To call the Eagles’ offensive line a turnstile would be an insult to the turnstile. The unit has gone through more changes than a moody teenager over the past few weeks.
Now, with the announcement that Todd Herremans is out for the season, the unit is going under the knife again. The Eagles are down to one player, Evan Mathis, from the original five projected to start.
“It’s kind of weird, it’s like a “Final Destination” kind of thing. Hopefully, I don’t get hit by a bus,” left guard Evan Mathis joked.
But it’s far from a joke eight games in. The Eagles need to achieve some sort of cohesion despite the constant shuffling up front.
“If there’s two guys next to me and I don’t know exactly how they know the playbook or I don’t know exactly how they move or how they’re going to do certain techniques, even just half a step off in the NFL makes a huge difference,” injured center Jason Kelce said. “I think cohesion along the offensive line unit is very big.”
So far the crash course in chemistry has failed. The Eagles have surrendered 27 sacks, including seven last week. Those numbers don’t take into account the amount of jarring hits that Mike Vick has endured. He was under siege Monday in New Orleans.
“It’s not the [most fun] thing in the world to get hit over and over and over again, but I just keep getting up,” Vick said.
Defenses watch tape. Defenses also read injury reports. And they are fully aware of the inexperienced group now protecting Vick. Their mindset is to attack, attack, attack.
“You’re going to try and get after them,” said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. “It’s something as a defensive lineman — not just defensive linemen but linebackers, defensive coordinators, you’re going to be scheming to get after them.”
Kelce offering advice to wobbly line
Jason Kelce is powerless. As he recovers from a fully torn MCL and partially torn ACL in his right knee, he can only sit and watch the Eagles on TV. It’s been one of the most frustrating experiences of his life.
“When you’re not playing, it’s frustrating because you really can’t control the outcome,” Kelce said. “You just have to hope that people start doing their jobs better.”
Kelce intends to serve as a pseudo-coach this week as the Birds prepare for Dallas. He’ll be studying Cowboys tape and looking for any nuances, like an elongated stance or head nod, that might provide an advantage.
“It’s more about studying film and studying your opponent,” said Kelce, specifically mentioning Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff. “Certain physiological things that you don’t even think about when you’re playing. Based on body language, there are certain things you should be able to eliminate out of his repertoire.”
As far as Kelce’s return to the field, he’s targeting the start of training camp next year — possibly minicamps since there isn’t contact allowed.