In 2009, the offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles allowed 38 sacks. In 2010, the line allowed 49 sacks.
The scrambling ability of quarterback Michael Vick definitely resulted in more sacks given up. Injuries didn’t help either, as center Jamaal Jackson suffered a season ending injury in the first game against the Green Bay Packers. Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters also missed a few games, as did right tackle Winston Justice.
But the quality of play from the Eagles linemen in 2010 was just flat out subpar. Peters was a rock at left tackle. And Todd Herremans had a quality season at left guard.
But center Mike McGlynn, right guards Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole, and right tackle Winston Justice all producef subpar seasons.
McGlynn’s disappointing campaign was to be expected. After all, the fourth round pick in the 2008 draft began the season as a backup and was thrust into the starting role after Jackson’s week one injury. He will likely shift back to the bench after Jackson returns from his injury next season.
Jean-Gilles and Cole shared time in 2010. Jean-Gilles started 10 games and Cole started seven. Neither was very effective. Cole’s season was especially disappointing because he had started all 16 games in 2009. Right guard was probably the weakest position on the offensive line, and it didn’t help that quarterback Michael Vick was a lefty.
At right tackle, Winston Justice had a mediocre season. He missed three games due to injury and he was a decent protector of Vick, but he wasn’t the rock the Eagles needed to protect their quarterback’s blind side.
The addition of famed offensive line coach Howard Mudd, lured out of retirement after a successful career helping to develop blockers for Peyton Manning, will provide immediate improvement on the struggling offensive line.
But a new coach isn’t going to solve everything. It’s absolutely vital that the Eagles select a lineman in the first few rounds.
The Eagles need either a right guard or a right tackle (or both) to help protect Vick. The ideal situation would be to draft a player who is suited to play both. Then the team can decide which position to start him at in 2011.
In an upcoming series, I will look at several draft prospects who could join the Eagles in 2011.