• March 4, 2024

Tra Thomas: Eagles Are Better On Left Side Without Evan Mathis

JasonPeters&EvanMathis2 (1)Former Eagles Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Tra Thomas was on 97.5 The Fannatic yesterday talking about the departure of Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis and he has some very interesting things to say.  He doesn’t think the sky is falling when it comes to the departure of Mathis.  In fact, Thomas believes the Eagles are better without Mathis.

“I know Evan is a two-time Pro Bowler, but he and Jason Peters play a different style of game” Thomas said. “Evan Mathis is a guy who likes to jump set and likes to take everything at the line of scrimmage.  Jason Peters is a guy who likes to set back and let his guy come to him.  He came up in the same school of thought as Juan (Castillo).  He likes to count his steps and everything is timing and about punching the guy (rusher) to take him past the quarterback.”

Thomas says there have been fundamental problems on the left side of the Eagles offensive line because of the different ways the two Pro Bowlers chose to block the pass rushers.  Maybe this explains why Peters was supportive of Mathis when asked about his teammate.  In fact, Peters said he won’t miss him.

“Evan is taking his guy right on the line and Jason Peters is about three yards behind him.  He’s setting back and that puts them on two different levels which creates issues and problems when the rushers run games against them.  Lot of times if you saw the film, you saw issues.  They were on different levels.”

Thomas believes there will be noticeable improvement with the insertion of Barbre into the lineup.

“When you bring in Allen Barbre on that left side, Big Al and Jason.  They kind of move the same.  I think you will see a better rapport and better chemistry.  These two will play better together.  Just because Allen sets more at a 45 degree angle and he punches his guy.”

“When you go back and review the film and and look at how he has been playing I know he made the Pro Bowl, but when you look at his style of play. He doesn’t the play the way I would want my guards to play.  I know it’s going to fit somewhere.   But when you look at what was going on back out there on the field you could see Jason didn’t trust him.  He creates a problem when it comes to protection.  Evan Mathis likes to jump his guy on the line so if you have a guy that’s setting. It’s one thing if you have both the tackle and guard jumping at the line.  When you’re on different levels so it creates problems.”

“You know exactly what they’re going to get out of Allen Barbre.  They already know what they’re going to get out of Allen Barbre.  He’s exactly what you want out of a guard.  He’s got the right mentality for a guard.  You’re going to see.  The left side is going to be a little more firmer up especially when it comes to games.  He likes to set a 45 and it makes a true U form. — It makes switching off the game a lot easier.”

“I think Coach Kelly is going back and watching the film.  There were issues when it comes to protection.  Now, I think the left side is good.”

At the end of the conversation Thomas mentioned Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly.  He spoke highly of Tobin, which was music to my ears.

“I think the left side is good.  But I think you look at what’s going to be happen at right guard.  I like Matt Tobin and what he brings to the game.  Dennis Kelly is a little tall for the guard position.  Taller guards kind of struggle in the league.”

So that’s two former NFL offensive linemen, who have vouched for Tobin.   Brian Baldinger of NFL Network had good things to say about Tobin, who is probably going to be the starter at right guard for the regular season.



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June 13, 2015 8:36 am


June 13, 2015 8:51 am

Alot of articles coming out about how Mathis is not so great since they cut him. Makes you wonder why someone else was not playing in his spot then. They could have been “better off” sooner.

June 13, 2015 1:19 pm

You can put lipstick on a pig,doesn’t equivocate ,the end of the evening..time will tell..right now ,why wouldn’t you be vocal and toe the company line? Taking everything like caster oil ,I’m not sipping ,im fighting tight lipped,waiting for my eyes to behold ..It sounds ,like analysis ,went into the decision making ,and that’s qualitative upon itself.Now let’s see if talent trumps,or if the next man up ,is capable..Its a huge roll of the dice ,as protection ,is vital ..What I didsnt read ,was wether they fit as road graters …eyes never lie

June 13, 2015 1:52 pm

I was thinking ,this season ,has more intrigue ,and story lines ,than ,any in recent bird history..We usually witness a persona of a team ,early on ,and it seemingly builds as it grows into itself ..How will it react to adversity ? If you are going to be doing things in an unconventional manner ,than the eyeballs of the league are upon your every nuance.i truly believe ,this makes Chip ,so exciting ,we all love a good story line,before a season opens ..some questions are there to be summiteers as week one unfolds..In order of there intrigue ..1.Sam I Am ..or Ain’t,or even worse Can’t..2. How do all the new pieces integrate .and how long a process wil that be ? 3.is there a translation on the playing field ,from the alchemy of the new assembled locker room? 4. With this new assemblage of guys ,who fits like a glove ? Do all the pieces that were hand chosen fit ,oris something obviously a miscalculation..If it hums like a jaguar and soars like an eagle ..we are all beholden to the messiah.if it crashes and burns ..what’s plan B? I can’t wait to see it all unfold ..

June 13, 2015 2:00 pm
Reply to  deserteagle

It will be interesting and fun to watch, even the Preseason Games will be important for many Eagle Players as they incorporate some 9-10 New Starters
Out of 22 Positions… There is also Back up Battles across the OL, LB, WR & Secondary Positions
The 2015 Season is in essence, laying the core and foundation for 2016 & 2017 Seasons and I would not hold much against Kelly/Team for the first half of 2015 with this many new and moving parts & Secondary Coach for its all going to take a while as they likely take a step back in the 2015 standings.
If 2016 Season is a downer with no Post-Season Success, then the Chip Kelly experiment is on the way out of Philly.. .

June 13, 2015 2:12 pm
Reply to  paulman

In order of there importance. Chimp…who fits and who doesn’t ? Does someone who grows in there new team ,fit seamlessly ? Who is the MVP on special teams,offense ? Defense? Who still sticks out ? As needing an upgrade?

June 13, 2015 2:13 pm

Being you have them taking a huge step backwards ,unlike myself ,I’d be curious your response..

June 13, 2015 3:57 pm
Reply to  deserteagle

I don’t see a “huge step back” but probably about 8 Wins and around .500 Ball for the Season…
I see a weaker OL that still will have issues in short-yardage/red zone opportunities…J Peters is another year Older, Kelce’s Average and Lane Johnson keeps improving.. I think they will develop some UDFA OL into decent OL by the 2016 Season in Center/Guards Mike Coccia and Brett Boyko which won’t really help them for 2015…
The WR Corp is young and exciting to see develop.. I like UDFA WR John Harris of Texas and D Davis of UNLV and expect both to make the Roster or at least one make the 53 Man Roster and the other to make Practice squad
I like TE Eric Tomlinson to battle Trey Burton for the 3rd TE Position
QB of course is easy to figure out, if Bradford gets healthy and plays with Confidence then he has a great chance of revitalizing a disappointing Career so far, if he remains iffy and lacks the confidence & fire to succeed, then it’s Mark Sanchez who is a quality back up and good for a few games.. But if Sanchez is the Starter for 10-12 Games or more, then the Eagles chances are pretty minimal to make post-season in 2015…
I like how the Defense is shaking up.. Thurmond at Safety could work out, but I sense disappointments and busts with Wolff,Watkins,Reynolds all not making the Team or at least not contributing as many had hoped when they were Drafted.. MSII will have to prove that he belongs in the NFL and is he performs poorly or keeps having these minor injury issues, then Kelly will cut his ass..
DL looks Solid, need to see more out of the Back-Ups in T Hart, B Allen, Draft Pick and the others..
The Battle at ILB will be intense to see who gets the Starters spots..
I believe it will be Kiko & Kendrick’s on the Inside

June 13, 2015 4:08 pm

Special Teams…
It’s difficult seeing Kicker Parkey duplicate his Success on FG % that he had last year which was phenomenal..
The Coverage Teams should all be solid if not better
The Kick-off Return Team can definitely improve and become more consistent
Will Agholor battle Huff for return duties
Will Agholor take some reps in Punt Returns as Sproles gets another year older
(I Believe 2015 will be Sproles final season as an Eagle)

Bottom Line I believe the Eagles will be a better club over the final 6-8 Weeks of the Season then they will be starting out the Season… Can they get off to a decent start or hang around .500 the first half to make a push for the Playoffs?
We will have to see how it Plays out

June 13, 2015 5:16 pm

Not sure how you see 8 wins as NOT a “huge step backward”. Personally, I see a HUGE improvement for this team. I think they get 10 or 11 wins but compared to the 2014/2015 team, I see….

Better QB, better RB’s, better wr play overall, better 2ndary, better overall Lb’s.

We fight for a playoff spot again this year,

June 13, 2015 7:39 pm
Reply to  Stevo

I agree with you Stevo.

This defense is going to be very good this year. The additions in the secondary along with new coach Udlin, combined with the addition of Kiko to a strong LB crew, and an already great DL.

In the end, it is the health of Bradford that will dictate how far this team can go.

June 14, 2015 1:32 am
Reply to  Stevo

10 Wins in 2014 and no Playoffs down to 8 Wins that I predict in 2015 is not a very big Drop off in my opinion…
Now going down to only only 5-6 W’s, yeah, that’s a big step back…
It’s still way early and a lot will likely happen between now and September with probably some surprise moves as well as Injury…
But right now with all the Starters playing together for first time will take a half a Season , especially with 2 new OL and a new QB

June 13, 2015 6:00 pm

I reported this yesterday

June 13, 2015 7:34 pm

thats the chimp throwing poop against the wall.

June 14, 2015 12:24 am

So nobody is the least bit perplexed at how Mathis goes from being one of the best guards in the league to not so good conveniently after being cut by chip?
I respect a lot of you, but some of you are getting drunk of the kool-aid coming out of Novacare. This mini rant isn’t about ripping Chip,but more about asserting my right to call him and the org on their bs like I would anyone else.
If folks want to go with this culture thing 100%, lockstep with Chip, cool,but please don’t start sporting blinders. We may find Mathis’s replacement and not miss a beat. we may even eventually address oline depth. Just don’t run the same smear leaks like you did with Djax to cover or justify the move.
Mathis may have overplayed his hand,but that’s HIS problem in regards to his earning potential or even longevity. His stupidity and Chip’s bs motives(that affect OUR TEAM) are not mutually exclusive.

June 14, 2015 1:26 am
Reply to  coldbrewski

No… Im with you. I don’t like the cut at all. He has a deal… Let him play out the deal. I think letting talent walk out the door with nothing in return or nothing to replace it is a bad bad idea.

I didn’t like the Djax cut at all. Not because I like or care about him but because his deep threat ability was not replaced. Need proof… Where did the star Qb go? Now… JMAC did a great job.. I preferred him over Djax but he was not the deep threat Djax was.

Same here…. If any of these other guards were better than Mathis… Why were they not starting last year?

I’m a chip Kelly fan… I believe in him. But I am not in favor of letting talented guys under contract walk out the door.

June 14, 2015 9:54 am

Picking W/L at this point is silly! Tell me which team stays healthy and I will tell you who makes the play-offs. How far does Dallas go if Romo goes down? We saw what happened to Arizona and Green Bay when they lost their QB. Maybe we can survive if Bradford doesn’t make it back, but how far do we go if we lose our OTs? In any event, can’t see any scenario Chip isn’t here in 2016 – despite what Paulman says.

June 14, 2015 12:55 pm
Reply to  Oldphillyfan

I agree that’s it’s pre-mature about Records/standings in June…
I still believe the Eagles are anAverage Team with Loy’s of new and talented Players added to the Roster that will take a half season to start jelling and on the same page…
Based on their Current Roster, their Schedule , I see about a .500 Team

The Surprise Teams in the NFC will be the Vikings/Panthers
The disappointing Teams in the NFC will be the Eagles & Cardinals