It’s not something that anyone could have predicted five months ago, but the Philadelphia Eagles say they will go with King Dunlap over Demetress Bell as the starter to begin the 2012 season.
“Give him credit for what he’s done,” head coach Andy Reid said. “He’s got a long road here to go with this season and staying healthy, doing all those things, playing aggressive football week in and week out. He hasn’t had to do that at this level, but you sure have to give him credit for the battle that he’s been in here with Demetress. They went after it, and they’re still going to go after it. Demetress isn’t going to concede. That isn’t what he’s going to do. I think we’re fortunate to have two guys there that we know can play. But King ended up being the guy that got the No. 1 spot.”
Dunlap is still a long shot to end the season as the starter, in my opinion.
Veteran Demetress Bell was highly pursued by the Eagles immediately after star Jason Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon that will sideline him for the season. He ended up signing a five-year deal worth more than Evan Mathis’s contract, and Mathis turned in the best season by a guard in the NFL in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus. Bell has come nowhere close to producing a season like Mathis, as he has struggled with injuries throughout his career.
I look at Dunlap starting over Bell the same way I did when veteran guard Kyle DeVan beat out rookie first round draft pick Danny Watkins for the starting job heading into the 2011 season. Everybody knew who would be the starter by the end of the season.
I really have no preference. I just want the Eagles to be able to adequately protect Michael Vick. Whoever can do the best job should absolutely be the starter.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.