Eagles

Changes not coming to OL, Doug Pederson doesn't want to hit 'panic buttons'

Don't expect to see Chance Warmack or Stefen Wisniewski inserted into the Eagles' starting offensive line. 

Not yet anyway. 

"Experienced backups are great to have," head coach Doug Pederson said Monday afternoon, "but I don't want to push any panic buttons at this time."

The Eagles have just eight offensive linemen on their roster, but Warmack and Wisniewski have considerable NFL starting experience and might eventually give the Eagles a better option at guard and center than Isaac Seumalo and Jason Kelce. But Pederson isn't ready to make that decision yet. 

While fans like to get on Kelce because of his undersized frame, he normally isn't as bad as most think. Sure, he gets blown up by some nose tackles, but he's a good blocker once he gets out in front of a play and when his athleticism takes over. Besides, he's started every game over the last couple of years and hasn't even missed a snap, so his job is probably safe unless things become disastrous. 

Seumalo is probably on a shorter leash. The second-year guard/center is a full-time starter this year for the first time after the Eagles parted ways with veteran Allen Barbre during training camp. 

After an iffy performance in the opener, Seumalo was awful against the Chiefs, giving up four sacks (of six) throughout the game. 

That almost has to be "panic button" worthy. 

"Are players going to get beat in this league? Yes, they're going to get beat in this league," Pederson said. "And that's a good defensive front. We'll evaluate it this week in practice and as we go. But as of right now, we're not going to make any changes and we're just going to keep going."

Pederson clearly wants to try and ride this out with Seumalo but it's worth wondering how long that will be the plan, especially if the second-year player's struggles continue. 

For his part, Seumalo didn't hide after his dreadful performance. He came out and admitted his play is a problem. 

"First and foremost, I've got to play better," he said (see story). "No doubt about it. That's all I can focus on. Doing my job a lot better. I've got to play better, for sure." 

The Eagles took Seumalo out of Oregon State in the third-round of last year's draft. The versatile lineman actually played four positions last season: left tackle, left guard, right guard and right tackle. Coincidentally, he didn't play center, the position that might be his most natural fit and future home with the Eagles whenever Kelce is gone. 

For now, though, Seumalo is still the Eagles' starting left guard. That has been problematic though two games. It was extremely evident Sunday, when Chiefs' lineman Chris Jones kept blowing past him and taking down Carson Wentz. 

The good news for Pederson and the Eagles is that they know what's wrong with Seumalo. At least they think they do. Pederson explained that sometimes Seumalo drops his head, is late with his hands or, on the road in a loud stadium, is late off the ball. 

"But they're all fixable, correctable things," Pederson insisted. "He's smart, he knows where to go, he understands the scheme, both run and pass, he's one that we continue to work and build with."

If that doesn't work, the Eagles will have to find that panic button. Hopefully, for them, it won't be too late.