Eagles O-Line Notes: Week 4
Facing heavy adversity entering Week 4, the Eagles offensive line had an impressive showing during their 25-20 win over the 49ers last Sunday. Much like the Eagles O-Line, the 49ers defensive line was riddled by injuries to Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Dee Ford. Regardless, they were able to hold the 49ers defense to one sack on Carson Wentz.
Jordan Mailata Impresses:
Jordan Mailata definitely impressed me this week. Of course, there is plenty of room for improvement but given the fact that it was his 1st start, he held his own when his name was called upon. It was far more promising than it was in previous weeks and seasons. Mailata still needs to play more physical up front in pass protection. While he bought Wentz enough time, it didn’t seem like he could hold his guy for longer than 6 seconds most plays.
For someone who didn’t play any football 3 years ago, Mailata’s ceiling is very high. He never really has shown this type of consistency in previous weeks to stay in front of his man multiple possessions in a row.
I would like to see him stonewall rushers at the line of scrimmage during the pass instead of giving up so much ground. Also, he needs to finish his blocks. On some plays, Jordan gave up towards the end and could have given up a sack if the 49ers defense read the scheme correctly. He needs to stay in front until the ball is thrown and not stand and watch. Also, the near biggest blunder of this game was an offsides due to jumping on a hard count. I won’t throw that on him as a major lack of talent as even the best struggle with cadences at points, but you don’t want Peters 2.0 with these miscues.
Mailata will have a gigantic test next week against Pittsburgh, if he holds his own against TJ Watt and Bud Dupree. I would expect Watt to target Mailata heavily as one of the NFL’s best edge rushers. TJ should give him some major trouble on the outside as any young tackle would get.
Driscoll and Herbig disappoint:
Looking at the rest of the group there was definitely room for improvement for the other young linemen. Driscoll while improving mentally from his appearance against Washington, took a step back physically. While not giving up a lot of hits, he was often hurried and wheeling back often. With his strength and the weak D-Line they have there he needs to strengthen his inside foot and hold some ground. Wentz had no issues getting the ball away but there was cause for near disaster.
Nate Herbig and Matt Pryor also had lesser performances as well. Herbig had some stunt miscues and missed some blocks but was overall not bad, but nowhere near his best performance. Pryor was not quick enough on his pull blocks and led to some blown up plays that could have been avoided. Guards have no room for error on those pull blocks as they are the most important part to that play. Pryor needs to adjust his splits to be closer the Center if he needs to shorten the gap on his pull.
Injuries continue to stack up:
Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce continue to have injury issues. Johnson has had ankle troubles all season was in and out of the game often, being replaced by Driscoll at those times. When he played he was fantastic, but you obviously want him at full health. Jason Kelce also had some hip issues limiting him in practice and having him on the trainers table during breaks. Kelce is the best Center in football and the rock holding this O-Line together and you don’t want to lose him.
Looking ahead at Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh will be a big test for the Eagles offensive line. They have 15 sacks in just 3 games played this season. I have confidence for most of the group outside Mailata. And again, that isn’t a knock on him as much as it is that Watt is a fantastic player. If Mailata is able to shut him down I think you look to move him to start over Peters when he returns from IR.
Mandatory Credit: Tim Tai Philadelphia Inquirer