Eagles O-Line Notes: Week 7
Last Sunday was not a bright spot for the Eagles upfront. All across the board, there were missteps for every offensive lineman. It wasn’t the ideal situation due to injuries but things will need to be fixed before Dallas this week. There never seems to be a consistent group up front and with Lane Johnson possibly out once again this week, Jason Peters could return after lifted from IR.
Lane was in and out of the game before exiting for good with an MCL sprain. It is currently unknown if he is playing or not on Sunday but it is ultimately considered a 1-2 week injury. Johnson has constantly been dealing with ankle problems as well. When he exited, Matt Pryor moved outside to tackle and Sua Opeta replaced him at guard. Jamon Brown was cut after his horrible showing the week before but was brought back on the practice squad.
Opeta definitely has the talent but he isn’t starter quality yet. Sua showed his ability by having some fantastic second-level blocks and great strength but he still has a lot of work to do to before you can count on him as a weekly starter. Opetas’ pass blocking was hit or miss and he isn’t good at making quick adjustments at the line just yet. The ability is absolutely there but he shouldn’t be playing just yet.
Jordan Mailata to date has been solid and has shown improvement week to week but Thursday, he regressed to what he looked like against San Francisco. Mailata was constantly wheeling backward instead of holding his ground and giving Wentz more room to work with. He wasn’t horrible by any means but with the talent level of this line and his upward trajectory, it was a bit concerning. Hopefully, it can be chalked up to a short week and a off game. We’ll need him to bounce back and continue to prove he can be an anchor to the o-line.
Jason Kelce had one of the biggest blunders of the game but luck was on his side. With Philly about to score on the 3, Kelce got called for a facemask during his rush block to push the Eagles 15 yards back. These types of calls are inexcusable and cannot be tolerated especially for someone of Kelce’s caliber. Luckily Wentz found Boston Scott the next play for the winning TD but Kelce needs to be more attentive.
Matt Pryor wasn’t horrible at tackle but he wasn’t great either. Jack Driscoll performed better outside but with his injury, he wasn’t available. For being a stop-gap RT and the 3rd string it was an acceptable performance but they need to shape up outside before Dallas.
It is unclear where Peters is playing or if he is active, but at this point, I might stick with Pryor. Although the talent might not be there, he is absolutely hustling every play while you see the laziness from Peters when he was at left tackle.
Upfront for the Cowboys, Demarcus Lawrence will lead the charge. Everson Griffen was just traded to the Lions for a late draft pick in a confusing trade leaving a pretty weak group left outside of Lawrence. If the same group for the Eagles is out there that ended the game Thursday expect Lawrence to match up on Pryor. If Lane is playing he will likely target Mailata. If Jordan returns to his previous form it shouldn’t be much of a worry but there could be a little trouble if he is still in a slump.
Outside of Lawrence, the Eagles should be able to handle the rush depending on how Aldon Smith does. Smith had a fantastic first few games, including 3 sacks against Seattle in week 3. Since he hasn’t had a single sack and has been pretty quiet. With the loss of Griffen, you could see Smith getting some more reps. Either way, this shouldn’t be an issue for the birds in the trenches.
Mandatory Credit: Yong Kim Philadelphia Inquirer