But in the midst of a historically upsetting organizational collapse, the Eagles could not even salvage five wins in 2012, let alone make a run at the Super Bowl like a lot of fans expected. Ex-Eagles QB Vince Young will forever have the words “dream team” ringing in his ears, after he referred to the seemingly refurbished Eagles as such in 2011 prior to their epic two-year meltdown.
Ryans quickly became invisible in the eyes of most NFL fans, as the majority of critics focused on bashing QB Michael Vick and former 14-year Eagles head coach Andy Reid. And when it came to the team’s laundry-list of defense struggles, former Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha and ex-defensive coordinator Juan Castillo shouldered most of the blame.
So with his new team and organization completely dismantling around him, Ryans actually performed pretty well considering the circumstances, putting up a modest 113 tackles, one sack and one interception.
It seems like an eternity since Ryans wowed the nation in 2006 as a rookie, where he racked up 156 tackles, with 126 being solo, 3.5 sacks, a sack and a forced fumble en route to the winning the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Ryans then followed up his extraordinary rookie campaign with a glorious sophomore season, where he was named an All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl.
I have no doubt that Ryans still has the innate talent and football intelligence necessary to recapture his once elite NFL stature.
And after a serious organizational face-lift and the implementation of a brand new coaching staff, look for Ryans to quickly, but quietly, reassert himself as a truly dominant middle linebacker.