June 26, 2013

WILL THE EAGLES OFFENSIVE LINE BE ANY BETTER?

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?

5 Comments:
  • I think herremans will be fine. He was a great run blocker at RG, I think ur underestimating how big of a role he had in shades emergence. With all the advancements in surgery lately I'm not worried about that. I would rather have u out there than Danny Watkins. Hell I rather have my 5-4 140lbs cousin out there than Watkins. Johnson's game is the pass game screens and getting to the next level on run plays. I wanna see him man on man with a nfl lineman right on him. I'm sure he's gonna be fine but its worth a watch in preseason. Personally I rather see Reynolds at center than kelce. Kelce was horrible but got more praise for some reason. After a couple games Reynolds got the hang of things and we all watched Watkins suck it up but Reynolds get the blame. EZ and green both told me I'm wrong then changed their mind a little after I heard baldi questioning Watkins play. The same guy who was proclaiming him the best guard in the draft, only after the eagles picked him, and kelce one of the best centers in the league, even though he sucked. Peters Mathis (overrated, pro bowl my ass), Reynolds, Todd, Johnson would make a decent line. Goal line out Watkins at guard Todd tackle lane TE with Casey and brown to pound it in.
  • I'm on the record here REPEATEDLY talking about how little I think of Kelce. The only reason I didn't make a big fuss about getting a replacement this year was that there really wasn't a guy in the Draft who'd both last until round 4 AND make a difference. This is why I haven't made too much fun of the Cowboys for reaching to get the Center they took. They just decided to address their need. Also FA didn't offer much either.

    Truth is, we haven't had a good Center since we lost Jamaal Jackson. Nick Cole was just HORRENDOUS, and Kelce (See: above).

    The Peters/Mathis/Kelce situation is what we HAVE TO live with for 2013; which is the main reason why I only mentioned the right side for this season.
  • Reports out of camp had Peters looking like his old self. Now if he can refrain from doing stupid things.... Still a Peters at even 80% is better than Last seasons combo of Queen Dunlap and Demetress Bell. Mathis will hopefully be Mathis and that should be at least the same as last season. Like Kelce or not he most certainly is better than Dallas Reynolds who did everything wrong last season. Personally I'm not a big fan of Kelce. He's too small, doesn't block well in the run game and a legit NT eats him for lunch, but Reynolds was putrid last season.... Anything over Danny Watkins is an upgrade and Herremans back on the inside should help with any loss mobility due to age and injuries. Lane is the true question mark here. Is he better than Dennis Kelly who I thought at times looked pretty good later in the season. If Lane can be the athletic tackle with the nasty attitude like say maybe Runyan, then I think he makes this line much better. And if Kelly can continue to develop they could have a solid pair of bookends for years to come. There's no way I see this line (as long as it remains healthy) giving up 7 sacks in a game like they did last season. I think this line is much improved from last season.
  • I don't see them bleeding 7 sacks a game either. Even if it's only due to the formation keeping the edges ON the edges. Also it should help with keeping passing sight lines clear, so that reads can happen faster and the ball can get out quicker.
  • This is an area where there could have been a LOT of unnecessary contention, but LOOK.

    Look at this drama free post.
    Admit it, this is nice.

    We've disagreed PLENTY today, but looking up and down the page, all you see is discussion after discussion based on football.

    This is how it SHOULD be.
    How it COULD be.
    How it WILL be.
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