Lane Johnson, Nic Purcell: New Look For Philadelphia Eagles' O-Line

By williambontrager
O line
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It is a devastating fact that the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line went through some tough moments last season. This may have been part of the reason for the only four victories they managed to wheeze out. However, the coaching staff, under new management from Chip Kelly, hopefully has learned from their mistakes. The staff seems to be taking steps to bolster the O- line. This is crucial, since last year we witnessed the line suffer with injuries to All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce.

One of the more celebrated offensive linemen is the Eagle’s highest draft pick in almost a decade, Lane Johnson. With his praises already being sung, he still has to win the job at right tackle. The Eagles high energy offense and various combinations this year could allow Johnson to use his athleticism to be effective. Watching some games he played as a Sooner in Oklahoma, it is easy to get excited about him. He runs with the faster backs, hustles down the field on every play and his pass blocking is impenetrable.

Another strong addition to the line, if it gets banged up like last year, may be Nic Purcell. Some may ask, “who?” They are justified in their inquiry coming from a small institution, Golden West College. Purcell won a position with the Eagles after attending the Rookie Training Camp and impressing the coaches there. He played Rugby all his life, but was convinced by four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Supolu, to play football while enrolled. He enjoys the physicality of the game and though undersized, he may be the new breed of lineman that can fit with a  Kelly offense. He might surprise a lot of people and compete for the fifth spot.

Gone are the days where the offensive line is an immovable wall. The line, under a quicker offense, must move with it. It will be interesting to see how the veterans react to it on opening day against the more traditional defense of the Washington Redskins. Adding these two young lineman may fill in those gaps that the team sorely missed last year.

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