A lot has been said about the Eagles offensive line during training camp this year.
They were already entering camp short handed due to the Brandon Brooks injury, so the loss of second year left tackle Andre Dillard for the year only complicated things further. There was some controversy around possibly moving Jason Peters back to his natural position at LT, the team reportedly talked about bringing in veteran LT Cordy Glenn, but now it seems everything is set for week 1 with Peters back as the blindside protector.
The current makeup of the o-line looks like this (from left to right): Jason Peters – Isaac Seumalo – Jason Kelce – Matt Pryor (most likely) – Lane Johnson. Given the two major injuries I already mentioned, this line could be a lot worse than what it currently looks like.
Are they still a consensus top-3 unit in the league? Probably not. But they’re still a top-10 offensive line, a lot of teams around the league would trade what they have for this group in a heart beat.
With the tumultuous offseason behind us, it’s time to look at how this offensive line matches up with their week 1 opponent, the Washington Football Team. We’re going to find out very quickly how good this offensive line truly is.
Say what you want about Washington, but there’s no denying how good they are along the defensive line. They’re returning every starter from last season, and although they’re transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3, all of the pieces they have should still fit well into a 4-3 scheme. Not to mention their flashy new toy, second overall pick Chase Young.
Their defensive end rotation could wreak havoc all season, with Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson all figuring to get significant playing time. Kerrigan may not be the force off the edge he used to be, but having him play in a purely pass rushing role off the bench should serve him well. As an offensive tackle, having to deal with either Sweat or Young for most of the game, only for them to get subbed out by a fresh Kerrigan is a nightmare.
Their interior defensive line may not pose as much of a threat as their edge rushers, but they still have some really solid players along the inside. Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Matthew Ioannidis is a solid trio of d-tackles. Ioannidis lead the team with 8.5 sacks last season as the 3-4 defensive end. The trio combined for 16.5 sacks last season.
The Eagles offensive line will have their hands full in this week 1 matchup, and it’ll likely be the determining factor of the game. It’s hard to imagine this line not having at least some trouble containing Washington’s pass rush. Although left tackle is Peters’ natural position, he’s spent the entirety of training camp practicing exclusively at guard. The same goes for Pryor, who was given reps all over the line during camp.
Expecting this line to get their chemistry down right out of the gates is unrealistic. They haven’t had any game action to work out the kinks — if you think the ‘live scrimmages’ were enough, you’re mistaken.
It could be a little ugly at first, but hopefully as the game goes on, the line can make the proper adjustments so they can keep Wentz upright and open up holes for Sanders and company. Again, the Eagles still have a top-10 offensive line in the NFL, so even if they’re a little slow out of the gate, they’ll more than likely figure things out as the season progresses.
There’s no doubt the Eagles o-line vs. Washington’s d-line will be the matchup to watch in their week 1 contest.