For the fifth time in six weeks, the Eagles will have a new offensive line Sunday.
Matt Pryor is out at right guard and veteran Jamon Brown is in.
Pryor practiced Wednesday but has been out with an undisclosed illness since, and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday morning the Eagles have already ruled Pryor out for their game against the Ravens and their top-ranked defense at the Linc Sunday.
The outlook is not very good either for right tackle Lane Johnson, who has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury all year.
Pederson wouldn’t comment specifically on Pryor but said players that exhibit any symptoms that could be related to COVID or come into contract with someone who has symptoms — even if both test negative — are not allowed to participate in any team activities or even in the complex, according to the NFL’s COVID protocols.
“In the case of Matt Pryor, just like some of our players here recently, has fallen into a little bit of the illness issue, illness protocol with him, so we’re taking all the precautions and making sure he’s safe and healthy so he’s going to miss this game and Jamon Brown is going to start there at right guard,” Pederson said.
Brown will become the ninth offensive lineman to start a game for the Eagles this year.
According to the Pro Football Reference database, that matches the most they’ve used in any season in 71 years. They used 10 in 1949, when they won the NFL Championship. They also used nine in 1955, 1956, 1973, 1986, 1993 and 2014.
And that doesn’t even include projected opening-day starters Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard, who got hurt before the season began.
So that's 11 different o-line starters, and it's Week 6.
The Eagles have gone from Brooks to Jason Peters to Nate Herbig to Pryor to Brown at right guard.
They’ve used two right tackles, two left guards and three left tackles.
The Eagles signed Brown from the Bears’ practice squad on Sept. 15. He hasn’t played yet, although he did dress for the last two games.
“He’s played and started in this league,” Pederson said. “You go back and watch his tape and he’s done some things well. He’s been with us now for a couple of weeks. As you guys know whenever we get a new player it’s about catching them up to speed on our playbook and he’s done a really nice job. He’s a smart guy, he’s aggressive coming off the ball, he fits in really well.”
Brown, originally the Rams’ 3rd-round pick in 2015, has made 47 career starts for the Rams, Giants and Falcons.
As for Johnson, he hasn’t practiced all week and it sounds like rookie Jack Driscoll will make his second start Sunday. Driscoll started the opener when Johnson was inactive and has replaced Johnson in each of the last two games, playing 54 snaps.
“Lane is working through his injury this week, he hasn’t practiced at all, so we have Jack ready to go if that’s the case,” Pederson said. “Jack has done a nice job. He’s played all the way back to Week 1, so he’s got a lot of time on task. This guy, he’s all about business and that’s what you like about Jack Driscoll as a young player. Another opportunity for him to get better this week.”
Sunday’s game will be Herbig’s fifth career start, Mailata’s third career start and Driscoll’s second career start.