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Old 11-14-2013   #1
Vinny
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Default DeMeco Ryans is performing like a Pro Bowl player again

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Contending teams don't often part with all-pros unless there's a reason. The Eagles learned that lesson the hard way in the past.

But in his second season with the Eagles, Ryans is validating the Eagles' end of the trade by pushing to make his first Pro Bowl since 2009.

"This is the level I was playing at," Ryans said. "It's fun being back at that level, being able to make plays."

Ryans, 29, is not especially boastful. His claim echoes what has been said elsewhere in the organization, from the locker room to the coaching staff to the front office. Ryans ranks fourth in the NFL with 89 tackles and is second in solo tackles with 71. He also has two sacks and two interceptions, and is a major reason that the Eagles have held opponents to an average 16.25 points in the last four games.

"DeMeco is the leader of our defense and he's having an outstanding Pro Bowl year and we couldn't be happier with everything DeMeco is doing for us," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "Between tackle to tackle, he is a force."

Outside linebacker Connor Barwin played with Ryans in Houston during Ryans' last Pro Bowl season and agreed that the veteran has returned to his pre-injury level.

"If not even better," Barwin said.

Ryans was a leader in the Texans locker room. After returning from the injury, he played second fiddle to Brian Cushing in the Texans' new 3-4 defense in 2011. He was not believed to be an ideal fit for their scheme - the Eagles even said Ryans was better for a 4-3 defense when they acquired him.

When the Texans traded him, "everybody was shocked, everybody questioned it, and nobody really understood it," Barwin said.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/...3QvUstpfEFg.99
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