Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles’ Offensive Line
Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line
The Philadelphia Eagles' offensive line was in shambles last season. Injuries took a huge toll on the line as a whole as Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon in the offseason, Jason Kelce, the leader along the offensive line who makes all the calls, went down in the third week of the season. Finally, Todd Herremans dislocated a bone and suffered ligament damage in his right foot, ending his season.
That amount of injuries to one offensive line is pretty unprecedented, as it left Evan Mathis as the last healthy offensive lineman standing. Backups King Dunlap, Demetress Bell, Dennis Kelly and even journeyman Jake Scott were depended on to play regular snaps, and it was not pretty. Opponents put consistent pressure on the quarterback as the backups were in over their heads and Bell, a guy counted on as a strong, free agent replacement for Peters, totally flopped in the 2012 campaign.
The Eagles knew they needed to address the line in a desperate way to avoid the turmoil of last season. Lane Johnson was drafted in the first round at fourth overall to compete for and hopefully win the right tackle job, which happens to be Michael Vick's blind side.
The return of three projected starters to the offensive line should also be a huge boost for a unit that needs continuity throughout the regular season for players to develop a cohesion and a rapport with one another. Let's take a look at the five projected starters along the offensive line in 2013.
Jason Kelce's return from injury gives the Eagles their unquestioned leader along the offensive line. He is responsible for making the offensive calls and setting the protections, and is a perfect kit as an athletic, nimble center in Chip Kelly's offense.
Lane Johnson will have to come in right away and potentially protect Michael Vick's blindside in Week 1 on Monday Night Football. Those are huge shoes for the rookie to fill, but he has the mental makeup and physical skills to assume the task.
Evan Mathis graded out as one of the better guards in the NFL in 2012. He will look to build on his banner campaign and shore up the interior of the line for the Birds.
Todd Herremans' return from injury gives the Eagles potentially two Pro Bowl players at guard in Herremans and Evan Mathis. The interior of the line with Kelce, Mathis and Herremans should be a strength for the club.
Jason Peters' offseason Achilles injury crippled the team's chances last year, as they never seemed to recover or find anyone to fill his spot admirably. His return gives the whole offensive line a huge boost — when he is on his game, he is the best left tackle in football.