was injured. Even when Foles went down, Maclin provided an outlet for Mark Sanchez. He matched DeSean Jackson's production from last season despite being ignored by Sanchez for a good portion of his tenure as starting quarterback.

Dave Mangels: Fletcher Cox. Probably the biggest Pro Bowl snub in the league. The best player on the defense and the biggest reason why the pass rush improved with the same lineup as last year. Cox has established himself as the next best 3-4 DE after JJ Watt. Like how Nick Foles took GJ Kinne to the Pro Bowl with him last year, Connor Barwin--a deserved Pro Bowler in his own right--should take Cox with him. The man deserves a trip.

Dan Klausner: Fletcher Cox. Evolved into the cornerstone player the franchise envisioned when it drafted him. Offenses simply could not run to his side, and his pass rush ability showed more and more throughout the season. He's on par with the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league not named J.J. Watt.

Mark Saltveit: MVP - by which I mean, whose absence hurt the team the most? Clearly it was 2013 Nick Foles.  It didn't matter whether his replacement was Sanchez or 2014 Nick Foles, the team suffered without this guy.

Bob Quaintance: Jason Peters. Another year, another stellar performance from seven-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters. As the only offensive lineman to play all sixteen games this year, Peters was a much-needed constant on the offense. He also provided some much-needed attitude, particularly when he stood up for Nick Foles after the QB got a cheap shot during the Week Three matchup against Washington.

Brent Cohen: Connor Barwin. Tough call between him and Fletcher Cox, but Barwin, right now, is the lynchpin of the defense, and his play has gone a long way in allowing Cox and Kendricks to progress.  Career high 14.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 5 passes defensed.  Not a perfect season by any stretch, but he's the main reason most fans haven't realized the Eagles are still very much in the transitional phase from the 4-3 to the 3-4. Still just 28 years old, the Eagles need to hope Barwin can maintain his level of play for a few more years while they upgrade holes elsewhere.

Matt Harkenreader: Fletcher Cox. I still remember when everybody was worried about his play in practice and preseason in the summer - then he came and straight-out balled, opening up opportunities for other players while still accruing four sacks and a forced fumble. He gets my vote for MVP since he got snubbed from the Pro Bowl.

Patrick Wall: Jason Peters. It's time the fan base starts having a serious discussion about plans for the Jason Peters Hall of Fame induction tailgate. What else can you say about "Franchise"  that hasn't already been said? He's an elite performer at one of the most crucial positions in the game. Though the offensive line was decimated by injuries all season, Peters remained a reliable pillar on the blind side.

Offensive Player of the Year

Brandon Gowton: Jeremy Maclin. Easy choice. Maclin bet on himself by taking a one-year contract and it totally paid off. He had a career year and finally got over the 1,000 mark, which many people held against him before this season. Maclin proved a lot of his doubters wrong. He's still only 26 so the Eagles will be fortunate to have him under contract for the rest of his peak years assuming the two sides can get a deal done.

Mike Kaye: Jason Peters. Since I gave Maclin the MVP, let's go with Peters as the OPOY. He is the best in the league at what he does. It's honestly rare that you see him mess up or get beaten badly.

Dave Mangels: Jeremy Maclin. With mediocre QB play and coming off a major injury, all he did was have a career season and be one of the handful of consistently good offensive players. Pay the man.

Dan Klausner: Jason Peters. Played every game and at a high level in his second season removed from what likely should have been a career-ending injury. Dude is a freak of nature.

Mark Saltveit: Jeremy Maclin. He answered his doubters and surpassed DeSean Jackson's 2013 production despite MUCH worse quarterbacks feeding him.

Bob Quaintance: Jeremy Maclin. With the Eagles' quarterback situation in a state of flux and LeSean McCoy having a down year (for him), Jeremy Maclin was able to rebound from last year's ACL tear and make a big contribution to the offense. Maclin led the team in all receiving stats, amassing 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. A Pro Bowl snub, he deserves a little recognition here.

Brent Cohen: Jeremy Maclin. No brainer.  Admittedly, I didn't expect nearly this much from Maclin this year.  I've always liked him as a solid #2, but he proved beyond a doubt that he's capable of much more than that.  1300+ yards, 10 TDs, and several hugely impactful and spectacular sideline catches.  Probably earned himself a big deal in the process; it'd be really hard to lose Jackson and Maclin in back-to-back years.

Matt Harkenreader: Jeremy Maclin. Easy choice. Everyone thought the Eagles would miss DeSean Jackson, and then Maclin posted this monster stat line: 85 receptions for 1318 yards, 10 TDs and a 15.5 average. PAY THE MAN!

Patrick Wall: Jeremy Maclin. Mac set career highs in receptions and yards – and finally broke the 1,000 yard mark – while tying his career high for touchdowns with ten. Maclin also proved to be immensely clutch, coming up with big plays and acrobatic catches when the team needed him most.

Defensive Player of the Year

Brandon Gowton: Fletcher Cox. He was a beast. It's so hard to believe he only recently turned 24. He can stuff the run and he can rush the passer. He's a monster. He may not put up gaudy stats, but he allows other players to get sacks by eating up blocks.

Mike Kaye: Connor Barwin. He was criticized for his lack of pass rushing ability last season and he delivered in a big way this year. His 14.5 sacks were pretty impressive and he finished with the most in the NFC. That's pretty awesome for a guy that has been a huge boost in everywhere way for the defense. He made his first Pro Bowl this season.

Dave Mangels: Connor Barwin. Barwin had a terrific season last year, doing just about everything but rushing the passer. This year he did all that and led the NFC in sacks. Many of those sacks were because the DL opened up some nice lanes for him, but nevertheless he got to the QB.

Dan Klausner: Since Cox got the Team MVP, let's give this one to Mychal Kendricks, who emerged in the same way as his draft classmate to become a force in the front seven. The difference in the defense's play when he was out with injury versus when he was on the field was significant.

Mark Saltveit: Connor Barwin. A nice guy finished first this year. His 14.5 sacks made it undeniable, but his unquantified contributions are just as important.

Bob Quaintance: Fletcher Cox. It's a close call here between Conner Barwin and Fletcher Cox. While Barwin has the gaudy stats and the Pro Bowl selection this season, Cox acted as a disruptive force that opposing offenses had to game plan around. He finished the year with 61 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries and is looking at an even bigger 2015.

Brent Cohen: Fletcher Cox. Might seem strange to give him this when I gave Barwin the MVP.  While Cox was the better player, Barwin was much more important to the team because of the role he plays.   Cox, meanwhile, made the leap this year from promising young player to consistent high-impact playmaker.  Due to his role, he doesn't have the flashy stats, but make no mistake about it, he was one of the best defensive players in the entire league this year.

Matt Harkenreader: Connor Barwin. Another slam dunk here. On top of his "business as usual" play of batting down passes, hustling to the ball, and being disruptive, he notched a career high 14.5 sacks, good for tops in the NFC.

Patrick Wall: Connor Barwin. This one was tough, but in the end I went with Connor Barwin. Last year we lauded him for his willingness to play the "Jack" role and be the unheralded Swiss Army Knife at linebacker. His role, defensive coordinator Billy Davis said, was one that didn't always show up on the stat sheet. In 2014, Barwin made the Pro Bowl thanks to some impressive numbers.  His 14.5 sacks were a career high, and were good for fourth-most in the NFL.

Most Improved

Brandon Gowton: Bennie Logan. There was a lot of talk following the Eagles loss to the Saints that Bennie Logan was too small to play nose tackle. That clearly wasn't the case in 2014. He was a big part of why the Eagles were so good at stopping the run.

Mike Kaye: Casey Matthews. The former Duck really stepped up when DeMeco Ryans went down. While he doesn't create fun stats, he was sound against the run and was a terrific blitzer. I think he deserves to be re-signed to compete for the third inside linebacker spot next season. Wow, who thought they'd be reading that in December 2014?

Dave Mangels: Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks had a promising rookie year, then an inconsistent sophomore year. It was thought that another year in the same system would lead to consistent play, and it did. The defense struggled to get at the QB in his absence, and he improved his tackling.

Dan Klausner: Bennie Logan. Make no mistake, Logan's play in the middle was key in making the run defense so strong for the second straight season. His length to shed to blockers, movement skills (both in confined space and the open field) and motor make him invaluable to the front seven and easy to love for fans.

Mark Saltveit: Brandon Graham. From "they'll definitely trade him before the season" to "key OLB going forward" in four months. Just incredible growth.

Runner-up - Casey Matthews. Wait, hear me out. When the most hated Eagle was finally given some real playing time, he made some plays and (mostly) shut up his critics. Significant growth under fire.  He's still the #4 ILB and I hope Travis Long and Najee Goode return from injury, but it was a huge surprise that he wasn't a bigger liability.

Bob Quaintance: Brandon Graham. During his first few years in the NFL, Brandon Graham was not what many expected out of the thirteenth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. This season, however, he thrived in Billy Davis's 3-4 defense, racking up four forced fumbles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He also did all this while coming off the bench for the majority of the year. Expect him to continue improving in 2015 (hopefully while still wearing an Eagles uniform).

Brent Cohen: Bennie Logan. Not too much competition here, though Cox/Kendricks both made big strides.  Logan, though, came in with relatively low expectations and ended up as one of the most consistent contributors on the team.  If I'm being honest, I think I'm still a bit uneasy with his size for the NT position.  This year, however, it didn't seem to matter much.

Matt Harkenreader: Mychal Kendricks. I almost put Nate Allen here, but I gave Kendricks the nod because he's turned into a force on the inside. In 11 starts, he made 83 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles, which is a long way from the player who looked sloppy at the start of 2013.

Patrick Wall: Fletcher Cox. Like Barwin, 2013 found Fletcher Cox in something of a thankless role. But this season, Cox was a consistent and dominating force. Playing defensive end in a 3-4 can be a thankless and anonymous job, but Cox's play grabbed everyone's attention this season.

The Evan Mathis Award

(Best free agent signing)

Brandon Gowton: Malcolm Jenkins. A lot of people were disappointed when the Eagles signed Jenkins because they wanted Jairus Byrd instead. Jenkins wasn't perfect but he definitely proved to be an above average starter in the secondary, which is something the Eagles really haven't had in a long time.

Mike Kaye: Chris Maragos. I loved the Jenkins signing but Maragos pretty much reformed an entire unit. His presence and talent on special teams helped vault his teammates' performances. How he was not voted to the Pro Bowl is honestly ridiculous.

Dave Mangels: Tie: Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman. Special teams were dominant this year because of these two (and James Casey, Trey Burton and Brad Smith). Maragos had the flashier plays but Braman had a hand in many of the ST's TDs.

Dan Klausner: Malcolm Jenkins. His first eight games were simply tremendous and at one point he was the slam-dunk free agent signing of the offseason for any team. Jenkins' play lagged a bit in the second half of the season, and in addition to dropping a bunch of should-have-been-interceptions, he was smoked in coverage against the Seahawks. Still, for everyone who wanted the Eagles to sign Jarius Byrd for all the money in the world, Jenkins was obviously the better move.

Mark Saltveit: Malcolm Jenkins by a mile. He outplayed Jairus Byrd for much less money (and yes, Byrd's fragile health was known last summer). Imagine how pathetic this secondary would have been without him! Runner ups: Maragos and Braman.  Both FAs paid immediate dividends and help make the Eagles special teams the NFL's best.

Bob Quaintance: Jeremy Maclin. While signings like Malcom Jenkins and Chris Maragos were certainly upgrades, bringing back Jeremy Maclin was easily the Eagles' best move during free agency. Signing with his former team on a one-year "prove-it" deal, Maclin gambled on himself and won.

Brent Cohen: Malcolm Jenkins. Another no brainer.  Jenkins wasn't great this year, but he was by far the best Eagles DB (though that's not high praise).  Still, he helped take a group that was a catastrophe last season and bring it up to mediocrity. Similar to Barwin, the Eagles need Jenkins to maintain form for a few years while the team fills other holes and younger players develop.

Matt Harkenreader: Malcolm Jenkins. The 2014 free agent class wasn't sexy, but Jenkins came as advertised. He brought great stability to the back end of a lackluster secondary and gives the front office somewhat of a foundation as they will most likely be hitting the reset button on the rest of their defensive backs in 2015.

Patrick Wall: Malcolm Jenkins. Now this is how you sign free agents. Both Darren Sproles and Malcom Jenkins were huge pickups for the Eagles, and both made a strong case for overall team MVP. But as far as overall value, in the end I think I have to give the slightest of edges to Malcom Jenkins.

Yes, Sproles was the heart and soul of this team early in the year, and he probably juked, spun and dove his way to at least one or two wins this year. But consider how much worse the defense would have been without the veteran play of Jenkins - especially after DeMeco Ryans' injury.

Jenkins was the lone bright spot on the team's otherwise abysmal secondary, and for that he earned the nod as the team's best free agent signing.

The Ike Reese Badge of Courage Award

(Best bench/depth player)

Brandon Gowton: Darren Sproles. Still incredible that the Eagles only traded away a fifth round pick to get this guy. He's such a special player. Every time the ball is in his hands you just know something good is going to happen for the Eagles. Philadelphia gained 531 punt return yards in 2014, which is 360 more yards than they did in 2013. Sproles was a big part of that drastic improvement.

Mike Kaye: Vinny Curry. With nine sacks and four forced fumbles, Curry really made an impact on defense. With Barwin and Curry, the defense was among the leaders in the league in quarterback takedowns. He went from a non-scheme fit to an indispensable asset.

Dave Mangels: Brandon Graham. Played less than half of the team's snaps, but had the best year of his career.

Dan Klausner: James Casey. Strictly for his special teams play and stellar catch:touchdown ration (3:2). First one in the building everyday, too.

Mark Saltveit: Darren Sproles. No question.

Bob Quaintance: Darren Sproles. Darren Sproles was one of the Eagles' best offseason acquisitions this year, coming to Philadelphia for a mere fifth round pick. As LeSean McCoy's primary backup, he gave an extra spark to an already electrifying offense, amassing 329 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns (a career high) in addition to 387 receiving yards off of 40 catches. Sproles also had a huge impact on the punt return unit, scoring two return touchdowns and putting up a league-leading 506 return yards, which earned him a well-deserved spot on the 2014 Pro Bowl roster

Brent Cohen: Darren Sproles. Tough to call Sproles a bench/depth player, but technically thats what he was.  Huge impact on STs, he almost single-handedly kept the Eagles in the playoff race with his early year performance.  I was surprised not to see him more active in the offense, but loved every one of his 3rd down conversions.  The man just seems to have a better nose for the sticks than anyone else, and he's the only player I trust to get the yards needed for the first down with his legs.  I didn't expect that much from Sproles this year, and I don't expect nearly as much next year, but there's no doubt he was the most entertaining player to watch on the team this year.

Matt Harkenreader: Brandon Graham. He has been the butt of many jokes in Philadelphia for several years purely because he isn't Earl Thomas. Now he looks to be a key re-sign target in 2015 because of his impressive production as a role player: 46 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a ridiculous 4 forced fumbles.

Patrick Wall: I'm just gonna leave this here.

Rookie of the Year

Brandon Gowton: Jordan Matthews. Matthews got off to a little bit of a slow start despite the ridiculous hype he was getting in training camp but he had a great season as far as rookie receivers go. It looks like he'll be a very reliable slot receiver for Philadelphia for years to come. He's only 22 so he has a lot of room to grow.

Mike Kaye: Jordan Matthews. I had a midseason prediction of 850 yards and eight touchdowns. He met it and topped the yardage.

Dave Mangels: Jordan Matthews. Cory Parkey had a very nice year, but he's a kicker. Matthews is the real deal

Dan Klausner: Jordan Matthews. Pretty obvious choice here. I wish he had some competition. :-(

Mark Saltveit: Jordan Matthews. Duh. You were expecting Ed Reynolds?

Bob Quaintance: Jordan Matthews. With fairly weak production from the Eagles' 2014 draft picks, Jordan Matthews was an easy choice for Rookie of the Year. With DeSean Jackson gone, Matthews was able to step up and produce early, easily outperforming veteran receiver Riley Cooper. JMatt finished the season ranked second on the team in terms of receptions (67), receiving yards (872), yards per reception (13.0) and receiving touchdowns (8).

Brent Cohen: Jordan Matthews. Matthews had a GREAT season for a rookie WR, despite being overshadowed by the other rookies in his class.  Faster than I expected, Matthews demonstrated just how big an impact he can have if he hits his full potential.  67 catches, 870 yards, 8 touchdowns.  Post-merger, just 11 other rookie WRs have done that.  It just so happens 3 of them were rookies this year (Beckham, Evans, Benjamin).  Matthews also got his stats within the flow of the offense, rather than as a result of over-targeting (ahem...Benjamin/Watkins).  Great start to what I'm hopeful will be a great career.

Matt Harkenreader: Jordan Matthews. Is there anyone else who could get this? Matthews might not have been the sensation that fellow NFC East receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was, but his impressive production as a rookie shows that he should be a legitimate weapon in the slot for years to come.

Patrick Wall: This one's easy. It's Jordan Matthews by a pretty good margin. Yeah, you could make the case for Josh Huff, but Matthews was far more consistent, especially after Sanchez went in. You hope he can continue that kind of play with a different quarterback next year.

Game of the Year

Brandon Gowton: Eagles shut out the Giants, 27-0. The Giants were averaging something like 30 points per game heading into this Week 6 matchup. There was a lot of trash talk coming from New York's side. The G-Men stomped on the Eagles logo at mid-field before the game. Their overconfidence didn't pay off. The Eagles came out and totally dominated New York from the start. It had been a long time since the Eagles earned a shutout, and the Birds embarrassed the Giants in front of the whole nation. New York's loss in that game was the first of their seven-game losing streak. The Eagles effectively killed their season that night.

Mike Kaye: Eagles vs. Colts, Week 2. Andy Reid only beat the Colts and Peyton Manning once, so it was rare to see the Eagles sweep the AFC South. This was their biggest test against the division and the Eagles beat a playoff team.

Dave Mangels: Thanksgiving. It all went downhill after that, but man what a great day that was.

Dan Klausner: If we're judging strictly from a competitive standpoint, it's either Week 2 (Colts) or Week 3 (Redskins). From a strictly pure enjoyment standpoint, it's the Sunday Night Football shutout of the Giants and Thanksgiving beatdown of the Cowboys in Dallas. (Editor's Note: Dan hates formatting pretty much everything...)

Mark Saltveit: Crushing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Everything came together and even Sanchez was momentarily glorious, in front of a huge audience.

Bob Quaintance: Eagles vs. Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Any victory over the Dallas Cowboys garners consideration for Game of the Year, and the Eagles' win on Thanksgiving is no exception. The 33-10 drubbing of the Cowboys gave the Eagles sole possession of the division lead and showcased impressive offensive efforts by LeSean McCoy and Mark Sanchez. Thanks to this win, the Eagles are still undefeated (6-0) on Thanksgiving Day.

Brent Cohen: Eagles beat Dallas on Thanksgiving. High point of the season, the Eagles went to Dallas and won comfortably on Thanksgiving.  Sucks it was all downhill after that, but the fact is there isn't any team in the league I like beating more than Dallas.  To do it in Jerry Jones' stadium in front of a huge audience just makes it that much better.

Matt Harkenreader: October 12, Giants at Eagles. While the comeback against the Colts makes a case for this award, it didn't hold the same satisfaction as shutting out the Giants for the first time since 1996. They are possibly the most hated rival in the division and talked smack all week leading up to the game, and the Eagles totally put them in their place by torching their defense and getting eight sacks. I'll be remembering "27-0" for a long time.

Patrick Wall: Thanksgiving. Excuse me while I look out the nearest window and sigh wistfully for the next five minutes. This game had everything: offensive execution, dominant defensive play, timely coaching, Tony Romo not picking on Bradley Fletcher... sigh.

The Jarrad Page "Cut Him Now" Award

(Player that is deemed not worth his salary and/or playing time)

Brandon Gowton: Riley Cooper. Really disappointing season for Cooper. I'm not sure anyone expected him to be as good as he was in 2013, but at the same time I don't think anyone expected he would be this bad. Bad routes, drops, total lack of YAC ability, you name it... he was bad.

Mike Kaye: Cary Williams. Yes, Riley Cooper and Bradley Fletcher badly underdelivered this season, but so did Williams and he's a serious malcontent. Call me old fashioned, but being a jerk in the office should never lead to praise or even lack of action. His contract will balloon this offseason and he is not worth writing another article about until he goes the way of Jarrad Page.

Dave Mangels: Riley Cooper, who never should have been signed and showed why.

Dan Klausner: Riley Cooper. Bad player, loathsome person, was never worth the risk associated with giving him a healthy contract last offseason. But hey, he's a great blocker (not really).

Mark Saltveit: Bradley Fletcher. I'm not even going to explain why. You're going to have to puzzle this one out on your own.

Bob Quaintance: Bradley Fletcher. Not much explanation is needed for this choice. Fletcher led the league in touchdowns allowed (9) and receiving yards allowed (1,072). Opposing quarterbacks loved to pick on him and he couldn't handle the pressure. He simply is not a starting-quality cornerback.

Brent Cohen: Riley Cooper. Not going to happen because of his contract, but I think we'll see Cooper have a much smaller role in the offense next year.  Beyond the off the field incident, Cooper just isn't a good player.  Doesn't run sharp routes, doesn't fight/win 50/50 balls like he did last season, and perhaps most damning of all: doesn't consistently block well.  Since blocking is supposed to be a strength of his, it's really frustrating to watch him half-ass attempts and miss his man completely sometimes.  The good news is the Eagles have Matthews, Huff, and Ertz to step up while Cooper quietly fades away.

Matt Harkenreader: Cary Williams. Please, cut this guy. His definition of "coverage" made him good for about five penalties a game, he was constantly torched on the back end, and he doesn't even care if he stays with the team. Get rid of him, and let the door hit him on the way out.

Patrick Wall: Riley Cooper. The NBA has this neat item built into their CBA called the Amnesty Clause. Basically, this clause allows each team to dump one player's salary from the books, giving the team a clean break from a player who's contract has become an albatross.

If the NFL had this clause, and if I were GM, I would immediately use it on Riley Cooper.

That isn't to say that Cooper's contract is a massive detriment to the team. But paying him four million per year to be good at blocking is not my idea of money well spent. We praised Howie Roseman and the front office in the offseason for signing Cooper under market value, but now the deal looks far more skewed the other way. Cooper did next to nothing in 2014, and will quickly block either Huff or Cooper from improving the outside receiver position. And that's to say nothing of his standing in the locker room (which, in fairness, remains a mystery to me).


Coaches Hate Him Award

(Players not given enough playing time or used wrong)

Brandon Gowton: Brandon Boykin. He wasn't as good as he was in 2013, but he still probably deserved a shot to play on the outside given how Bradley Fletcher struggled.

Mike Kaye: Brandon Boykin. He's the Rodney Dangerfield of the Eagles defensive backs. It's a shame. He's not perfect but he deserves a shot to play over mediocre talent like Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams and Nolan Carroll.

Dave Mangels: Brandon Boykin, who the coaches refuse to play outside even in a meaningless game. Ridiculous.

Dan Klausner: Brandon Boykin and Chris Polk. I'll never understand why neither get more regular playing time given what they can provide.

Mark Saltveit: Chris Polk. 57 carries in 2 years, 7 TDs, 17 first downs, 1 kickoff return TD for 102 yards.  What does this kid have to do to earn more playing time?

Bob Quaintance: Zach Ertz. Statistics can be deceiving. Although Ertz's receptions and receiving yards both increased from his rookie year, his season was not exactly Gronkowski-level, as many predicted. Because of Brent Celek's superior blocking ability, Ertz was kept on the bench for a significant amount of snaps and had five weeks with two or fewer receptions. With so much potential, the second-round pick will hopefully be given more chances to catch the ball in 2015.

Brent Cohen: Brandon Boykin. His usage is a mystery, but clearly there's something behind the scenes that the coaches don't like.  Not saying he was great when he did play (I expected more), but given Fletcher's struggles its amazing Boykin was given a shot at playing outside.  I really don't think Billy Davis is stupid, so the only other explanation is that he had a good reason not to play Boykin but prefers not to share it.  In any case, Boykin had by far the biggest gap between the fans' evaluation of him and the coaches.

Matt Harkenreader: Brandon Boykin. I feel like this award was created for this guy. He is clearly the most talented corner but is confined to the team's nickel package. I agree that he is a little short to play against today's outside receivers, but is putting Bradley Fletcher out there really a better alternative than giving the kid a chance? I don't think so.

Patrick Wall: Zach Ertz. My guess is that most of my esteemed colleagues will (rightly) go with Marcus Smith II here, but I'm going to look to the other side of the ball, and everyone's favorite preseason breakout candidate: Zach Ertz.

As I wrote this summer, the stars seemed to be aligning for Ertz at the start of the year. He'd improved throughout his rookie campaign, and everyone from local observers and fans to the national bigwigs thought he'd emerge in 2014. While his numbers (58 receptions, 702 yards and 3 touchdowns) are better than his rookie year and impressive overall, his game-by-game use was maddening. Ertz was targeted four or fewer times in seven games this season, and didn't register a catch in the Eagles' Thanksgiving win over Dallas.

Chip Kelly used an early draft pick on Ertz in 2013, but this year claimed his blocking wasn't good enough to warrant playing over Brent Celek. For a coach that said the offense would be "equal opportunity", it sure seemed like Ertz spent way too much time on the bench. This was especially confounding given how much a pass-catching tight end could have probably helped a struggling group of quarterbacks.

As badly as I want to end this blurb by saying "I expect a real breakout year in 2015," I am instead going to close with "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..."

That's Why He's On the Team Award

(Surprise player of the year)

Brandon Gowton: Chris Polk. All he does is score touchdowns, baby.

Mike Kaye: Brandon Graham. He wasn't even expected to be on the roster this season and now we are all frothing at the mouth to re-sign him. I'd say that's a big surprise. He forced fumbles in droves and improved against the run game. He also outplayed Trent Cole in my humble opinion.

Dave Mangels: Chris Polk. Didn't play a snap in the pre-season, and then all he did was have 5 TDs on only 59 touches.

Dan Klausner: Trey Burton. That's my boy! He was the undrafted player I hitched my wagon to in terms of surprise player to make the team, and then he contributed in a huge way on special teams and even scored two touchdowns on punt block returns. Next season will be even better for Burton, as I expect him to become a versatile producer on offense.

Mark Saltveit: Trey Burton. He was a surprise just to make the roster, and excelled on teams all year.  The TD vs. the NYG was a fitting exclamation mark.

Bob Quaintance: Cody Parkey. No one expected much out of Cody Parkey after the Eagles acquired him in a preseason trade with the Colts. However, he quickly proved all doubters wrong, winning a spot on the roster and going on to break the NFL rookie scoring record with 150 points off of 32 field goals and 54 extra points. He was second overall in points scored this season and looks to be a fixture on the Eagles' special teams unit for years to come.

Brent Cohen: Bennie Logan. Addressed above, the biggest surprise to me was Logan.  Perhaps I was less optimistic than others, but I don't think anyone serious expected Logan to be as solid as he was this year.

Matt Harkenreader: James Casey. A lot of fans gripe about Casey's cap number, but he is an enormous contributor on special teams. Of the team's three blocked punts this year, he caused two of them. That alone is almost worth a roster spot.

Patrick Wall: Trey Burton. If only because I'll never pass up an opportunity to mention when a BGN crew member totally nails it.

Unsung Hero Award

(Most underrated)

Brandon Gowton: James Casey. Great special teams player, underrated for his blocking ability on offense, and even caught a few touchdowns. A number of reporters have noted that Casey is always one of the first players to arrive at the facility early in the morning each day. Definitely a glue guy that everyone can respect.

Mike Kaye: Brent Celek. I know his production dipped as a receiver but he was essential as a pass blocker early on with so much negativity and change on the offensive line. The coaching staff loves him and he is truly a team player. He's also the best Eagles tight end of modern era, but few will admit that.

Dave Mangels: Bennie Logan. NT is not a glamorous position, and in the off-season he was wrongfully ripped for being a weak spot. Logan's one of the reasons the run defense was so good this year, and doesn't get the recognition he should. He also does a lot of unnoticed charity work, because unlike most athletes he doesn't do it for the PR.

Dan Klausner: Casey Matthews. You never want him out in space against players, but he filled in admirably for DeMeco Ryans and made a number of impact plays. Matthews will never be the player the Eagles thought when drafting him, but he proved useful and a capable backup with spot starter ability in 2014. Kudos to him.

Mark Saltveit: Cedric Thornton. All he does is shut down the run, game after game, with no drama, fuss, penalties or lapses. Yet you never hear his name called.

Bob Quaintance: James Casey. Buried in the offensive depth chart behind Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, James Casey fell off the radar of most fans and opposing teams (and was even labeled as the Eagles "worst contract" last offseason). However, he ended up carving out a role as a fixture on the Eagles' elite special teams unit, participating in 84.6% of special teams plays (leading the NFL) and coming up with big plays, such as his blocked punts in Week 5 and Week 17. He also contributed with two receiving touchdowns on offense. Not bad for a third-string tight end.

Brent Cohen: Trey Burton. Special Teams was a huge part of the Eagles' success this year, and Burton made a lot of plays for that unit.  James Casey also deserves a mention, and frankly you could give it to any of the main Eagles STers.  Burton, though, is my pick, if only because I doubt many casual fans even know there's a guy named Trey Burton on the team.

Matt Harkenreader: Nate Allen. This pick might seem unorthodox, but Allen has been a solid contributor this season and has come a long way since missing every tackle. This season he finished 62 tackles, a sack and forced fumble, and a notable 4 interceptions, the majority of which came in clutch situations.

Patrick Wall: N/A

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