WITH THE EAGLES sitting at 4-11 right now, it's quite possible nobody on their roster deserved to be selected for the Pro Bowl, even though Evan Mathis is the top-rated guard in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, and DeMeco Ryans is the best tackling linebacker, according to those same folks.
But what really doesn't seem possible is that there are eight teams in the NFL who don't possess a single player worthy of inclusion. Eight entire teams, comprising 424 active players, and nobody belongs in the Pro Bowl. But the two-win Kansas City Chiefs are worthy of five selections? Sure they are.
The selection process is something of a mystery, involving player voting, fan voting and input from coaches. This year that process allowed for the sixth career selection of 37-year-old Green Bay center Jeff Saturday, even though the Packers benched Saturday last week.
"That happens a lot," Mathis, 31, said Thursday. "I'm going to keep trying to be the best player in the league, whether or not anybody's watching. Just trying to perfect my craft. If it comes with accolades, that's fine. But I'm not going to pout about it if it doesn't. It's tough for people to even want to pay attention to offensive-line play, and then to be able to say that this guy or that guy is playing better - it's hard. It would take a tremendous amount of effort to do an accurate analysis on it . . . It's really hard to see measurables."
Mathis, who is a third alternate this year and could make his way to Hawaii if enough guards drop out, said he believes he keeps up with defensive linemen and linebackers around the league, even the ones he seldom sees. "But safety and corner play? I don't watch enough of that to even give a reputable vote," Mathis said. Offensive players vote for the defensive teams, and vice versa.
Mathis, the only remaining Eagles offensive-line starter from the end of last season, might have been hurt not only by the team's record, but by the fact that the patchwork o-line has struggled mightily, and that Mathis was known as a journeyman before he landed here in 2011.
"Evan is a heck of a player," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Thursday. "He has certainly turned into a leader. He was the last man standing on the offensive line, and he took that role and ran with it. He helped many people up front there, absolutely."
LeSean McCoy said he is more looking toward working out and getting ready for a better 2013 than he is relishing a chance to get some time off when the season ends Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the field, looking forward to going into training camp and getting my team together, going on to next season," said McCoy, who said last week's return from a 4-week concussion absence started out with some mistakes but ended with him feeling he was back in the groove.
Wideout Jeremy Maclin left practice Wednesday with a knee problem that kept him out of practice Thursday, but Maclin said he expects to practice Friday . . . New tight end Evan Moore missed practice Thursday with a back injury . . . Asked about Nick Foles' year, Marty Mornhinweg said: "You have to give him great credit" for throwing for 188 yards in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Redskins with a hairline fracture in his throwing hand. "If you've tried to throw a ball with a broken hand, you know what that feels like. So he's a tough man. He's got some great, great strengths. He got some great experience this year, which is invaluable . . . I know this - he's got an excellent future in this league" . . . Asked about what happened to the Eagles going from 3-1 after beating the Giants Sept. 30 to losing 10 of 11 since, Mornhinweg said there were a few close losses, then "we got so nicked up that there was that line that you cross" . . . Mornhinweg said the switch back to Michael Vick "has been quite seamless this week." He also said Vick "is going to be a heckuva quarterback for several more years."