Eagles: Assessing offensive line play from Week 3

The Eagles entered Monday’s contest in Dallas with a battered offensive line. Down both Brandon Brooks and Jordan Mailata, the team was forced to rely on rookie second-round pick Landon Dickerson at right guard and former first-round pick Andre Dillard at left tackle.

To add even more insult to the injuries, the Eagles ended up losing Isaac Seumalo during the game and he’ll be out for the season with a Lisfranc injury.

At first glance, the big guys up front didn’t fare too well against Dallas’ front-four. Philly barely ran any designed running plays — five to be exact — so there’s nothing substantial to take away from the line’s run blocking prowess.

Since they didn’t run the ball much, we got a good look at the Eagles line’s pass blocking ability. Per PFF, the line as a whole posted a respectable 70.7 pass-blocking grade on the night. But they did allow 12 quarterback pressures and 10 hurries. Given the amount of time Jalen Hurts held onto the ball Monday night, 2.93 seconds on average, the pressures aren’t all on the offensive line.

On average this season, Hurts has taken 3.04 seconds to throw the ball. Among starting quarterbacks, that’s the third-highest mark in the NFL. His 2.93 seconds on Monday night would place him sixth-highest in the league.

It’s hard for an NFL offense to succeed when the quarterback is consistently holding onto the ball this long. For comparison’s sake, Tom Brady takes 2.38 seconds to throw the ball on average this year. Joe Burrow, 2.39 seconds. Dak Prescott, 2.48 seconds. You get the point.

That extra half-second can kill any rhythm on passing plays and it’ll result in more pressures/sacks taken. So to get back to the Eagles offensive line, it’s hard to blame them for all of those pressures allowed Monday night considering how long Hurts held onto the ball.

On an individual level, it was a mixed bag along the line. Jason Kelce was the highest graded offensive lineman for the Eagles Monday night, earning a 77.6 overall grade per PFF. He allowed three hurries/pressures and posted a pass blocking efficiency of 96.9.

Surprisingly enough, Dillard was the second-highest graded offensive lineman for the Birds. He recorded a 77.4 overall grade on PFF, and he had the highest pass-block grade of any lineman with a 81.7 mark. He allowed only two pressures/hurries on the night. His pass blocking efficiency came out to 97.9.

Lane Johnson had an average night, allowing two pressures/hurries.

The real concern along the line is Dickerson, who made his first career start against the Cowboys. His pass blocking did improve from the week prior, but it was still a weakness for him. Dickerson allowed four pressures and two hurries on the night, most of any lineman on the team.

His run blocking wasn’t much better either. His PFF run-block grade came out to 55.1. For a guy that was advertised as a run blocking mauler when he was first drafted, seeing him get man handled a bit in this area should raise some concern.

This play against Micah Parsons was just one example. His foot work and leverage just seem all out of whack.

If Dickerson makes this block, Hurts has a legitimate chance to get 10-15 yards on this run. Instead, he gets ahead of himself and just falls down. A perfect example of one missed assignment derailing an otherwise solid play.

Dickerson isn’t the only backup that struggled in this game, though. Once Seumalo went down, Nate Herbig was called upon to fill in. He posted the worst pass-block grade on the night, 34.9, along with allowing four combined pressures/hurries on 18 pass blocking reps.

Injuries are continuing to mount for this Eagles line, and they don’t have anyone else to turn to other than Dickerson and Herbig at this point. It’ll take more than one bad game for either of these two to get benched, obviously. Herbig did well when he saw extended playing time last season, and Dickerson is a first year player who the team has a lot invested in.

But if the Eagles are to continue playing at a high level along the offensive line, these two need to step up ASAP.

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