• September 29, 2022

Has Eagles Offensive Line Improved From Last Year To This Year?

I remember former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson putting together an offensive line back in the 1980’s, which he thought had the best chance to block their NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles defensive front, which was led by Reggie White, Jerome Brown and Seth Joyner.

That defensive group which was known as the “Gang-Green Defense”, had sacked Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman during his rookie year 11 times in one game.¬† Johnson decided he had to get players who could block that group.

They drafted Eric Williams to block White and matched up Nate Newton and Marc Stepnoski against Brown.

In the process of putting together an offensive line to block them, Johnson put together a front line which helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman obviously don’t think that history is worth imitating.¬† They aren’t worrying about matching up with the Dallas defensive line.

The last time we saw the Eagles offensive line in action, the Cowboys front defensive seven which is led by DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratlifff were kicking their butts two weeks in a row as the Birds were swept out of the playoffs.

The Eagles drafted 13 players in the seven rounds of the draft this past weekend but not one of them was an offensive lineman.¬† It’s an unusual occurance with Reid at the helm.

“We just felt the quality we were looking for when the pick came up wasn’t there”, said Eagles president Joe Banner.¬† “We didn’t want to force the pick”.

My reaction to that is, why not trade for an upgrade at the center and/or guard position, rather than stay with the same guys who weren’t able to get the job done at the end of the season.

They’re committed to three of their offensive linemen, Jason Peters at left tackle, Todd Herremans at left guard and Winston Justice at right tackle.

They all need to play better when the see the Cowboys the next time.¬† I think they’re capable of doing the job.¬† Their center and right guard situations are different stories.

Should the Eagles front office feel confidence in the players they currently have playing center and right guard  to block Dallas Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff?

Are the center and right guard¬† going to be able to deal with Washington’s monster in the middle Albert Haynesworth?¬† Can they block the Giants defensive tackles in the running and passing game?

I think the answer to each of those questions is no.

Now, if they’re going to improve in that area when the season starts, it will be because their right guard Stacy Andrews is healthier; or current starting center Nick Cole has gotten better and is more comfortable at the position; or new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb is getting rid of the ball sooner than former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Andrews says he wasn’t healthy last year and that’s the reason he was consistently getting pushed back into McNabb’s face during passing plays.¬† He says that’s the reason he was getting no movement at the point of attack on running plays.

The answer is definitely not Max Jean-Gilles.  He played like a swinging door when the Birds played the Cowboys in those two games at the end of the season.

Cole was thrown into the starting center role when starter Jamaal Jackson went down in the Denver game last season.¬† He’ll likely be the starter again when the season begins because Jackson won’t be ready to play at that time.

He didn’t get the job done in those last two games against the Cowboys but I guess he’s going to get better during the offseason or the offensive line still has a problem.

There are some who think Kolb will get rid of the ball sooner than McNabb and that will solve any problems the Eagles have on the offensive line.

We’ll have to wait and see if there’s any truth to that, but I’m concerned about a young, inexperienced quarterback like Kolb throwing the ball early and getting his pocket picked.

Kolb biggest challenge will be staying away from interceptions.

With the draft now completed, I don’t think the Eagles offensive line has improved very much from last year to this year, therefore they still don’t matchup well against the Cowboys.

GCOBB

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birdpoop
birdpoop
April 26, 2010 6:27 am

It does not matter Gary ,the biggest probem is this team is undersized all across the board , what good is speed ,if you are laying on your butt all the time !! or you have a 195 lb. defensive guy trying to stop a 250 lb back bulldozing right at you , a 5’10” back trying to outjump or outmuscle a 6’3″ wideout ! ! Other teams are getting bigger and this team is getting smaller . So go figure , whom is the smarter , the Eagles or the other teams ?

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
April 26, 2010 7:05 am

Allan Faneca released by Jets and will probably hook up with Redskins who now will have a decent line for McNAbb to operate behind.. they signed A Hicks,C Rabach,W Montgomery, D Dockery and
Drafted OT T WIlliams. If they sign Faneca, The Eagles O/L becomes the weakest in the NFC..
Eagles are shaky up the middle with Jackson status a ??? at Center, Staecy Andrews has to have the
season of his career and start playing to the level that he’s compensated for.. if not, they are in trouble.
I do think Peters and Justice will only improve and T Herremans is solid and consistent.
Back-ups .. McGlynn,Reynolds,Shipley,Dunlap and Topou all have to make strides and at least 1 to 2 of these players need to have that great type of camp and preseason like Justice did last year to solidify this line. If not,and S Andrews plays inefffective and Jackson injury & history catches up with him.
then this Offense is in deep trouble.

Eaglez
Eaglez
April 26, 2010 7:35 am

I am not worried about the offensive line, because Andy Reid and co. have shown they know what they are doing in that area. Last year down the stretch injuries were the problem. Andrews and Cole will be better this go-around. The worry for me is depth behind the starters.

By far my biggest concern is the secondary. I still don’t understand trading Sheldon Brown and/or not drafting a high-end CB early in the draft.

I am still holding out hope we can land a starting CB from some other team for Vick (Bills??) once training camp starts. But, I guess that is just a dream…

navyeaglefan
navyeaglefan
April 26, 2010 7:35 am

birdpoop – what games did you watch last year – really – during the regular season the eagles held Dallas to 63 yards rushing int he first game, Barber had 91 in the second (When J Jackson got hurt and the O sucked!). They held the Redskins to under 70 yards rusing in both wins, and they held Jacobs to 60 and 86 in the two wins against the giants – during the regualr season only 1 back – Frank Gore gained over 100 yards (107) – now the playoffs – not doubt Dallas just killed us – can’t argue or debate that – but you don’t go haywire trying to readjust everything based on one game

so where does all this ‘undersized’ nonsense come from – again – where is the chart or the stat that shows we are ‘undersized’ across the board – other then generic statements –

As for whom is smarter – we went 11-5 and were in the playoffs – 12 teams make the playoffs – my book that makes us at least smarter then the 20 that didn’t get in – and if the QB is laying on his back with the ball in his hand the 6’3 rcvr can trot back to the huddle going – I could have outjumped him.

Now on the flip side – we scored 40 and 45 points against the giants in the two games against them, we scored 27 both games against the skins – 4 of the starting 5 O Lineman will be the same – assuming Jackson not back at start of season –

Our O sucked against Dallas – need to figure out why they were so horrid (I think cause jackson went out) , but in the first game they only scored 16 – Dallas got some ref’in help, but still – 16 – need to do better. –

nsidious
nsidious
April 26, 2010 7:58 am

G:

The Eagles must know something that we don’t, i.e. that Jamaal Jackson will be healthy enough to line up on opening day. I was surprised that they didn’t draft any O-Line. I know that Juan Castillo is the best in the business (my opinion,) but any free agent rookie they get won’t be ready to play right away, no matter how much Castillo coaches them up. They’ve gotten good service from signed rookie free agents in the past, but it takes a few years. That’s the only conclusion I can reach, because Cole, as good as he was at guard, could not handle the load at center against the Cowboys. He’s a good football player, so maybe he will get better, but I would’ve liked to have seen the Eagles draft a center. I know nothing of how McGlynn or Shipley can do. I’ll be at Lehigh with my sons to watch though. Looking forward to it already.

nsidious
nsidious
April 26, 2010 8:03 am

G:

And by the way, I thought that Max Jean-Gilles might have been a player. I think he played in a few games two seasons ago (2008) and did well. But last year he got beat much too often against the better teams. I have no confidence in him, frankly. I think he’ll get cut at some point, and that’s a shame considering how much time, effort and roster space they’ve devoted to the guy.

IanIJM
IanIJM
April 26, 2010 8:07 am

In all fairness, there were a TON of injuries on the o-line last season. Losing Jackson (I think) had a ripple afffect that really hurt us in those two Cowboys games. Getting back the injured players will help a lot.

I am, though, worried about depth behind the starters.

jphalines
jphalines
April 26, 2010 8:36 am

The center position really concerns me. I can’t judge how good the draft was, but not picking up a center with 13 picks was what caught me eye. I was hoping to pick Pouncey, so I am a little bias.

The third round DE may work out, but it looked like a guy that would be around in the fourth or fifth.

navyeaglefan
navyeaglefan
April 26, 2010 8:44 am

The center is a concern – but after thinking about it – if you give Cole the entire off-season – all the camps, pre season games etc. He will do fine. I am (or I have) convinced myself of that. So I guess the biggest concerns are depth, and Andrews.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
April 26, 2010 9:17 am

I think N Cole can play the Center postion well enough to get by for a year or so…
He’s just a little bottom heavy and a little slow of foot for the Center Position for todays speed game
of up the middle pass rushing schemes and blitzes.. (just watch the Cowboys and Giants send the kitchen sink right up the middle between the guards when they play the Eagles without J Jackson)
The downside is if Cole is playing Ceter while J Jackson re-habs and hopefully returns by early season , but if J Jackson is slowed in his rehab,then who backs-up the other Guard positions if S Andrews/T Herremans go down or if Herremans has to slide out to OT in case Peters/Justice get knicked up or hurt.. Big off-season for M McGlynn,D Reynolds,K Dunlap & F Toupou all to step up
and compete for playing time and be that quality depth in case someone gets injured…

edogma
edogma
April 26, 2010 9:23 am

Andy Reid said addressed the lack of o-line picks in more detail in one of his talks, maybe with Dave Spadaro on the main website. Basically, he said they had invested picks in the o-line in the past and that they had players there that would step up. So either Cole or McGlynn will win the starting center spot until Jackson can return. People can complain about the o-line picks, but what impact players could they have gotten without giving up important defensive picks? The same people complaining about that would have been complaining if DE or FS wasn’t addressed effectively. Instead of matching the Eagles o-line to the Cowboys defense, it was just as important to get the defense right so they can match up with the Cowboys offense – mainly making sure out d-line can get to the QB without blitzing. I agree that it seems like CB wasn’t addressed effectively, but let’s wait and see how that position shakes out during training camp. It could be a different picture than it is right now. I’m much more comfortable with the secondary in general now that we have Allen at safety. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people.

IanIJM
IanIJM
April 26, 2010 9:39 am

This just goes to show that some people will complain no matter what the Eagles do. For YEARS people whined that the Eagles drafted too many offensive lineman and they needed to draft “position X” (fill in specific role based on what year it was).

Then when the Eagles FINALLY decide to address the other positions, people go, “How could they not draft any offensive lineman????”

Our defense was what lost us games last year. It HAD to be addressed, no matter what. You can win with a great defense and an average offensive line. You CAN’T win with a terrible defense and a good o-line.

greenfan
greenfan
April 26, 2010 9:51 am

One thought on the play of the O-line that I herad this weekend was that with Kolb at QB it would be better because Kold has a quicker release than McNabb which would mean that the line will not have to hold their blocks as long. I haven’t held a stop-watch to it, so I have no idea, but if it is true that could be a factor that would lead to better O-line play. Just a thought.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
April 26, 2010 9:55 am

Ian,
When have you ever heard me complain or whine ..ha ha
It think going in with like 10-11 Draft choices, it’s very reasonable to exect help in areas of need
like DE,S,CB,OL,LB and Back-up QB..
The interior part of the O/Line was a weakness in the final few games once Center J Jackson went down with a torn ACL late in the year that may take him to October to 100 % regain his strength and mobility so they will most likley have to use Cole to play Center which in turns lessens the depth everywhere else.. I also think only drafting 1 CB was a mistake (and the 1 they did choose, I am not
real sure he is going to make it..)

greenfan
greenfan
April 26, 2010 10:16 am

The injury to Jackson is very troublesome in light of the performance of both of our free-agent pick-ups from last year. We knew that both Peters and Andrews had injuries when we signed them, but we expected them to recover and play at their previous level. Both had issues with the injuries the entire season, and played relatively poorly or not at all for much of the season (OK, Peters did make the Pro-bowl but that was less a function of his play and more an indictment of a small list of quality players not injured at that position). I believe that even when Andrews was listed as healthy enough to play that he was a healthy scratch. So people that are counting on Jackson being ready to start the season had better look at some recent history close to home to see that it is not a realistic projection. We need to plan like he will not be available and be pleasently suprised if he were able to heal quicker.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
April 26, 2010 11:10 am

To Greenfan,
Can you play Center… I am pulling for you but you are 100% correct.. wheres the plan in the event that
J Jacksons recovery gets behind schedule sas they usually do… Also J JAckson is going on 30 and has played in a lot of games so his eventutal replacement needs to be groomed this year anyways..

Act The Fool
Act The Fool
April 26, 2010 11:24 am

I don’t think we’ll be able to land Allan Faneca, but I think we should pick up C Kevin Mawae. He’s 39, but he’d only be starting at center until Week 6 at least. I think that’s the best stop-gap solution. I thought the Eagles should have drafted JD Walton, but the Broncos got him. This move would also allow Nick Cole to focus on backup or compete with Stacey Andrews for starting right guard.

greenfan
greenfan
April 26, 2010 11:47 am

paulman…we have our “on site” center in navyfan….my playing days are long gone

True_Eagles_Fan
True_Eagles_Fan
April 26, 2010 12:08 pm

Why not go after Faneca????? Release Andrews and pay Faneca. He is an elite guy why wouldnt the Eagle go after him they dont have to give up anything. I guess it would make to much sense to sign a guy that good…HUH I mean for real its not like they dont have the money to sign him. Get it done.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
April 26, 2010 12:52 pm

One last random though about the O/line,
Maybe AR wants to have a weak line so QB Kolb gets sacked so often that he loses his marbles and his will to continue playing plus incurs many injuries .. Meanwhile McNAbb becomes a free-agent after
the 2010 Season and the Eagles re-sign him back for a 2nd Tour of Duty…
This is my stroy and I am sticking to it … .

navyeaglefan
navyeaglefan
April 26, 2010 2:11 pm

I can long snap for EP and FG – I can for punts, just don’t ask me to run down the field in coverage!

jimmy mac
jimmy mac
April 26, 2010 3:38 pm

Ya know, ya cant get every player you need in one draft. Over and over I keep hearing, “Oh they didnt do this” or ” How could they not do that”. They went after a pass rush. Pain and simple. Then their secondary. But it was all about pass rush this year and Im fine with that.

jimmy mac
jimmy mac
April 26, 2010 3:42 pm

I dont give a rats ass about Center, about Punter’s or Kicker’s or about O linemen bought in here to compete to be a back-up.. I want the opposing QB on his ass..repeatedly. Its been entirely too long since this defense was scary.

Butch007
Butch007
April 26, 2010 4:38 pm

Simply put…No the Eagles O-Line is not better than it was last year.

It Wouldn’t surprise me if Shawn Andrews shows back up playing for a league minimum type salary either. One could make the argument that Jamal Jackson will NOT be out at the end of the season again which would eliminate the “Musical Chairs” act from the O-line equation and that would be reasonable, but the Eagles couldn’t beat Dallas when the starting O-Line was healthy either.

Tra-Hill
Tra-Hill
April 26, 2010 10:44 pm

TEF,,,,,, You know the way the Eagles work, how old is Faneca, Mawae, etc. They are not going to bring a Vet in. After Jaqua Parker gets cut Akers and Racca will be the only guys on the roster born before 1980… Butch007, is Dallas the standard now, The last two games we did not have J Jackson and in the first game we held their offense to two TDs which 1 came late on a SHELDON BROWN given score to Miles Austin… With no Flozell they now have to worry about our Defense.. CMon do you think Andy will pass the ball as much with a New QB like Kolb. We have a better backfield now because M bell can give u more than B West did last year, McCoy will be better, Weaver will not have to carry a load as much.. Injured players will be back… Don’t sleep on Ellis Hobbs either…Compare his stats to Samuels minus INTs.. He started over 40 straight games for the PATS