As if the Eagles didn’t have enough problems with injuries, a reasonably healthy offensive line sprung a leak in Atlanta on Sunday night.
Yet, despite Isaac Seumalo’s disappointing performance against the Falcons — disastrous, by some measures — Eagles players and coaches expressed confidence in the starting left guard.
“I have the utmost trust in him,” Doug Pederson said. “He'll make the corrections from the other night and he'll move on.
“He's a pro about it. He's a professional at practice and he'll correct it. I have no issues with him.”
Pederson seldom acknowledges an individual player’s struggles directly, but there was no dancing around this. According to Pro Football Focus, Seumalo was responsible for eight total pressures in pass protection — six hurries and two sacks — and of the 191 offensive lineman who appeared in an NFL game in Week 2, none graded out worse.
In particular, Seumalo had issues dealing with Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, one of the more disruptive interior pass rushers in the league.
“Sometimes a player will get the better of you,” Lane Johnson said. “They get paid too.
“Jarrett is a good player. In the past, whenever I’ve gone against great players and I’ve made mistakes in a game, you just try to learn from them as much as you can. That’s what good players do, that’s what Isaac is and I have all the confidence in him in the world.”
Except, in the past, Seumalo hasn’t always been granted that opportunity. In 2017, he was benched for Stefen Wisniewski after a brutal Week 2 in Kansas City and didn’t reclaim the left guard job until Week 5 of last season, over a year later.
Will the Eagles show more patience with Seumalo this time around?
Halapoulivaati Vaitai is waiting in the wings after spending the offseason working at guard. Then again, the club did sign Seumalo to a three-year contract extension in March — hardly a deal so large it would cement his position, though certainly a vote of confidence for the 25-year-old.
“Isaac has played well here in the past and we expect that he'll continue to do that,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “He probably didn't play his best game on Sunday night and I think he'd probably say the same.”
It’s easy to forget Seumalo is still relatively inexperienced. While this is the former third-round draft pick’s fourth season, he’s started just 19 games as a pro including playoffs.
Naturally, he’s going to take some lumps. It’s part of the process.
“As an offensive lineman, you’re going to have your ups and downs,” Brandon Brooks said. “The biggest thing that I’ve always been most proud of Isaac about is no matter what happens, he comes the next day with a hard hat and ready to work.
“You either have good games or learning experiences. It was a learning experience for him. He’ll bounce back.”
Playing alongside four Pro Bowlers with 15 trips between them, Seumalo was already viewed as the unit’s weak link by default. Perhaps that statement in itself serves as a form of commentary about the expectations he faces with the Eagles.
Seumalo did not excel in Atlanta, and nobody inside the building or out is trying to claim otherwise. He also seemed to be on an upward trajectory until that point, with a string of solid outings dating back to last season.
To listen to the Eagles, the latter is the real Seumalo. The question is how long will the leash be this time around if his issues continue?
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