I’ve tried to not worry, and I’ve tried to hold it in, but it is official - I am worried about the Eagles offensive line. With only 1 (Jamaal Jackson) starter on the offensive line healthy enough to make the trip to Indianapolis for the 2nd preseason game this week, I am starting to get more and more concerned as the season gets closer. I understand that teams will hold a player out of a preseason game with a hang nail, but still…. I am worrying.
I hope that my worrying is over nothing, but it seems less likely every day that our revamped offensive line will all be starting the season together. This will be a problem, as the Eagles spend a lot of money and draft picks on their offensive line. Let’s take a look at all the different players on the offensive line, and what they are out injured with.
Starting at left tackle this season, replacing Tra Thomas will be Jason Peters. Peters was paid a lot of money after being acquired in a trade before the draft. He looked horrible in the first preseason game, was having trouble getting the snap count down, and now is out injured with a strained quad. Peters will be replaced by King Dunlap, who is a monster (even by offensive lineman standards).
At left guard this season is Todd Herremans, who has been a starter in the offense for a few years now. It was initially reported that Herremans had a bruised ankle, but now it is listed as a stress condition in his foot. I can’t imagine that is a good thing for a guy that size, especially when offensive lineman tend to take longer to heal when things go wrong with their legs or feet. Herremans will be replaced by Max Jean-Gilles, who has seen playing time with this team before.
At right guard, free agent acquisition Stacy Andrews is slated to be the starter. When the Eagles signed Andrews, he was coming on surgery, and they knew it would take some time to get him on the field. Well, supposedly he is healing just fine, but he has been on and off the field. He doesn’t have any specific injury besides simply healing from knee surgery. Andrews will be replaced by Nick Cole, who started most of last season in place off Shawn Andrews.
Speaking of Shawn Andrews….. the oft injured now starting right tackle is injured with back spasms. Andrews had back surgery during last season, and apparently re-injured the back while running at some point. I have no clue what to make of Andrews, his desire to play, or when he will be back. Andrews will be replaced by Winston Justice. If it turns out Andrews can’t go this season, the Eagles may consider reaching out to Jon Runyan, if it turns out he is able to play this season.
So what does this all mean? Besides Donovan McNabb having to run for his life all night against the Colts Thursday night, hopefully nothing. Hopefully this is all just regular before season injuries and rest, and the starting unit will all be healthy, available, and productive week 1 of the season. There is a big difference between healthy and productive. We need our offensive line to be both this year. If this unit is all together, and productive, it has the ability to be very dangerous, and one of the best units in the game. Let’s hope this is the case, and my worrying is for nothing.