In between devising unique and insane trade scenarios involving Donovan McNabb, I thought I’d hand out the first annual (and coveted) Cheesesteak of the Year award.
Needless to say, it was a topsy-turvy 2009 season for our beloved Eagles. However, many a fine fellow wearing midnight green turned in amazing performances on both sides of the ball. The staff here at ITI debated long and hard before narrowing the list of candidates to three. And by “staff,” I mean me.
So, without further ado… where the #$%@ is my drumroll?! Ah, screw it. The winners are…
DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Trent Cole
DJax exceeded most of our expectations by becoming the best playmaking receiver since that guy who played in 2004. Despite having only one more catch (63) than in his rookie season, Jackson racked 1,167 yards for a league-leading 18.5 ypc average, among those with at least 40 catches. He also chipped in twelve total touchdowns: nine through the air, one on the ground and two via punt return. His exploits earned him a starting spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster at wideout and return man. He was quiet down the stretch, but the future is beyond bright for #10.
The bleak days of L.J. Smith and Matt Schobel are long forgotten thanks to Brent Celek. 76 catches for 971 yards and eight scores should have landed him in the Pro Bowl, but he has plenty of years to achieve that goal. Celek is a smooth route runner and physical after the catch. He has surprising speed and a decent set of hands. His blocking was up and down, so there is room for improvement in that area. Overall, Celek had himself an excellent campaign.
Nobody works harder than Trent Cole. I feel sorry for the dude sometimes because the rest of the D-line offers little to no help pressuring the quarterback. Cole tied his career best with 12.5 sacks and received a second Pro Bowl invitation. Although his tackle totals were down, I still contend he plays the run better than the majority of defensive ends in the league. Maybe the front office will finally get him some legit help in the offseason. Imagine how good he could be without facing a glut of double teams.
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