1) LeSean McCoy endured criticism at times throughout the 2014 season and had some of the worst games of his career. Yet he enters Week 17 with 295 carries for 1,220 yards and five touchdowns. He is also making his third Pro Bowl. So when the season is viewed as an aggregate, it was another example of how McCoy is among the NFL's finest running backs.
"People are going to talk and make their own opinions, but it's a plus," McCoy said. "Just how the year went – injuries, up-and-down games, and going to the Pro Bowl is something cool. It's an honor, for sure. It's nice to have. It just [stinks] the way I've got to celebrate it and enjoy it, at the end of a season like this."
Still, McCoy has never been to a Super Bowl. In fact, he's never won a playoff game. McCoy said he does not think his prime years will slip by without experiencing postseason success because he has more years left. But the shelf life for running backs is shorter than players at other positions. McCoy understands that reality, although he does not believe it pertains to him yet. He's fixated on winning a Super Bowl and making the Hall of Fame.
"I'm only 26; I'm not really sure," McCoy said. "I've got a lot of years left, I feel like, with the way I play. I have a lot of stuff I want to accomplish. Individual and team goals. At the end of my career, I want to one day hopefully put that jacket on – and win a Super Bowl."
2) Mychal Kendricks was peeved that he did not receive Pro Bowl recognition on Tuesday night. The inside linebacker has had a strong third season, with 99 tackles and four sacks in 11 games.
"The fact that I didn't make an alternate really hurt me," Kendricks said. "With four games gone, add nine tackles to those games and do the math."
The four inside linebackers who made it are Carolina's Luke Kuechly, Baltimore's C.J. Mosley, Pittsburgh's Lawrence Timmons, and Seattle's Bobby Wagner. Two play in 3-4 defenses and two play in 4-3 defenses.
Kendricks did not know if his time missed was used against him. Wagner also missed time this season, but has starred for the defending Super Bowl champions.
In 31 other NFL cities, there are players who think they were snubbed for the Pro Bowl. That did not ease Kendricks' pain.
"I may not have attributes of other people, but other people don't have my attributes, either," Kendricks said. "I feel like that separates me and makes me a completely different 'backer. And with offenses going in this spread type of style, I guarantee you I might be the first of my kind. Watch more 'backers that are smaller, faster, quicker and start doing some of those things. This…makes me so mad. Breaks my heart."
3) With Chip Kelly's decision to start Mark Sanchez on Sunday against the New York Giants, quarterback Matt Barkley will go through another season without starting a game. Barkley, a celebrated college quarterback selected in the fourth round last season, has attempted only one pass this season. Kelly said Barkley has improved in practice throughout the season.
"I think he's improved from when he's gotten here," Kelly said. "He's in his second year. I don't think he was 100 percent healthy last year. I think he'll be the first to tell you that. I think he's really done a good job of grasping things and improved as a player. I think he's got a future here."
What the future is remains to be seen. The Eagles wanted a veteran backup this season. Could Barkley be a backup next season? He has not done enough to earn a starting job, but the Eagles also haven't had the opportunity to see what Barkley could do in a game. That's why Sunday would have been a good opportunity.
"I think we've seen him improve greatly in the year he's been with us -- at least in this last year," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "I think when he gets his opportunity to play in games, everybody is going to see it. We certainly haven't seen him in a game, and that's going to be where it's important for him when he gets in games. …Had Mark gotten hurt, then yeah, he's in. But at this point, we're going out to try to win the football game, and we feel like Mark playing, with the way that things are lined up right now, gives us our best chance."