Eagles Insider

Figuring out the next moves on Eagles’ offensive line

Eagles Insider

The Eagles have already used six different starting offensive lines and 10 different starting offensive linemen.

And there's more than half a season left to play.

It’s been a constant juggling act for o-line coach Jeff Stoutland and head coach Doug Pederson, but if all goes well, pretty soon the Eagles will start getting some guys back, and they'll have to juggle things in a different way.

The Eagles are currently missing Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Peters, Jack Driscoll, Lane Johnson and Isaac Seumalo.

We know Dillard’s not coming back this year, and Brooks is unlikely to come back. Seumalo and Peters are both on Injured Reserve but eligible to return. Seumalo has missed five games and Peters four.

Driscoll and Johnson are still on the active roster but without a clear timetable to return.

Pederson on Friday said Peters is close, and Johnson’s knee sprain doesn’t sound too serious, although he’s also dealing with a nagging ankle injury.

On Thursday night, the Eagles finished the game with Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Sua Opeta at left guard, Jason Kelce at center, Nate Herbig at right guard and Matt Pryor at right tackle. Of that group, only Kelce had started a regular-season game before the season began.

The only certainty moving forward is that Kelce will start at center against the Cowboys a week from Sunday.

Beyond that? Who knows.

After facing Dallas on Sunday at the Linc, the Eagles have a bye week before returning Nov. 15 to face the Giants again.

 

Let’s take a look at the Eagles’ o-line options:

What to do with J.P.?

Pederson was non-committal about whether Peters will return to left tackle or play right guard when he’s healthy. Common sense says he should play guard, since the Eagles are more settled with Mailata at left tackle than with Opeta at left guard. But left tackle is more important, and if J.P. is healthy he’s better than Mailata. But he might have an easier time staying healthy at right guard. I think J.P. goes back to right guard, moving Herbig back to left guard and Opeta to the bench.

What about Seumalo?

When the Eagles get Seumalo back, that raises some new questions. He would go back to left guard, but would they now line up Peters at left tackle and Herbig at right guard or Mailata at left tackle and Peters at right guard? It comes down to whether you’d rather have Mailata or Herbig on the field.

What if Driscoll gets back before Lane?

Driscoll would play ahead of Pryor at right tackle if he’s back before Johnson. Driscoll was playing pretty good football for a rookie 4th-round pick when he got hurt, and Pryor has been plagued by inconsistency wherever he lines up.

Where does Prince Tega fit in?

It was surprising that rookie 6th-round tackle Prince Tega Wanogho wasn’t activated Thursday night with three tackles - Driscoll, Johnson and Peters - all unavailable or hurting. The Eagles activated Brett Toth - who played at Army, just signed here and has very little pass blocking experience - instead of Wanogho, who played tackle at Auburn and is now on the practice squad. If you can’t get a call-up when three tackles are out, I don’t know when you can.

Who gets cuts when everyone’s healthy?

The Eagles have nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, three on I.R. and two on the practice squad - Wanogho and Jamon Brown. When either Peters or Seumalo is activated, Toth would be the obvious first candidate to be released (and presumably signed to the practice squad). When the second one is activated, Opeta would be the next candidate to head back to the practice squad, which is where he began the season.

Why is Jamon Brown still here?

Good question. As awful as he was against the Ravens, he is an insurance policy if the Eagles need a guard. Which wouldn’t surprise anybody. The issue is that with the COVID rules in effect, it can take a full week to get a newly signed player into your building by the time you agree to contract terms and get him started on testing protocol. If the Eagles get another guard hurt, Brown would be available immediately since he’s already in the building. There might be better options out there, but the Eagles wouldn’t be able to get them on the field.

 

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