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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Evan Mathis and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman agreed that it’d be a good idea for Mathis to test the market. In the end, they agreed it would be a good idea for Mathis to come back to the Eagles.
Mathis said peace of mind for both sides was the reason he hit the open market and spoke to other teams. “So that I wouldn’t get low-balled, Howie wouldn’t pay too much,” Mathis told Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis Monday in an interview on 94WIP. “It worked out in the end. I went to Baltimore. I left, and they gave me an offer while I was there. I was there for two days. They were really pressuring me to sign while I was there, but I wasn’t going to do that no matter what, because I wanted to weigh my options. So when I left there, that was the first time that I knew of an offer from the Eagles. I didn’t have any numbers right away but they expressed to me that they were willing to beat the Ravens offer.”
After spending time with the Bengals, Dolphins and Panthers, Mathis had his best season in 2011 with the Eagles, becoming one of the top guards in the NFL. Mathis said that legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd and his system are responsible for his breakout season. “Howard Mudd likes putting athletes on the field. Guys like Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, every one of our offensive linemen have a lot of athletic ability. And it takes good athletic ability to do Howard’s techniques.”
Though Mudd’s system appears to benefit smaller players, it’s not the size that he’s looking for, it’s the speed. “The techniques that he had made all of us way better. It really utilized Kelce’s speed. Kelce is a very, very, very fast center. And it definitely utilizes him getting out on sweeps and screens and everything,” he said.
There’s been a lot of talk about what will be the difference for the Eagles in 2012. The words “linebacker,” and “safety,” seem to be mentioned the most. Kelce says there’s a different word that will signal success for the Eagles; turnovers. “The bottom line is to not turn the ball over. The amount of turnovers we had last year. We keep bringing this up, you know you can’t turn the ball over more than you take it away. That’s one of the most reliable facts of football, that translates to losing games.”