Eagles O-Line notes: Week 2
The Philadelphia Eagles are not off to a great start at all. With a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams 37-19, they are in a tough spot. One of the few bright spots this week was oddly enough the O-Line. After a disastrous performance Week 1 against Washington, the group bounced back against Aaron Donald holding the Rams to 0 sacks. Most of the group remained the same going into week 2 except Lane Johnson returned to help the group replacing standout rookie, Jack Driscoll.
Nate Herbig got the nod for the Eagles at the Right Guard after a solid performance last Sunday. Herbig doesn’t stand out too much for me, and I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bad thing. Linemen in general aren’t flashy players, but of any of the O-Line positions, Guards are the most mechanical. You don’t often see anything stand out from the position unless you’re a Quenton Nelson type of player. Besides that, Herbig does what you need from your Guard and does it at a productive rate.
Herbig was able to stay in front of his man and one of the most important things for a Guard is to work off of blocks. Often you will see them in combination blocking schemes where they will pass off the D-linemen shaded on them and move towards the second level of the defense. Nate showed that pretty well week 2 in a few situations. If a Guard is unable to perform these pass-offs or blocking a LB it can end pretty badly. A Defensive Tackle would end up getting past the Center or Guard easily because they have no help on their reach block. Also, it would allow the linebacker to get to the running back without any interruption.
Herbig being able to possess these qualities isn’t an amazing trait, it is almost a basic requirement to perform these actions. Almost like a receiver catching a ball, or a Running Back reading his holes correctly. For development sake, it is good to see Herbig possess these qualities because it means he can continue to improve as a player and he has the foundation to be an NFL Guard.
Other notable news is the loss of Isaac Seumalo. Seumalo was taken down from behind on a goal-line play and placed on IR with a “Knee Injury”. This means he will be out for the next 3 weeks at the least. Matt Pryor after being absent last week was brought in as the backup guard for Seumalo and did shockingly well. Many expected Pryor to be written off with his absence as a backup on the right side but I think this shows he’s the left side backup. You saw him at Left Tackle before Peters moved over and more often than not, it is easier to play on one side of the line as they have a more dominant leg or feel more comfortable there.
Pryor was a key piece in helping slow down Aaron Donald and you rely heavily on your Center/Guard combos to double or triple-team Donald and the star DT did not record a single sack on Sunday to much shock. This bodes well for Pryor and helps slow some of the noise that he was written off for the season and will have a chance to make a name for himself in the next few weeks.
The Eagles face Cincinnati this week who has a solid Defensive Line. They are well stacked on both sides with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins providing pressure from both the inside and outside. They also have youngster Sam Hubbard who seems to be on the cusp of progressing pretty well. This will be a more all-around test like Washington was but not on the same level. If Pryor can continue to play like he did against LA and the same with Herbig, this should be another solid outing for this group.
Mandatory Credit: Corey Perrine, Associated Press