There is no doubt that one of the biggest reasons for the Philadelphia Eagles’ endless struggles this season was the absence of perennial Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters.
Peters is easily the most valuable player on the Eagles’ offensive line, which was further proven in 2012 when his team looked absolutely lost without the big fella.
In an awful sequence of events, Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon two different times before the season began, with the first occurring in Eagles’ training camp. Peters was subsequently placed on the Injured Reserve (IR) and missed the Eagles’ entire 2012 campaign.
The Eagles desperately tried to fill the void at left tackle with stints by both King Dunlap and Demetress Bell, but both backups proved to be worthless on the protection front.
But could the return of Peters alone be enough to spark this Eagles’ offense, and turn them back into a squad with serious post-season aspirations?
Well, yes. Certainly.
While the Eagles will obviously still need a lot of improvement on their offensive line, which should come with the return of C Jason Kelce and RT Todd Herremans from the IR as well, the presence of Peters by himself will boost the spirits and egos of the entire Eagles’ organization immensely.
Both Eagles QB Michael Vick and QB Nick Foles were forced to run for their lives every single game this season, as their offensive line proved to be completely incapable of even slowing down the pass rush.
Vick is expected to be released by the Eagles at the end of this season, and the team will likely look elsewhere for a starting quarterback as Foles did not look ready for the NFL stage at all during his time on the field.
No matter who is the Eagles’ starting QB when the 2013 season kicks off, he is going to be a very lucky man with a stud like Peters protecting his blindside. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will also benefit greatly when running off-tackle to the left with the big man back in the line-up.
While a horrifying 4-12 record in 2012 makes it seem like the Eagles are light years away from playoff contention, the birds have a chance to take flight immediately next season with Peters back in action.
Please follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_RantNFL for all Eagles/NFL insight.