Eagles OT Jason Peters, DT Fletcher Cox earn Pro Bowl bids
Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox were named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday night. Peters earned the ninth bid of his career and seventh with the Eagles. Cox is going to the Pro Bowl for the second straight season.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 29 in Orlando. The Eagles could have more who eventually play in the game because six players were named alternates. Defensive end Brandon Graham is a first alternate. Safety Rodney McLeod, center Jason Kelce, and special-teams ace Chris Maragos are second alternates. Returner Darren Sproles and safety Malcolm Jenkins are third alternates.
Peters, 34, is in his 13th NFL season. He started every game for the Eagles this season and has taken 97 percent of the offensive snaps. The Eagles average 4.58 yards rushing behind him.
"It just humbles me," Peters said in a statement from the team. "All the hard work that you put in through the offseason and throughout the season pays off. That's the individual goal and all the work that you put in to get that honor, and that makes you feel good."
There were questions about whether Peters would still excel at this stage of his career, but he has proven to be durable and a force at left tackle. The blemish in his game has been false-start penalties, but offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Tuesday that Pederson is "still playing at a dominant level."
The seven Pro Bowls in Philadelphia tie Brian Dawkins and Reggie White for second in franchise history behind Chuck Bednarik (eight). It adds to credentials that already put Peters in discussion for the Hall of Fame.
"That's some good company, the Brian Dawkinses the Reggie Whites and all those guys," Peters said. "That's crazy."
Cox, 26, has 37 tackles and 6 ½ sacks this season. He has also played every game. He had four sacks in his first four games, earning NFC defensive player of the month. Cox went through a lull in the middle of the season before filling the stat sheet again recent games. He has the fifth-highest sack total among defensive tackles this season, but he admitted he was surprised by the invitation.
"It's an honor," Cox said in a statement. "It was definitely different [than last year]. It was just surprising with the year I've had, the ups and downs, that I made it. I just kept pushing."
Cox's reputation in the league was solidified when he signed a six-year, $103 million contract with the Eagles during the offseason. That also raised expectations for the type of season he could have. Even though he has not been as productive as expected, he has still drawn the attention of opposing offensive lines every game.
Because the Pro Bowl is played the week before the Super Bowl, players on top teams often cannot attend or pull out of the game. Injuries also keep other standouts from attending. That increases the possibility that the alternates could make the trip. Jenkins earned his first Pro Bowl bid last season as an alternate, but he said when he attended that it was still meaningful.
"Every year is different," Jenkins said Tuesday. "Probably not as productive as last year, but still having a good season… It's always a fun time of year to see where you fall. It's all about respect. That's what a lot of guys play for. That's what I play for. But there's a lot of guys playing some good ball."
At 5-9, the Eagles are not in position to think anyone was snubbed. Linebacker Jordan Hicks and kicker Caleb Sturgis could have had cases to be among the alternates, but they're both young enough to be in contention for future seasons.