By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Evan Mathis thinks in absolutes. He doesn’t do conjecture and he rarely looks at the past. Mathis feels that attitude has kept him grounded, kept him always looking to do more. The Eagles left guard has been one of the best at his position for the last three years now.
This season, Mathis’ work was finally recognized, when he was named All-Pro for the first time in his eight-year career.
Want a reason why LeSean McCoy smashed the Eagles’ record book this past season with an Eagles’ single-season record 1,607 yards rushing to become the first Eagle since Steve Van Buren in 1949 to lead the league in rushing?
How about looking at the gaping holes and pathways Mathis made.
The Eagles front of Mathis, fellow All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce, right guard Todd Herremans and right tackle Lane Johnson were arguably the best offensive line in football.
With that group returning intact next year bodes well for a strong future.
“We made a lot of growth over the year and we’ll keep that same mentality,” said Mathis, the only starter who stayed healthy throughout the tumultuous 4-12 season in 2012. “The first season with this line, I think we made a lot of growth during the year. We’ll keep that same mentality moving forward and continue to grow.”
Mathis said there’s some things to learn, especially after the Eagles’ disheartening, last-second 26-24 loss to the New Orleans on Saturday that ended the Birds’ season in the wildcard round of the NFC playoffs.
“We were on the same page of the most part, but every now and then, there were some minor breakdowns, we weren’t always on the same page with the backs,” Mathis said. “Overall, there were things to capitalize on and things to learn from, just like any game.”
Mathis stressed it was important to put the Saints’ game behind him and the team. He said he’ll evaluate the season in its totality. The goal was a simple one: Keep the one-game season going, and never talk or think too much ahead.
But he may have to make a date for the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26. Mathis is a second alternate (he should have been a starter) and is pleased with what he’s done.
Though he made sure to indicate that he’s not satisfied.
“Honestly, the past three seasons have been pretty consistent, but there are some things that I feel I’m doing better and better and some techniques as well as plays that I hadn’t run before,” Mathis said. “As far as the tools that I have to use, my toolbox has grown. It felt really, really good to be named All-Pro for five or 10 minutes, but it’s not what I’m playing for. It’s a really good feeling to get the recognition, but I’m the type to be pleased for long. I have to keep doing it. Looking back on the two years before this season, I felt that had elite seasons and I wasn’t expecting to get the recognition then. It took them a while to get the recognition. But I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.