Eagles' offensive line falling well short of expectations so far

Eagles' offensive line falling well short of expectations so far

The Eagles’ offensive line was a big reason the team had a big parade down Broad Street in February. 

Through four games this year, they haven’t played anywhere near that standard. 

“There’s been times where we’ve been called the best line in the league,” right tackle Lane Johnson said, “and now we’re looking like we’re not the best line in the league.”

Johnson said he didn’t know if the Eagles’ were the best OL in the NFL. At the quarter pole of the season, they certainly don’t look like it … and for a few reasons. 

Jason Peters’ quad is still bothering him. Jason Kelce is clearly hobbled by something, even though the team won’t admit it. Brandon Brooks has been solid, but his communication with Johnson hasn’t been completely smooth. And Johnson set the bar so high for himself last season, he hasn’t been able to match it. The weak spot of the OL so far is left guard Stefen Wisniewski, who played well last season but is likely on a much shorter leash than most people realize. 

Coming into 2018, Eagles fans and folks around the league had high expectations for the Eagles’ offensive line. 

“The reality is, we have high expectations because we performed well here in the past,” Kelce said. “We had a great season last year. In order to do that, we know the attention to detail has to be on point. We know we have to be on the same page, the communication has to be there, the technique has to be there. 

“And it’s really not far off. If you watch the game, it’s not like there’s one guy getting beat over and over and over again. This is missed assignment here, bad point there. But it culminates to a very sloppy performance by the offensive line and by the offense.”

Howie Roseman strategically built this team with a focus on both lines. He clearly identified that was the way to build a successful football team and went all in on the defensive line and offensive line. Both were strengths in last year’s Super Bowl run. 

And it’s no secret that when the Eagles’ offensive line plays well, the offense hums. That’s why it’s no surprise that as the offensive line has sputtered, the entire offense has sputtered with it. 

Even Johnson admitted he isn’t playing to his normal standard. Although he pointed out that aside from the sack he gave up against the Titans, he played pretty well. But he knows that’s reality for an offensive lineman. 

Kelce said it’s all about consistency. And right now, they’re not being consistent. 

The Eagles haven’t gotten the most out of their run game and, more importantly, the line has failed to protect Carson Wentz. All the blame in blitz pickup doesn’t fall on the OL, but it certainly starts with them. And so far, they just simply haven’t lived up to expectations. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all human,” Johnson said. “There are no robots, there are no Greek gods, except Jason Peters in a couple years when he gets his gold jacket. At the end of the day, all we can do is the best that we can. I think when we look at expectations or try to live up to that or who you’re meant to be, it doesn’t allow you to play your best. I think moving forward, we just need to be the Eagles’ offensive line.”

As a team, the Eagles desperately need that too. 

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Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

In our latest installment of Ever Wonder, we’re taking a look at one of the most puzzling questions for all Eagles fans: 

Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green? 

It’s not for lack of effort. While the Eagles haven’t worn kelly green as their primary uniform since they switched to midnight green in the mid-90s, owner Jeff Lurie has been on a mission to bring back kelly green jerseys as an alternate. It’s a mission many Eagles fans and even players support. 

So far, no luck. 

The basic reason is an NFL rule that allows just one helmet per player for safety and quality control reasons. It’s an antiquated rule but it’s the main holdup for the Eagles. 

The Eagles’ helmets are midnight green and Lurie doesn’t want midnight green helmets and kelly green jerseys. 

“To make it look really right, you should have matching helmets,” Lurie said once said. 

The Eagles even went as far as to propose a rule change during the 2017 offseason. But they withdrew the proposal before owners could vote on it because of advice from the NFL’s competition committee. It wasn’t going to pass. 

During those owners meetings, competition committee chairman Rich McKay told me he was hopeful that the rule would eventually get changed. 

A possible workaround would be for the Eagles to use decals on their existing helmets like some other teams, but Lurie doesn’t like that idea. For him, it’s kelly green helmet or bust. 

“We want a kelly green helmet to go with the kelly green jerseys,” he said. 

So, for now, the Eagles wait. 

And they’ll have to wait at least one more year. But there’s some hope for the 2021 season. 

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Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

The folks over at ProFootballFocus recently put together a list of the most underrated player on each of the 32 NFL rosters and the choice for the Eagles wasn’t a very surprising one. 

For the Eagles, they listed tight end Dallas Goedert, the former second-round pick who will enter Year 3 of his career in 2020. 

Here’s what PFF said about Goedert: 

When you enter the NFL in the shadow of one of the league’s best tight ends, it’s easy to be somewhat overlooked. That is the case with Goedert, who was immediately thrust into a role as TE2 despite being taken in the second round out of South Dakota State. The Eagles have run a heavy dose of two tight end sets to get both him and Zach Ertz on the field, and it’s pretty clear from those snaps that Goedert is a top-end TE in the NFL.

“Since 2018, Goedert actually ranks fifth among qualifying tight ends in overall grade, ahead of Ertz. A big reason — outside of the obvious mismatch threats he poses as a receiver — is his elite play as a blocker for the position. Goedert’s 81.4 run-blocking grade sits sandwiched between Maxx Williams and George Kittle for second at the position over that same span. He is a complete tight end who would be a high-level primary option on most rosters in the NFL.

All of that is fair. And from a national perspective, I’m sure Goedert is very underrated. I don’t think he’s as underrated in Philadelphia, where Eagles fans get to watch him every weekend. 

In his first two seasons, Goedert has 91 catches for 941 yards and nine touchdowns. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. So he’s a really well-rounded tight end. 

And his numbers aren’t that far off from what Zach Ertz did in his first two NFL seasons: 

Ertz: 94 catches, 1,171 yards, 7 touchdowns

Goedert: 91 catches, 941 yards, 9 touchdowns 

Heck, Goedert has been so good that he has some fans wondering if the Eagles should move on from Ertz at some point. 

So maybe from a national perspective, Goedert is underrated. But here in Philly, I don’t think he is. 

The two players I think are underrated locally are Isaac Seumalo and Derek Barnett. Neither guy is a star but both are better players than they get for. 

Seumalo has had two horrendous games in his career and it has really tainted the perception of his play. But aside from those games, he’s been a solid player. He’s still  just 26 and has become a pretty good starting left guard. 

And Barnett hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the 14th pick but he’s been better than you think when he’s on the field. The injuries are a concern, but since Barnett was drafted in 2017 he’s third on the team in sacks (14) behind Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and second in QB hits (49) behind just Cox. And he is still just 23!

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