For Jason Peters, 6th Pro Bowl means the most

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For Jason Peters, 6th Pro Bowl means the most

Jason Peters didn’t just come back. He came back as good as ever.

On Friday night, a year and a half after his second Achilles surgery, Peters was named to his sixth Pro Bowl team (see story).

Peters made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008 with the Bills and 2009, 2010 and 2011 with the Eagles before missing all of last year as he tried to return to form after blowing out his Achilles twice in the spring of 2012.

At 31 years old and standing 345 pounds, it was anything but routine.

“Coming off two Achilles surgeries, and I was kind of banged up a little bit earlier in the year, it’s definitely my best one yet,” Peters said.

“This is really special. Two Achilles surgeries, people thought I wasn’t going to even be able to play football again -- the doctors -- especially after the second one. They didn’t think I was going to be able to play at a high level. They maybe thought that I could come back and play, but not at a high level.

“I never took it for granted. Every year, I try to work to make the Pro Bowl. And I just know, if I’m working to make the Pro Bowl, the team is going to succeed. If I’m playing good, the guys beside me are playing good and as a team we’re going to play good.

“So anytime you make the Pro Bowl, you have other players around you that’s going to be playing good as well.”

Peters missed part of the Green Bay game earlier this year with an assortment of nagging injuries, but he’s still played 952 of a possible 1,037 snaps this year, or 92 percent.

Peters and NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy were the only Eagles named to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl team.

“I know he’s happy because he kept calling me,” McCoy said Friday night. “‘Hey, have they called you yet? Do you know what’s going on?’

“I’m like, ‘No, man. I don’t know.’ This is the first year he’s acted like that, so this is big for him. I know it is. He kept asking me, ‘Do you know who made it?’ He kept calling me and he never does that.”

The Eagles are second in the NFL with 421 yards per game, first with 162 rushing yards per game and second with 27.9 points per game.

With a win over the Cowboys Sunday night in Dallas, the Eagles will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“I think it’s a confidence booster,” McCoy said of Peters. “You get banged up and you get hurt, some people kind of write you off. It shows you the hard work and dedication to get back healthy and be the dominant player he once was and still is.

“I’m happy for him. He’s an unbelievable talent and a great teammate and a great person. He deserves it.”

Although Peters was selected to the Pro Bowl team, linemates Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce were snubbed.

In fact, right guard Todd Herremans Friday night tweeted as much, adding DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole to his snub list:

Peters entered the NFL as an undrafted tight end before converting to offensive tackle in his second season.

Only three undrafted offensive linemen in history have been selected to more Pro Bowls: Hall of Famers Jim Otto (12) and Lou Groza (nine but mainly as a kicker) and Jay Hilgenberg (seven).

“He’s by far the best lineman I’ve ever played with in my career, from high school to college to the pros,” McCoy said. “He’s a combination of speed, power, intelligence, you name it. The guy is terrific. I’m happy to play with him. I feel like he makes my job a lot easier.”

Eagles in awe of Carson Wentz after another stunning performance

Eagles in awe of Carson Wentz after another stunning performance

Carson Wentz clearly had some 60,000 fans cheering for him during Sunday’s 34-3 drubbing of the cross-state Pittsburgh Steelers (see Instant Replay).

He had a few fans on the sideline too. 

During Sunday’s game, when the Eagles’ offense was on the field, defensive teammates couldn’t help but stop to watch the electrifying rookie. 

“I watch him all the time,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said, cracking a smile. “It’s impressive what he’s doing, man. I think everybody is waiting to see him fall off or see a bad decision or see a rookie mistake. But so far, they haven’t come. He’s been the key reason why we’re 3-0. 

“What he’s doing is great. It’s amazing. It’s something that I think he’ll downplay, but there’s no doubt about it, what he’s doing is special. I think it’s a testament to his preparation, his demeanor.”

Against the Steelers, Wentz put forth his best game of his young three-game career. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and had a passer rating of 125.9 (see 10 observations)

Wentz became the first NFL rookie ever to have a game with 300-plus passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage above 74. He also became the third rookie in Eagles history to throw for 300-plus yards with two touchdowns in a game.

Wentz actually out-performed Pittsburgh starting quarterback and future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. 

"I thought he played great,” Roethlisberger said. “He won the game."

What Wentz is doing is special. 

So special even his teammates on the other side of the football are taking time to notice in between preparing for their next series. 

“You find yourself hearing the crowd getting excited,” linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “You’re watching the plays and we’re jumping up and down getting excited with them. You find yourself doing those things. When the offense is doing what they’re doing and then we’re doubling back and doing what we’re doing, it’s just tough to spot.”

“Oh yeah. It feels good,” cornerback Nolan Carroll said. “It’s great for them to move the chains and Carson does a good job. He’s seasoned. It’s only his third game in the NFL but he’s seems like a vet.”

Through three games, Wentz has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 769 yards. He has five touchdowns and still hasn’t thrown an interception in 102 career passes.  

On Sunday against the Steelers, he continued to wow onlookers. His best feat of the night came on an off-schedule play in the third quarter. With the Eagles still just up by 10 points, Wentz rolled right and found Darren Sproles, who caught the ball and ran the rest of the way for a 73-yard touchdown pass.

“We always say, hey a play’s never dead,” Wentz said. 

It was just the 16th 73-yard-plus touchdown pass in Eagles history. 

Maybe Wentz has always been this confident in himself, but now his teammates are undoubtedly behind him. 

“He continues to blow my mind away,” receiver Josh Huff said. “The poise he has, the way he commands the huddle, all the guys listening to him. He brings a ton of energy every day, especially on game days. … The team’s with him right now and that’s one of the reasons we played so well today. We have a good quarterback … a great quarterback.”

While the Philadelphia will certainly be engulfed in Wentz-mania in the coming weeks, the buzz within the locker room is palpable too. 

“I told [head coach Doug Pederson] being 10 years in, this kid is inspiring me,” tight end Brent Celek said. “He’s adding youth to my game just by the way he’s acting, being in the huddle, taking command, it’s beyond impressive. It’s great. We have to keep it going. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re the greatest team but I’m excited with how he’s playing and he’s elevating everybody else’s play by the way he’s handling it.”

Carson Wentz, Jordan Matthews share unique TD celebration

Carson Wentz, Jordan Matthews share unique TD celebration

After a second quarter touchdown, Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews ran toward each other. They fixed fake ties around their necks and shook hands. 

That’s the new touchdown celebration between Wentz and Matthews, the starting quarterback and his best wide receiver. So far, it’s been used twice in 2016. The most recent was during Sunday's 34-3 drubbing of the Steelers (see Instant Replay)

It’s a sight Eagles fans hope they’ll see plenty more of in the future. 

“It’s just all business. We keep it all business,” Wentz said when asked about the celebration. “You’ll have to ask him a little more. He might give you a little more in depth review on that.”

Turns out, Wentz was right (see 10 observations)

Matthews did go into more depth about the new celebration. 

“That’s what we do,” Matthews said. “We were thinking about something that represented both of us or whatever. Whenever guys score touchdowns or something crazy happens, they’re always jumping into each other. They call it getting hype or whatever. 

“But with us, we want to play with each other for a long time. We feel like we work hard enough to where we should expect to have a touchdown, we should expect great things to happen. So every time I run up to him, fake like we’re about to jump into each other, put a tie on, shake hands. Business as usual. It’s like, no hype, straight business.”

Wentz and Matthews have grown close since the Eagles used the No. 2 overall pick to draft him in April. Now, they have a unique celebration to go along with their growing friendship.

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