Looking For Depth on the OL

Posted: July 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 24 Comments »

The Eagles O-line took a beating last year. By the end of the season, the only recognizable name was Evan Mathis, who has been a rock at LG since joining the team in 2011.

The projected OL for 2013 looks good, maybe outstanding.

LT Jason Peters
LG Evan Mathis
OC Jason Kelce
RG Todd Herremans
RT Lane Johnson

But what happens if players get hurt?

The top backup OT is Dennis Kelly. He can play the right side for sure. We don’t yet know if he could play on the left side. Should anything happen to Jason Peters (the horror, the horror), the Eagles could slide Lane Johnson to LT and put Kelly in at RT. They could also try Kelly at LT, but that would truly be an experiment. Kelly proved he could play RT last year.

Ed Wang is currently listed as the backup LT, but I don’t think he’s got a realistic chance to make the roster. If there are a rash of injuries, that could change things. I think Wang is “just a guy” and has never been a clear LT prospect to me.

The Eagles officially signed OT Michael Bamiro today. Here are some thoughts on him. The Eagles did reportedly guarantee some money to Bamiro so that would tell you they think he’ll make the roster or the practice squad. I think he is a RT only, but will admit that I didn’t get to see him pass block enough to know this for sure.

Peters is over the age of 30 so the Eagles do need young players at OT. Johnson is expected to be a starter for years to come. He should be the LT of the future. Kelly could be the RT of the future. Bamiro could challenge Kelly or just be a backup.

Mathis and Herremans are set as the starting OGs. Danny Watkins will get a chance to show what he can do, but it isn’t likely that he’ll win the RG job. The backup OG situation is wide open. You have Nate Menkin, the young and unproven player. You have Allen Barbre, the journeyman veteran who hasn’t been able to win a job at previous stops.

Mathis had some interesting comments on Barbre in an interview with BGN.

“Allen Barbre is, at the very least, a starting caliber offensive guard. If we were to lose a guard to injury, I’d be totally confident with him filling in.”

That’s a nice endorsement. Barbre has limited starting experience, but let’s remember that Mathis came here under similar circumstances. And Barbre is a good athlete. He was the fastest OL in Combine history for a while. He does have some potential.

It is possible the Eagles could use Kelly or Bamiro at OG. Those guys are really tall, but Chip Kelly does like big players. Julian Vandervelde is another tweener. He is more of a natural fit at OG, but he’s been tried at Center the last couple of years.

The Center position will be just fine if Jason Kelce stays healthy. Dallas Reynolds was a mess early last year, but improved as the year went along. He had some snap issues that must be fixed, but he did show that he could be an effective NFL starter. Matt Tennant was strictly a role player in 2012. He would like to win a spot and challenge for time this year. We’ll see how that goes.

Matt Kopa, Matt Tobin and Nic Purcell are all projects. Kopa has the most experience, but might be the least athletic of the trio. Tobin played LT and LG at Iowa. Purcell is a guy we’ve talked about a few times. He’s very raw, but does have talent. He could play G or T.

I think the Eagles will keep their eyes open on the waiver wire for young OL that they could claim/sign and add as depth. That could change if guys like Menkin and Barbre look good in camp, and if Kelly builds off what he did last year.

The Eagles will keep 8 or 9 OL. The starters are set. If they keep Watkins and Kelly, that only leaves open 1 or 2 spots.

* * * * *

New podcast from Dr. James Bama and myself. We discussed Bills free agent Jairus Byrd, the Eagles WR situation and a few other oddball things.

* * * * *

If you want to watch some of OT Michael Bamiro…check out this vid. Just look for #69, the RT.

_


  • austinfan

    It is obvious that they’re upgrading the level of athleticism among the OL backups, especially the younger backups. Barbre, Johnson and Vandervelde actually have 10 yard splits under 1.7 seconds. Tobin, Bamiro and Parcell are above average athletes. The only guys who’d be considered average athletes at least in terms of testing are Kelly, Wang, Watkins, Menkin and Reynolds, and only Wang was an addition. The other four were added with Mudd as OL coach, which suggests they have good on the field movement skills.

    Actually, they’ve upgraded throughout the skill positions, all five RBs run under 4.6, Benn, Momah, Salas, Shepard are athletic WRs for their size, Ertz, Casey, Carrier, Shaw at TE/H-back.

    Even though the defense got bigger, it’s hard to point to any DL “slugs,” big but slow guys,Sopoaga, Geathers, Logan all move well for their size. Remington might be the least athletic lineman (if Dixon is in shape). Same at LB, where Knott is the only addition who runs slower than 4.7.

  • Joe Minx

    Apparently they cut Kyle Quinn to make room for Bamiro. That surprises me.

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, me too. I had him rated as a UDFA with a good chance to make the team. Oops. Must not have looked good in practice. Or maybe the other backup C’s were good and made him expendable.

      • GEagle

        Bamiro had a good interview on WIP. Sounds like a good kid…Kind of weird in that he was cracking up, laughing hysterically throughout the entire interview

        • Flyin

          He’s getting his urine right as I type.

  • Westport_Johnny

    What’s this nonsense that Ed Wang may not make the roster?
    That’ll kill my evening plans!

    • Andy124

      Gotta figure Chung is gone if there’s no Wang.

    • MediaMike

      Hey Wang! It’s a parking lot!

      • Flyin

        Condos over there. Plenty of parking!

  • GEagle

    Backup center scares me…Hopefully we get lucky on the waiver wire

  • Ark87

    Listen, Tommy. There will be 6 starters on the O-line this year since we will be stacking 2 LG’s. Hell, the 5 starters might as well go full Voltron and combine to become the ultimate lineman.

  • ACViking

    Re: Guards & Tackles

    T-Law:

    A couple of question for you at the end of my comments on each position.
    _________________

    Peters is 31 years old this season. And, by all accounts, he’s fully recovered from his achilles injury.

    If the careers of other dominant OTs are a useful indicator, then Peters has anywhere from 2-4 years of good to great football remaining. Maybe more.

    The benchmark is HOF OT Jackie Slater. He played great football into his late 30s before retiring at age 41. The man Lombardi called the greatest football player he’d ever seen — Forrest Gregg — played to age 38 and was still dominant at age 35.

    HOFers Gary Zimmerman and Ron Yary, and the notoriously good Winston Hill — at least to the old Baltimore Colts fans — played to age 36.

    HOF OTs Willie Roaf and Art Shell played at a high level until age 35.

    Recently retired and likely HOFers Walter Jones, Orlando Pace, and HOFer Rayfield Wright made it to 34, as did the great Jim Tyrer (among the best OTs in the late 60s-early 70s).

    The Eagles’ own Tra Thomas played here, and started all 16 games, at age 34 in 2008. And that same season, Jon Runyan — in his last year as an Eagles — started all 16 games at age 35.

    Finally, HOFers Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden, and Bob Brown played to age 33 — when injuries finally wore them down.

    Interestingly (or not) , none of these HOF/All Pro players slid inside to OG to extend their careers.
    ____________________

    It seems the argument can be made that great OTs — of which Peters surely was one before his injury — have long, productive NFL careers (2nd only to QBs, though I’ve not confirmed that data point).

    I suppose, foremost, great OTs are hard to find. And they’re even harder to replace. Plus, on the O-line, the tricks of the trade may be the most usefull — again, except perhaps for QBs — in helping to maintain productivity despite diminished physical ability.
    _____________________

    QUESTION for T-LAW:

    Assuming Peters remains healthy (and in shape), he could have at least 2 and maybe even 4 more years of good football ahead of him. More if he takes care of himself.

    So, taking my assumptions as correct, do you think he Eagles would continue to pay him an 8-figure salary?

    The Birds’ selection of Lane Johnson arguably suggest that the answer is “no.” An 8-figure salary’s a big chunk of money in the present era of a static salary cap, right?

    On the other hand, the Eagles’ greatest run of success came during the Thomas – Runyan era. If Lane Johnson develops as hoped

    _____________________

    Both guards, Mathis and Herremans, will be 32 and 31 years-old by the end of 2013 (and Watkins 29 y.o. — making that pick look worse and worse).

    Some memorable HOF guards have remarkably long careers: Joe DeLamielleure – 23 seasons; Gene Upshaw – 21 seasons; John Hannah, Bruce Matthews – 18 seasons; and Larry Little – 17 seasons;

    Others — like Mike Munchak, Russ Grim, Tom Mack — barely reached 12 seasons.
    ________________________

    QUESTION for T-LAW:

    Guards are less expensive than OTs, especially LOTs.

    Would you expect the Eagles to keep Mathis and Herremans around for the next 2-3 (or even 4 seasons) assuming they’re playing at a high level?

    Or will the money make the difference — despite the Eagles seemingly perpetual “Cap-Gap”?

  • Ark87

    Just listened to the pod cast. It’s so tough to think about Avant. On the one hand he’s a great possession receiver. Heck if you run 3 plays in 60 seconds real time, you’d best get a first down or god help us. So i think people are under selling that quality of his.

    On the other hand, ideally we want one of the TE’s to play that role. If we aren’t subbing guys in…I couldn’t imagine any scenario where we commit to keeping Avant on the field for 3-6 plays in a row. For this reason I don’t think it will be the year of the big WR (again). We will have long stretches with athletic TE’s moving all over the field, I want play makers complementing them to work the WR screen and stretch the field (to keep the D from smothering the middle of the field). Of Cooper, Benn, and Momah, I could see a situation playing out where we only keep one of them.

    I see us keeping 4-5 WR’s: Jackson, Maclin, Johnson, then pick 1 or 2 of Benn Cooper or Avant. For me it all comes down to how tempted Chip is to keep a 4th RB (you have Jones, Polk, and Tucker playing musical chairs, circling 1 chair, you know Chip wants to put down another chair)

    • eagleyankfan

      “Great”? People aren’t under selling his abilities. You’re over selling. Avant is “ok”. He’s easily replaced. Give me Avants hands and Coopers toughness in one player — then maybe we can start talking about a very good player. Like the defense, I’m up for a WR make over. Hoping one of the players from your group steps up.

    • Rage114

      Avant is very tough call.
      But the Eagles made a conscious effort this season to find/draft very
      high character guys; guys that are professional and leaders in the locker room. Looking at the roster on the offensive side, who else is that veteran locker room leader? Perhaps Celek? I don’t know if that is enough to keep him. My guess is not but it clearly is a factor to them.

      I can’t see a scenario where they keep more than 5 WR. I expect 4 RB to make the roster and 4 TE/HB(maybe even 5) to make the roster as well. It appears that WR are more like “specialists” in this offense than partof the required “base”.

      As a result, my guess is Johnson, Jackson, Benn, Momah, and
      Cooper with Maclin being traded.

      I am not high on Maclin. Very talented but plays smaller than he is and Jackson and Johnson already fit that mold. And since he has shown an unwillingness to play larger (aka block) and it is unlikely that they will resign him, why keep him? Obviouslytraining camp can change this perception but that is my guess today.

  • Michael Adam Bennett

    Was that the best film we could find on bamiro? Cause that was uninspiring to say the least. Gave away tells on if he was firing off or pulling (just look at his helmet level), played high, got little push, only saw him finish one block. Better hope he is a better pass blocker.

    • Zach Reese

      I agree. Did not look the part of an NFL player, but has the ideal measurables. Very sloppy form and seemingly poor field awareness, but seemed to be a bull when he did effectively engage. Maybe there’s a mean-streak there and Chip Kelly will whip him into shape over time. Intriguing practice squad player.

    • TommyLawlor

      Best? No. Just some available stuff.

      You need to think of him as a 5th-7th round pick. That’s the level he’s at.

  • Weapon Y

    I’m very confident with our depth at tackle. With Jason Peters and Lane Johnson as our starters, we still have Todd Herremans available to move back to tackle if needed and Dennis Kelly hopefully improves from last year. That’s far better than relying on the King Dunlap-Demetress Bell “revolving door” duo. I’m more concerned with our interior line depth. The real x-factor is Danny Watkins. If Watkins can become serviceable, he gives us so much more flexibility at tackle because we can move Herremans around. I am curious that Mathis chose to give an endorsement to Allen Barbre, rather than Watkins. It’s still very early, but this tells me that Watkins has not made a major leap forward this offseason. He might even be at risk of not making the team if Barbre and other players are ahead of him. He needs to have a great training camp.

    I really wish the Eagles would’ve drafted Brian Schwenke or Barrett Jones in the 4th round to give us better depth at center, but if Matt Barkley turns out to be a stud, I’ll eat my words. I’m not completely down on Dallas Reynolds, but I’m not psyched about him filling in for Kelce again. He has some run blocking ability, but he’s way too inconsistent to feel confident in.

  • Flyin

    Dallas sucks!

    Dallas Reynolds may not…to the cowboy degree.

    What were his issues last season?… If it was QB under center…I’m fine with it.

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  • eagleyankfan

    Chip likes WR’s to block. DJ and Mac like to block as much as I like poking my eye with a hot poker. A lot of story lines for camp. My favorite to watch is the WR group. IF Chip stands by his word as to the type of WR’s he wants, its going to be interesting. Can’t wait.

  • eagleyankfan

    This is all assuming too that LJ signs.

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