Less than two weeks before Election Day, Eagles left guard Nate Herbig on Tuesday had an interesting suggestion.
“Jason Kelce for president,” Herbig said.
If the Eagles were able to get his name on the ballot in time, Kelce would certainly pile up a lot of votes in the Delaware Valley.
Because in a season where the Eagles have suffered an unimaginable amount of injuries on their offensive line, Kelce has been an absolute rock. The 10-year pro has been the glue holding together the entire offense.
While every other spot along the offensive line has changed, Kelce hasn’t missed a snap in 2020. If nothing else, the Eagles have been able to rely on their 32-year-old center, who continues to play at a high level.
“He keeps us all together and makes sure we’re on the same page,” Herbig said. “He is who he is. He’s the man.”
Kelce this season has played all 423 offensive snaps after playing every snap last season. And the center position is the only position on the offensive line that hasn’t changed once:
LT: Andre Dillard, Matt Pryor, Jason Peters, Jordan Mailata
LG: Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Brandon Brooks, Matt Pryor, Jason Peters, Nate Herbig, Matt Pryor, Jamon Brown
RT: Jack Driscoll, Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Brett Toth
Kelce on Sunday was the last member of the expected starting offensive line left standing and one of just two players on the expected starting offense — along with Carson Wentz — left. And Kelce has been playing through a hip injury for weeks too.
Instead of playing with experienced players like Johnson, Peters, Brooks and Seumalo this season, Kelce has been playing with a former rugby player, a second year UDFA, a former sixth-round pick, a veteran journeyman, a fourth-round rookie and a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
“Obviously, more is on my shoulders,” Kelce said on Sunday night. “I am trying to be a better leader and trying to make sure we are overstating communication and the guys understand everything that is going on.”
And then in typical Kelce fashion, he began to praise those younger players.
“I have been honestly quite happy with a number of the guys who have come in and played,” he continued. “Some of these young guys have gone in and battled and have done a great job. Nate Herbig has really done well. Mailata, obviously everyone wants to talk about him. The big rugby player has gone out there and done a great job. Jack Driscoll is a rookie who has played phenomenal. We have gotten some guys who have answered the bell.”
On Tuesday, Kelce’s longtime teammate Vinny Curry said Kelce has always been a leader. But even Kelce admitted he has needed to take his leadership to the next level this season.
While offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has done a great job getting the offensive line to play relatively well despite all the injuries, having Kelce out there to hold everything together has certainly helped.
And there’s no question that Kelce is revered by the same teammates who rely on him.
“It’s kind of weird being out there with him ... because my whole life -- I’m 22 years old -- when I was younger I always looked up to him and thought he was a heck of a player,” Herbig said. “The fact that I get the chance to play next to him I think that’s a story in itself. He’s Jason Kelce. He’s one of the best. I was kind of starstruck, maybe, when I met him the first time. And then when they moved me to center and just watching him do things, I’m like, ‘If I got to be like him it’s going to be tough.’ I really don’t have a bunch of stories, but he’s just the man.”
Kelce has certainly been the man this year. It’s hard to envision where the Eagles would be without him.