Eagles O-Line Notes: Week 1
Sunday’s loss against Washington was not expected for the Philadelphia Eagles. While there were many glaring issues, the brunt of them came from the Eagles’ offensive line. There’s a lot to dissect. The main culprit was an overall lack of experience and preparation.
When a game first starts, it’s like the early rounds of a boxing match. You are trying out your different tools and tricks while gauging your opponent before you fully strike. Washington was able to identify issues along the offensive line that the Eagles were simply not equipped to deal with at all. They began throwing different defensive line stunts and delayed blitzes that threw this very young unit in for a loop.
Physically, the initial group they had out there was very well handled. When Washington started throwing stunts at the Eagles’ offensive line, the birds struggled immensely.
Looking at the right side of the offensive line, you can understand why that was a problem. Going into the 2020 season, the Eagles were loaded upfront. Then we lost Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard. From there, we lost Lane Johnson the first week too. We knew that the Eagles would struggle to protect Wentz outside Jason Kelce. However not all of the new lineman played bad. Jack Driscoll played impressively well.
Driscoll was a name not often considered for a starting or key tackle spot, but with injuries and the huge downfall of Matt Pryor, he skyrocketed up the depth chart. He impressed in week one. Obviously there were many technical issues with Herbig and Driscoll, but for 2 guys making their first NFL start unexpectedly we need to give them some credit. There isn’t much you can expect when you are paired against a top 5 defensive line in football.
The scariest of all of Washington’s options was #2 pick, Chase Young. I have no doubt in my mind this kid is going to be the best pass rusher in the league by 2023 and he showed why very early on.
Looking at the film, you’ll see some jaw-dropping footage, 4th round rookie Jack Driscoll was stonewalling Chase Young off the edge. This wasn’t a one and done performance either. When it was a straight attack, Driscoll held his ground very often against the OSU product.
Driscoll has all of the physical traits to succeed. At 6’5, 306lbs, he has a very large stature. That isn’t it though, his feet are incredible. Driscoll had the ability to quick slide and stay in front of his man. The best part is Young tries to step back inside but Driscoll is able to power step back in and quickly work his hands, stay in front of Young and not allow any avenues to get inside. You can see the physical and mental intangibles are there for Driscoll but the playbook woes come with inexperience, Herbig as well.
Unlike some positions, you practically have to learn a new playbook every week on the offensive line. You have to study formations and keys for stunts, and if they do occur, what your next move will be. Obviously these 2 were only in the early stages and with a new coaching staff and group, it is quite difficult to predict the stunts you will expect.
The upside of this is though, you have gone into war blind against a good group and you now have film and more time to prep against your future opponents. I expect Driscoll to move inside to Right Guard for Lane or even possibly swap Right Guard for Left Tackle with Jason Peters.
Credit to the Eagles, who got an absolute gem in Driscoll during the draft.
Going into this week against the LA Rams, my main concern is the interior protection against Aaron Donald. There’s not a player in football that can block Aaron Donald on his own. You need an excellent double team to contain him. This will be a test for Philadelphia.
The Eagles should consider sliding Jason Peters inside for experience to pair with Kelce and Johnson on the right side. Issac Seumalo did not impress week 1 and had some lazy blocks, which is concerning for the Eagles who desperately need some guys to step up. Usually, these issues were hidden behind a top 3 O-Line but with injuries, it becomes quite glaring.
We’re only through one week. It will be a long season. I’ll be keeping an eye on the offensive line week by week.
Fly Eagles Fly.
Mandatory Credit: The Athletic