The last player to represent the Philadelphia Eagles in a Pro Bowl was defensive end Jason Babin back in 2012. Before him, it was linebacker Trent Cole in 2008. Clearly, the Eagles offensive players have been a constant in the Pro Bowl, but defensively, there has been a shortage of nods their way. Pro Bowl players are not drafted into the Pro Bowl. They are selected – voted in. Because the Pro Bowl is a selective process, not too much weight can be placed on who attends and who does not. However, it is very telling that since 2008, the Philadelphia Eagles have only had two defensive players selected for the Pro Bowl.
Philadelphia has long become a successful city. The Eagles garnered as much success as any team that has not won a Super Bowl ring, and even teams that have. The success of Philadelphia’s offense is well documented. The late and very great defensive coordinator Jim Johnson helped anchor a defensive identity throughout the 2000s. He was such a mastermind at what he did (Eagles players elected 26 times to Pro Bowls under his tutelage), that it is unsurprising that since his unfortunate passing, Philadelphia lost so much of what helped make them wildly successful. Philly lost one of the greatest defensive coordinators in the history of American football, and everything that goes with it.
Philadelphia’s success hinders ultimately, on the defensive side of the ball. I do not believe defense wins championships. I believe a two-dimensional team playing at an elite level does. Playing elite offense and good defense is enough. Or, playing elite defense and good offense is enough. I am not saying that Philadelphia needs Seattle’s elite defense to win; however, I do believe that Philadelphia needs a good defense to win. Offensively, there is absolutely no question as to what they are about to do, and those that do question it are either a) afraid b) in denial or c) just flat-out hating. Defensively, Philadelphia needs to get off the field when it matters most, put the ball back into the elite offensive hands and just get out of the way. Surely, every defense has its’ struggles, but the Eagles are especially lacking when it comes to its’ first down defense. In the red-zone, the defense became as clutch as they come. The red-zone defense was so consistent that I began to welcome offenses stepping into the red-zone because I just knew an interception, fumble, or field goal was the only end result.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin seems like the next man up – Pro Bowl wise – if he can get on the field a little more. Boykin is a ball-hawk, and all around playmaker. Other than that, I am not sure. People are high on defensive end Fletcher Cox, and I do not believe Fletcher Cox is a bust, or a bum, but I also do not share their sentiments that he is Pro Bowl ready, but then again, I am not an NFL scout, coach or member of personnel.
Defensive coordinator Billy Davis has his work cut out for him, that’s for sure. It is the second year in this system, and he had a couple more pieces to add during the draft and free agency, and needs to fine-tune his defensive scheme. Overall, I do not care about Pro Bowls too much. I do not care how the team gets it done this year. Just, by God, get it done.