The initial shock was that neither Lane Johnson nor Jordan Mailata had made the Pro Bowl team.
Then came the aftershock: Neither was even an alternate.
Which doesn’t even seem possible.
Johnson and Mailata have both played at an extraordinary level this fall. How could both tackles on one of the NFL’s best offensive lines be snubbed like this?
That’s the nature of the Pro Bowl voting.
“Both of those guys are tremendous players and I think we have a number of players that played at a very high level all year,” Jalen Hurts said Thursday.
“You see Jordan Mailata out there balling and keeping me clean, you see Lane out there doing what he’s done for a very long time. They’re Pro Bowlers in my book. They’re Pro Bowlers in my book. Kind of shocked to see that, for sure.”
Trent Williams of the 49ers and Tristan Wirfs of the Buccaneers were voted in balloting by fans and other NFC coaches and players as the starting Pro Bowl tackles, with Tyron Smith of the Cowboys also making the NFC team. All three from winning teams, and that’s often how the voting goes.
Williams has had a monster season, but anybody who’s paid attention knows how much Mailata and Johnson have meant to this line, this offense, this team.
The Eagles are 7-7 but have won five of their last seven games, and they have the No. 2 offense in the NFL during that seven-game span. They’re the first NFL team in 36 years to rush for 175 or more yards in seven straight games.
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Mailata and Johnson did both miss time this year. Mailata missed the Cowboys and Chiefs games with a knee injury, and Johnson missed the Chiefs, Panthers and Buccaneers while he focused on his mental health.
In the 10 games they’ve both played, the Eagles are 6-4 and averaging 28.0 points per game.
Center Jason Kelce is the only offensive lineman – and only member of the offense – to make the Pro Bowl team. Hurts and Dallas Goedert are alternates.
This is the ninth straight year at least one Eagles offensive lineman has made the Pro Bowl team. This is also Jeff Stoutland’s ninth season as Eagles offensive line coach.
Mailata is only in his second year as a starter and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl team. Johnson made three in a row after the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.
“We all know it’s an imperfect science,” said Kelce, now a five-time Pro Bowler. “I’ve been an all-pro twice and not made the Pro Bowl (the same year). I think there’s a lot of guys that are really good players, and the two tackles we have I think are as good as any if not better than anybody in the league.
“They know what we think of them. I wish everybody else did. But that’s kind of the way the Pro Bowl voting works. It tends to be sporadic and whoever the hot media guys are for the year end up usually getting in, and that’s just the way it goes.
“Honored for me, happy for everybody else that’s invited, but I think there’s some other guys on our line - especially the way we’ve been playing ever since about Week 5 or 6 - who could probably get in there."