By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Brandon Boykin wants to hold off for now. He doesn’t want to go proclaiming things or making more out of his 2013 season than there has to be.
The second-year defensive back out of Georgia only led the Eagles with six interceptions and 17 passes defended. He only made the play of the year, picking off a Kyle Orton pass late in the fourth quarter to preserve the Eagles’ 24-22 victory over the Cowboys to win the NFC East.
But as Boykin stood there packing his things for the last time at his locker on Monday morning, he was torn, split between being content with the season he had and saddened by the stark reality that it was over.
“I felt coming into the season I wanted to separate myself from the pack that I came in with,” Boykin said. “I knew having the one year under my belt that I was capable of doing that. I just had to put in a little more hard work and a little more film study, and the scheme they brought in really helped me, so I felt like it really was a breakout year for me.”
What surprised Boykin most was his high level of consistency this season. Sometimes players can start out hot and eventually fizzle in pressure situations. All Boykin did was glow. There was an interesting correlation in each game Boykin had an interception–the Eagles won.
If not for his pick against the Cowboys in the season finale, who knows how that game would have ended. His pick six against Chicago sealed a needed victory and shut down one of the most potent attacks in the NFL.
Boykin said rookie head coach Chip Kelly made a difference in his NFL sophomore year.
“I just think his approach to the game and approach to the players, he made this as comfortable an environment as he possibly could for us,” Boykin said of Kelly. “He listened to whatever we had to say and was always open to suggestions, like I said, just being a player’s coach. Everyone responded to that. Game day, he made sure everybody was healthy and fresh and we wanted to play for him.
“We proved everybody wrong. No one expected us to do what we did. We started off 3-5 and to end up how we did, no one expected that. If anything, we proved it to ourselves that we could be much better than how we ended. I think there’s so much more that we can do. I think we brought life back to the city of Philadelphia most importantly. People are excited again about Eagles’ football.”
Boykin, too, has to be excited. He received considerable playing time playing the slot receiver in nickel packages–and next year you would think he wants to eye a starting job.
But Boykin put the brakes on there when it came to demanding a starting role next season.
“I want be consistent next year,” Boykin said. “I haven’t really thought about this year. There are a lot of things I need to look at that I didn’t well or that I could have done better. Overall, I want to be a better player, a better blitzer, a better tackler, a better cover guy. I don’t want any holes in my game. I always said when I’m on the field I’m going to make a difference.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.