By John Turney
At Pro Football Journal
we are trying to pick the best individual seasons in the history of each franchise, which we will continue today with the Eagles. By "Career-year" we mean the best performances at each position, with the following rule: Only one season per player per position. For example, here, we cannot pick Reggie White’s best two seasons and use all DE slots.
Here is the team, First-teams on left, Second-teams on right
Norm Van Brocklin, 1960, gets the top spot and Tommy Thompson, 1948, takes the Second-team spot. They were both Champs and Van Brocklin was the MVP.
For honorable mentions, we picked Sonny Jurgensen
, 1961, Roman Gabriel
, 1973, Ron Jaworski
, 1980, Randall Cunningham
, 1990, Donovan McNabb
, 2004, and Michael Vick
, 2010. All of those players were some sort of Player of the Year or All-Pro. We also need to add Nick Foles
, 2013, as a statistically great season. There were a few other "stat seasons" we left off, though they were good, they didn't rise to the level of the All-Pro/Player of the Year level of some of the ones we picked.
The modern-type fullback is Kevin Turner, 1997, First-team and
Leonard Weaver, 2009, the Second-teamer
. The two honorable mentions are Jon Ritchie, 2003, and
Owen Schmitt, 2010.
Steve Van Buren, 1949, and LeSean McCoy, 2013, were easy choices as the top two running backs. Van Buren is one of the all-time greats who does not seem to get his due and Shady McCoy's 2013 season was his best.
Wilbert Montgomery, 1979, and Swede Hanson, 1934, are next. Montogomery was a fine back who rushed for over 1500 yards in 1979. Hanson was one of the top two or three backs in the NFL of his era and was a powerful runner.
A healthy group of honorables is led by Timmy Brown, 1965, Ricky Watters, 1996, Tom Woodeshick 1968, Herschel Walker, 1992, Brian Westbrook, 2007, Duce Staley, 1999, and Tom Sullivan 1973,.
Darren Sproles, 2014, is the 3rd down back and his backup is Correll Buckhalter, 2008. For the honorables we chose
Billy Campfield, 1981, Po
James, 1975, and James Joseph 1994.
, 2004, and Tommy McDonald, 1961 are the receivers. McDonald was terrific in the intermediate area where he could break on a dime and had enough speed to beat the good corners deep and he had hands every bit as good
as Raymond Berry.
Mike Quick, 1983, and Harold Carmichael, 1973. Both were All-Pros and among the best in the NFL for those seasons, ranking high in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
A strong list of honorable mentions includes DeSean Jackson, 2009, Joe Carter, 1938, Irving Fryar 1996 Don Looney, 1940, Ben Hawkins, 1967, Harold Jackson, 1969, Bud Grant, 1952, Jeremy Maclin, 2014
Jason Avant, 2011 is the slot receiver backed up by Antonio
Freeman, 2002. Hank Baskett, 2006, gets an honorable mention.
Pete Pihos, 1953, was an end and
played tight, but it's a bit of a cop-out
in that all ends played tight a lot in that era. Pete Retzlaff, 1965, is the Second-team pick. Like wide receiver the tight end list of honorables
is formidable. It starts with Keith Jackson, 1988, Charle Young, 1973, Chad Lewis, 2000, Brent Celek, 2009, John Spagnola, 1985, Keith Krepfle, 1979, and though he's not there yet Zach Ertz should join in 2016.
Chuck Bednarik, 1960, is the First-team center and the guards are Shawn Andrews, 2006, and
Evan Mathis, 2013, and the tackles are Al Wistert, 1945, and Bob Brown, 1966.
Bednarik played both ways, but his career breaks down as more of a linebacker early, then more of a center in the late-1950s. In 1960 and 1961 he had long stretches where he was playing both. Andrews was a powerful drive blocker and Mathis more of the technician-type. Wistert
was the best blocker for the best running back of his time. Bob "Boomer" Brown just simply frightened
people with his 300 pounds and, 4.9 forty speed.
The Second-team line is composed of Jim Ringo, 1964, center, Jermane Mayberry, 2002, and
Bucko Kilroy, 1948, as guards and tackles Jason Peters, 2011, and Tra Thomas, 2002
The center honorables are Jason Kelce, 2014, and Guy Morriss, 1981. The HM guards are Dick Bassi, 1940, Buck Lansford, 1956, Enio Conti, 1942.
The honorable mention tackles are Jerry Sisemore, 1979, Stan Walters, 1979, J.D. Smith, 1961,
Jon Runyan, 2002, Lum Snyder, 1954, and Lane Johnson, 2014.
David Akers, 2011, is the top kicker. He is followed by Tony Franklin, 1979. The honorables are Cody Parkey, 2014, Bobby Walston, 1960, Paul McFadden, 1984, and Sam Baker 1966.
Jeff Feagles, 1992 is the punter and his backup is Joe Muha, 1948 (38.6 net) The honorables are Donnie Jones, 2014 (38.9 net), and Adrian Burk, 1955 (39.2 net).
The punt returners are Darren Sproles, 2014, and DeSean Jackson, 2009, Brian Westbrook, 2003, Vai Sikahema, 1992, both merit honorable mentions
Timmy Brown, 1966 is the kick returner and Brian Mitchell, 2000, backs him up. Wally Henry, 1979, and Quintin Demps, 2008, are the special mentions.
Vince Papale, 1976, is the First-team selection. The Second-team pick is Chris Maragos, 2014. A fine group of honorable mentions is led by Ken Rose, 1992, Major Everett, 1985, John Sciarra, 1979, Al Chesley, 1979, Mike Caldwell, 2000, Ike Reese, 2003, Quintin Mikell, 2006, and Colt Anderson, 2012.
Papale had several good years, we went with his first when he had 14 tackles, a forced fumble, and a recovery.
Claude Humphrey, 1980 (45 tackles, 7 PD, 15½ sacks, 2 FF) is the First-team designated pass rusher, and backing him up is Vinny Curry, 2014 (21 tackles, 9 sacks, 4 FF). The honorable mentions are Len Burnam, 1977 (9½ sacks), Darren Howard, 2008 (26 tackles, 10 sacks), N.D. Kalu, 2002 (31 tackles, 8 sacks), Riley Gunnels, 1961, Ken Clarke, 1980, and Brandon Graham, 2014 (46 tackles, 5.5 sacks 4 ff). Designated pass rusher is a deep position for the Eagles.
Terry Hoage, 1988 is the extra defensive back, he came into the game and played safety and intercepted 8 passes in no starts. The more traditional nickel backs tied for the Second-team, they are Al Harris, 2001, and Brandon Boykin, 2013. Joselio Hanson, 2008, is an honorable mention.
The First-team secondary is made up of corners Eric Allen, 1993 (Second-team All-Pro, 6 picks, 4 of them pick 6s, and Troy Vincent, 2002 (All-Pro), along with strong safety Malcolm Jenkins, 2015 (104 tackles, 10.5 were stuffs, 3 FF and 2 interceptions one he returned for 99 yards and a touchdown), and free safety Bill Bradley, 1971 (NFL-leading 11 intrceptions, consensus All-Pro). Bradley's 9-INT 1972 season would also be a good fit here.
The Second-team defensive backfield is Asante Samuel
, 2009 (Second-team All-Pro, NFL leading
9 picks), and Tom Brookshier, 1960 (All-Pro), at corner
safety Don Burroughs, 1960 (Second-team All-Pro, 7 picks), and free safety Brian Dawkins, 2004 (69 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 picks and was consensus
Honorable mention corners are Bobby Taylor, 2002, Herm Edwards, 1980, Lito Sheppard, 2004 Roynell Young, 1981, and Irv Cross, 1964.
strong safeties are Quintin Mikell, 2010,
Randy Logan, 1980,
Andre Waters, 1991,
Jerry Norton, 1958, and
Ray Ellis, 1984. And the HM free safeties are Wes Hopkins, 1985 and
Joe Scarpati, 1966 (8 int).
Bill Bergey, 1974, is the First-team middle linebacker. The outside linebackers are Seth Joyner, 1991 (55 tackles, 12 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks, 3 INT, 6 FF, 4 FR two for a TDs) and Chuck Bednarik, 1953, Bednarik was part of a 5-2 defense in 1953. Bednarik was always around the ball that year, he had 6 interceptions
and four fumbles recovered. Joyner was a consensus All-Pro and was a linebacker who was on the field on all three downs and could cover and blitz. 1992 was almost a twin season, and it was considered, but it's like splitting hairs, but since Paul Zimmerman chose Joyner as his Player of the Year for 1991, we went with that season. For the record, in 1992 Joyner had 72 tackles, 15 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks 4 picks, 2 for touchdowns, 4 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Bergey was a consensus All-Pro in 1974 and intercepted 5 passes, in 1978, the season we almost went with he had 167 tackles, 4 picks, 5½ sacks, forced 2 fumbles and recovered 4. In 1974 he was a middle linebacker in 1978 he was an inside backer in a 3-4 defense. But he was very high in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year and that was the difference-maker, so we chose 1974.
Jeremiah Trotter, 2000 (All-Pro 120 tackles, 3 sacks and a pick-six), backs up Bergey and Jerry Robinson, 1980, and Maxie Baughan, 1964, take the Second-team outside linebacker spots. Baughan was a consensus All-Pro and had a good pass-rushing year with six sacks. Robinson had 114 tackles, 7 passes defended, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 FF, 4 FR, one for a TD. His 1981 season had very similar numbers and either would have been a good choice for this slot.
Byron Evans, 1992, Dave Lloyd, 1969 are honorables, as are 3-4 inside backers Frank LeMaster, 1981 and Jerry Robinson, 1983 (163 tackles, 10 PD, 2 FF, 2 FR, and a sack).
Connor Barwin, 2014 (Second-team All-Pro, 64 tackles, 14.5 sacks), William Thomas, 1995 (Second-team All-Pro, 74 tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 sacks), Wayne Robinson, 1954, and Lee Roy Caffey, 1963 get honorable mention status.
Charlie Johnson, 1980 is the top nose tackle, and he's backed up by Ken Clarke, 1984 (92 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 2 FF). Johnson averaged almost 100 tackles per season from 1977 through 1981. He was an All-Pro in 1979-81. We chose 1980 because he was a consensus All-Pro, had 108 tackles and picked off three passes. The year before he didn't pick any off (not expected) but had 3 sacks to go with his 114 tackles. Benny Logan, 2015, is an honorable mention, he had 55 tackles (9.5 were stuffs) and a sack.
Jerome Brown, 1989, and Fletcher Cox, 2015 are the First-team defensive tackles. Brown had 65 tackles, 17 of them stuffs, 10.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Last year, Cox had 71 tackles ad 9.5 sacks and was a Second-team All-Pro.
Floyd Peters, 1966 (Pro Bowl, All-Conference, 8.5 sacks) and Al Wistert, 1948, back those two up. George Allen called Wistert one of the first really great inside rushers. Peters went on to be one of the great defensive line coaches in the history of the NFL.
Jess Richardson, 1959, Andy Harmon, 1995 (Second-team All-Pro, 63 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 FF), Corey Simon, 2003 (Pro Bowl, 40 tackles, 7.5 sacks), Vic Sears, 1949, and Marion Campbell, 1959 are all honorables.
, 1987 (All-Pro, 64 tackles, 21 sacks, 4 FF), and Clyde Simmons
, 1991 (67 tackles, 19 sacks). White was the Defensive Player of the Year and Simmons was a consensus All-Pro selection and both had several seasons considered.
Pete Pihos, 1952, Carl Hairston,
1979 (100 tackles, 15.5 sacks) are the Second-team defensive ends. Hairston was a 3-4 end in the base defense and played defensive tackle in the nickel defense that year, though later years with the Eagles, he preferred to stay as
the right end in nickel situations.
The long list of honorables
begins with William Fuller, 1995 (46 tackles, 13 sacks, 5 FF), Hugh Douglas, 2000 (56 tackles, 15 sacks) Jason Babin, 2011 (40 tackles, 18 sacks), Norm Willey, 1954 Dennis Harrison, 1982 (Pro Bowl, 47 tackles, 10.5 sacks in 9 games), Claude Humphrey, 1979 (72 tackles, 10 sacks), Trent Cole, 2009 (56 tackles, 12.5 sacks), and Greg Brown, 1984 (85 tackles, 16 sacks). Trent Colt's 2010 (10 sacks, 9 stuffs and tons of hurries) would also be good and 2007 (12.5 sacks, 10.5 stuffs but fewer hurries.
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