With starting Pro-Bowl left tackle Jason Peters out for the season, backup King Dunlap struggling with injuries and third-stringer Demetress Bell showing he has no business still being in the NFL, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles may need to explore other options at pass-protector in 2012.
As any NFL fan knows, every season counts. The Eagles can not afford to wait for Peters to return in order to protect QB Michael Vick and make a run at the Super Bowl.
“There’s always next year” is just not in an NFL player’s vocabulary.
With that said, the Eagles must start looking for a short-term solution at the left tackle position immediately or they will have no shot at winning the NFC East, let alone making a Super Bowl run in 2012.
Although it doesn’t look like Dunlap will be out for too long, he is still hardly a step up from the dreadful Bell. Bell actually had the starting job, but was beaten out by Dunlap before the season began. And Bell starting is an absolute joke.
Yes, Bell’s sample size as a starter for the Eagles is a whole one game, but I have seen enough.
I have seen more than enough.
The lack of toughness, quickness and athletic ability that he showed, allowing Vick to get continuously maimed, gives me no reason to believe that there is anything better to expect in the future.
It is a sticky situation for the Eagles’ front office, because the team can not really commit to anybody long term or toss a large paycheck their way, being that Peters will most likely return by next season and their roster is flushed with big money players.
But the Eagles do not really have anything to lose by signing a low-cost veteran free agent LT, or trading a late seventh-round draft pick for a young player with potential.
Worst case, they release said player and are back to square one. And even when Peters returns, a young backup is always valuable and very likely a step up from Dunlap or Bell.
With the amount head coach Andy Reid loves to throw the ball, the left tackle position is not one that can be over-looked. Even though Vick is a lefty, so the left tackle is not protecting his actual blind-side, this position still must be occupied by a superior pass-protector.
So the Eagles have two choices.
Look for a capable left tackle to protect their franchise quarterback and have a shot at the playoffs. Or watch Bell and Dunlap get embarrassed, Vick get injured, and hopefully pull off a .500 season.
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