Posted June 26, 2013

WHILE everyone in the media is saying that Jason Peters's return is what will make the Eagles Offensive Line better this year, I have a different take on it.

The fact is, when Peters was healthy two years ago, we were decidedly better running the ball and we gave up fewer sacks (48 in 2012 to 32 in 2011), but we still gave up a TON of hits on the QB. Many of which came straight up the gut courtesy of Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins.

And therein lies my point.

Peters return won't be what decides if we're better or worse. What will determine if we're better or worse will be whether Todd Herremanns is an upgrade over Danny Watkins, and whether Lane Johnson is an upgrade over Todd Herremanns. 

From a pass protection standpoint, things should be more stable. Especially with horizontally spread formations that discourage edge defenders from sneaking inside to apply extra pressure and offer more exotic blitz looks. Defensive front players "held in place" will allow for fewer blown assignments on the inside, and keep things played straight up. It's hard to beat an O-lineman who (pre-snap) can mark out his territory, pick his cut-off, and then have both of those things hold up during the play.

Run blocking?...We'll be fine on the left. On the right...I can't say anything about Johnson because I don't know his game. Herremanns on the other hand has NEVER been an ace run blocker. I also have my doubts about whether his foot will hold up once the weather turns cold and that ground gets hard. Shoving around a 300 pound man who's fighting you back, while driving your foot off of hard pack, in thin-soled cleats, while trying to time it with the guy next to you; is a hell of an assignment, even if your feet are in great shape. Considering that Herremanns has had a fractured left ankle (IR 2005), a stress fracture in that foot, and dislocated bone AND ligament damage in his right foot (IR last year), it really is a LOT to ask of him. ESPECIALLY if right-handed Nick Foles starts and Herremanns becomes the primary run blocking Guard.

But that's my take. What's yours?

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