Eagles Insider

Why Eagles' O-line injuries have reached a crisis point

Eagles Insider

Only a few weeks ago, Jordan Mailata, Nate Herbig and Brett Toth had never played an NFL snap level and Jamon Brown was unemployed.

By the end of the Eagles-Ravens game, that was 80 percent of the Eagles’ offensive line.

Injuries have decimated the Eagles for a few years now, but what we’re seeing now with the offensive line is next-level stuff.

Since the season began, the Eagles have used three right tackles, five right guards, two left guards and three left tackles.

They finished the game Sunday with two available backups — Sua Opeta, who had played one career snap coming into Sunday, and Luke Juriga, who hasn’t played any. Both are interior linemen. If a tackle got hurt? There was nobody left.

“We have had some injuries here before,” said center Jason Kelce, who hasn't missed a game since 2014. “But obviously this is on another level. I haven’t really been a part of something this drastic like this in my career.”

Andre Dillard is out for the year. Brandon Brooks is on long-term PUP. Jason Peters and Isaac Seumalo are on IR. Lane Johnson has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since August and didn’t play Sunday. Jack Driscoll left the Ravens game in the fourth quarter. Matt Pryor missed the game while on the NFL’s COVID list.

So by the end of the game, the Eagles were down seven of their top eight offensive linemen.

And they still scored 22 points in the fourth quarter before losing 30-28 to one of the NFL’s best teams.

 

Which speaks volumes about Jeff Stoutland’s ability to get these young guys ready and, yes, Howie Roseman’s ability to find capable depth along the offensive line.

“You can’t make excuses,” Kelce said. “You can’t say, ‘We have this, this, and this.’ At the end of the day, do you win the game or do you lose the game? Is the guy that is in there getting the job done? Are we getting the job done as a unit? It could have been better today for sure. Really good defense. It’s just part of the way this game is going and the way this season is going. You roll with the circumstances and try and do the best you can and find a way to get it done.”

Seumalo, who suffered a knee injury Week 2 against the Rams, and Peters, who’s been out since the Bengals game, are both eligible to come off IR but the Eagles haven’t even opened the practice window for either one yet, so it's hard to imagine them being ready on a short week. We don't even know if they're getting close.

Johnson’s status is up in the air — he didn’t practice at all last week — and there’s no word yet on Driscoll.

Even if the Eagles were able to sign a free agent today, that player wouldn’t even be allowed to join the team until next week, according to the league’s COVID rules. Street free agents must test negative for six straight days and can join the team on the sixth day.

The Eagles play in three days.

So the only options are players already in the building.

The only offensive lineman currently on the practice squad is rookie 6th-round pick Prince Tega Wanogho, Driscoll’s teammate at Auburn.

So the only healthy offensive linemen on the roster are Mailata, Herbig, Kelce, Brown, Toth, Opeta, Juriga and Wanogho.

Of that group, only Kelce and Brown had played offensive line in the NFL before Sept. 13.

Johnson will certainly try to play if his ankle allows it, but that’s a big if right now. He hasn’t finished a game since Week 3. And if Pryor is cleared, as inconsistent as he’s been, he’d be an upgrade over Brown.

Best-case scenario is Mailata, Herbig, Kelce, Pryor and Johnson. But it’s a short week and it’s tough for even the healthiest players to play twice in five days.

“We have to evaluate quickly, obviously, (with) the injury situation and see where we're at this week on a short week,” Pederson said. “It's just something that again, we are getting kind of thin at the position, and I'm hopeful that a couple of these offensive line guys that have been hurt, that we can maybe get them back this week. But we've got to wait and see (Monday) and Tuesday and put the pieces together.”

 

It's not ideal. But around here lately, trying to cobble an offensive line out of free agents, walk-ons, late-round picks, practice squad alumni and rugby players seems pretty normal.