The Man in the Middle

Posted: June 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

Can Allen Barbre replace Evan Mathis? Who will play RG? Is Jason Peters worthy of the Hall of Fame? How good can Lane Johnson be?

These are questions being asked about the Eagles O-line heading into 2015. Notice one player missing? Jason Kelce.

This will be his 5th year in the NFL, all as a starter. I sometimes think we take him for granted. Let’s appreciate some of what the Bearded Wonder can do.

Kelce is outstanding in this offense. Not every team would love his combination of size, strength and athleticism. Some teams prefer a big, powerful C who can anchor well and get straight ahead push in the run game.

Kelce is special because of his movement skills. You see this on run plays where he moves laterally. Kelce has great feet and is able to move laterally very quickly. He can then engage the DT to that side and free up the OG to go get a LB or DE. Kelce isn’t going to physically dominate the guy he’s blocking, but he will keep that defender from affecting the play.

The area where Kelce’s mobility really shines is when he blocks on the second level or out in space. Getting to the second level isn’t easy, but the real challenge is getting your hands on the defender and being able to successfully block him. We see plenty of guys get off the ball quickly and then struggle to come under control and block someone in space. Kelce is able to block on the move.

Few Centers can pull and be a good blocker on outside run plays. Kelce can. He throws his hips open and goes flying to the outside, left or right. He then picks out the target and goes and hits him. It sounds so much easier than it is.

One of the reasons that the Eagles had so many long runs in the past few years is that Kelce could get up the field or out in space and take out a player. If the runner could get to that spot, there would be one less defender and that turned a 5-yard run into a 15-yard run.

Kelce isn’t perfect. He’s had some erratic snaps at times. He can get pushed back in pass protection on some plays. For the most part, though, he’s been outstanding for the Eagles. Last year he fought his way through an injury and that affected his play. If he can stay healthy in 2015, Kelce will be a huge help to the new starting OGs on both sides of him. And Sam Bradford. And DeMarco Murray. And Ryan Mathews. And Nelson Agholor.

The starting C doesn’t generally get a lot of attention, but Kelce is a key player for the Eagles on and off the field. He is as Chip Kelly a guy as you can get. He loves football. He is a natural leader. Kelce is an overachiever, but a talented overachiever. Some guys overachieve their way into just being in the league. Kelce is talented enough to work his way into being a terrific player.

The good news is that he won’t turn 28 until November. Kelce should be a key part of the Eagles offense for several years to come.


64 Comments on “The Man in the Middle”

  1. 1 RichC, #4Sigma said at 5:21 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    “Bearded Wonder”

  2. 2 GEAGLE said at 6:32 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Like,to see KELCE, beard flowing, shirt off(hairier then a bear) face painted like a midnight green and white and black “Ultimate Warrior mask”, lead us out the tunnel and take the field with a Giant Battle Axe..,

  3. 3 wee2424 said at 8:28 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Lol don’t get your panties wet. JK.

  4. 4 RichC, #4Sigma said at 11:35 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    so much cooler than an Air Guitar

  5. 5 Kelce's Beard said at 7:55 PM on June 27th, 2015:


  6. 6 Charlie Kelly said at 5:35 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    he also overcame the fans not really liking him when he started his career. taking over the cneter job from a vet and complaining about fans with the sign outside novacare

  7. 7 Ben said at 6:11 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    I am glad he did what he did on that day, and I am sure there are many more days he shows his level of character.
    I can’t remember many fans disliking him. Maybe a hand full at best.
    For a 6th round pick, he has overachieved in a big way.
    I can remember when he got the nod to start over Jamal and he never looked back. All he needed was a opportunity to show the coaches that he could be trusted,and man, did he take advantage of it.
    Kelce has been a blessing, especially when Chip got here.
    This offense requires guys who can not only block well, but can get to the second level fast and as far as I am concerned he can play as good as the best centers in the NFL.
    He is a prime example of what an Eagle should look and play like.

  8. 8 sdev923 said at 9:55 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Not to mention, he sets the protections. He’s as cerebral as they come.

  9. 9 Media Mike said at 7:43 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Which we’ve had MAJOR problems with in the past.

  10. 10 sdev923 said at 9:14 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    I don’t really recall having any major issues with Kelce setting the protections other than last year when he was playing with either Tobin/Gardner to his side so I thought it was miscommunication if anything.

  11. 11 Media Mike said at 9:17 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    No, I meant with guys prior to Kelce (like Hank Fraley in the Super Bowl for instance) sucked at setting the coverage.

  12. 12 sdev923 said at 9:22 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Oh I gotcha. Fraley in the Super Bowl is a horrid memory.

  13. 13 GEAGLE said at 6:26 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Love,how he shitted on redskin radio dorks and,sent them the video f him sodomizing London Fletcher, the most respected of that pig Stide in DC

  14. 14 Tumtum said at 11:38 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Live in DC and deal with those guys. I missed that. Linkies plzzz

  15. 15 wee2424 said at 8:26 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    What was that about, I forgot?

  16. 16 Ben said at 5:53 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Here, Here Tommy. Well said.
    Kelce reminds me of one of those warrior Vikings in that TV series.
    He’s a combination of Ragnar and Rollo. Could be a cousin? lol I kid.
    Man do I love me some Kelce, as and you pointed out so eloquently, he is truly our unsung hero of the offense, if there ever was one..
    It takes a special kind of sick to do what he is asked to do on any given down and then when you listen to him speak off the field, the respect continues to grow.

  17. 17 GEAGLE said at 6:23 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Ragnar is the Man…. Wish KELCE would “draw a Blood Eagle” on Romo’s back… KELCE is too smart to be Rollo.. mathis was Rollo. Weak minded fool/ strong Grunt who let slimey agent Rosenhause screw with his head and become a traitor to his brothers on the eagle OL 😉

  18. 18 Tumtum said at 11:38 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    I named my dog Rollo after that dude!

  19. 19 SteveH said at 11:40 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Rollo totally betrayed Ragnar twice though. What the hell Rollo, I was just starting to like you again and now this…

  20. 20 Tumtum said at 11:54 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    No way dude. He hasn’t betrayed him yet. He is going to betray the Frenchies.

    The first time though…yeah that sucked.

  21. 21 Media Mike said at 7:46 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    What’s this Viking garbage with Rollo? Rollo is Lamont’s buddy from Sanford and Son!

  22. 22 GEAGLE said at 6:20 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Always appreciate KELCE and respect him as one of of the elite centers in the game,especially playing in our offense. Feel so much more comfortable knowing he is in the game…. the problem is, he hasn’t been able to avoid injury and stay in many times has he played 16 games? once? Twice? I’m not suggesting replacing him.. jason is one of my favorite players, I just hope we make sure we have a suitable NFL backüp behind him, which is why I’m thrilled we took a Flier on Mofitt. No idea what to expect from the former 3rd round pick, who hasn’t played in a couple years and who got most of his NFLA game experience at Guard, but with how weak MOLK is, and Vandervedle having his own issues staying healthy, I’m Thrillied to be taking a flier on Mofitt.. Hopefully we find that the break from the game has refreshed him, and that we are catching him at a better point in his life when he is finally ready to put it all together.. Timing is everything, hopefully this is HIS time to realize his potential…
    full disclosure, I think so little of MOLK that Id be happy see us take Fliers on Any player with Center ability Til we find a better option then MOLK…
    I really only focus on Center ability when it comes to Mofitt but with most of his experience at Guard, wonder where he will rank on the Guard depth chart my the end of the summer?… Really I just hope he proves good enough to give us a better option then MOLK and Vandervelde

  23. 23 EagleNebula said at 6:33 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    The fact that he seems like a genuinely good guy makes it even more enjoyable to root for him

  24. 24 SteveH said at 11:38 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    You know he would look so strange without that beard.

  25. 25 Ramiroquaaii said at 6:46 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Other good news is that his last injury isn’t chronicle or anything like that.
    So he must be untoucheable for several years.

  26. 26 Mitchell said at 7:26 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Once again, I’m really not to concerned with this line. As I have said before, we have 3 top 5 quality starters coming back and so much depth and competition between Barbre, Tobin, Gardner, Kelly and now Moffitt. Not to mention a slew of UFDAs who the coaches brought in for a reason and at least 1/2 have a good chance of contributing in the future. Would I feel more comfortable with a top 3 round OL pick? Sure, but we can just as easily nab a 1st rounder next year or pay for a quality FA. Chip will make it work and I think it’s fair to say Sam has a quicker release than any other qb the Eagles have had in a while. That should make the OL look better as well. I’m summation, we are probably going to break more offensive records this year.

  27. 27 Avery Greene said at 9:38 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    For me the thing I’m most excited about is Ertz. He spent the whole offseason working on his blocking – if he has that down he sees the field more. If he sees the field more, he’s gonna murder the middle of the field.

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 7:48 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    I need to see Ertz on the field more. I can’t stomach him sitting behind a “starting” TE who had an average stat line of 2 catches/ 21.3 yards / 1/16th of a TD.

  29. 29 Kelce's Beard said at 9:38 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    only 9 more months!

  30. 30 Avery Greene said at 9:41 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    LOL – Giants punter talking trash on the Eagles already. Dis gon be fun!

  31. 31 SteveH said at 11:39 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Talking trash really helped the Giants last year. oh wait…

  32. 32 EaglesFan1 said at 11:57 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    The joke is on him, at least those guys are QBs and not a punter.

    On a serious note, I hope one of our special teams studs knocks his ass out on Monday night football.

  33. 33 Ben said at 1:20 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    YESSS!! I would love to see Braman give him a thorough clock cleaning.

  34. 34 Media Mike said at 7:49 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    And in all honest, the QB on the Giants is a chuck and duck stiff who is an INT factory.

  35. 35 wee2424 said at 8:20 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Remember when Trotter knocked the shit out of that 1 punter on the Giants first game of 2004?

  36. 36 EagleNebula said at 3:02 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    I’d rather watch him hurt himself trying to tackle Sproles as he waltzes into the end zone…

  37. 37 Ben said at 1:19 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Yeah, I saw that article.
    My screen name over there is eaglomaniac and I just had to weigh in.
    Too funny.

  38. 38 A_T_G said at 7:17 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    So, to complete his analogy, what car is Eli?

    I’ll say a Chevette. Its name make you think of the iconic sports car from the same factory, and then it falls short of that image in ways you hadn’t even considered possible.

  39. 39 Chiptomylou said at 10:51 AM on June 30th, 2015:

    Yet…somehow won car of the year…twice. Grrrrrr!

  40. 40 Media Mike said at 7:49 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    F him. F Giants fan.

  41. 41 Dan in Philly said at 10:52 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    Love that guy.

  42. 42 Tumtum said at 11:35 PM on June 27th, 2015:

    What’s crazy to me is that he has beebeen here 5 years already. Feels so much shorter.

  43. 43 Mr. Toledo said at 12:00 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    This article settles it. The next jersey I buy will be a kelce jersey

  44. 44 CrackSammich said at 1:06 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Bought Kelce a shot last St Patty’s down in Old City. Seemed like a real nice guy, though most are when being given shots.

  45. 45 PlanetX said at 1:08 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Awesome player & what a cool guy. I near soiled myself the first time he actually took the time to chat w/ me on Twitter. I ordered a “Beard Mode” jersey that very day. lol Have to give Lane Johnson credit for being sociable like that as well.

  46. 46 anon said at 1:45 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    who’s that number 25? looks like a dynamic runner?

  47. 47 wee2424 said at 7:46 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Lol don’t get it started.

  48. 48 EagleNebula said at 2:59 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    Tommy McDonald I believe.

  49. 49 Media Mike said at 7:42 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    “Kelce isn’t perfect. He’s had some erratic snaps at times. He can get pushed back in pass protection on some plays. For the most part, though, he’s been outstanding for the Eagles.”

    This 100% sums up why I love Kelce as a really good, but not quite a perennial pro-bowl, level starter.

  50. 50 Gary Barnes said at 9:00 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Have always liked Kelce, one of Reid’s best picks IMV….like his talent, but also attitude and personality, got to have some fun loving guys on a team

  51. 51 Ben said at 11:25 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    Off topic…and this you may have seen, but in case you haven’t…I was surfing the net and stumbled across this little Agholor nugget…check it out.

  52. 52 Media Mike said at 11:48 AM on June 28th, 2015:

    I can’t wait to see him throw down like this after jumping over Prince A-Mother-F’er.

  53. 53 wee2424 said at 6:36 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    Lol good stuff.

  54. 54 Bert's Bells said at 8:20 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    I don’t understand the rules of basketball at all. Isn’t that a foul?

  55. 55 Birds4Life said at 4:20 PM on June 29th, 2015:

    It was close. The defender kind of slid under him after he jumped in the air. That’s why it was a foul. If the defender was there before Agholor jumped off the ground, it would’ve been a charge.

  56. 56 Bert's Bells said at 2:11 PM on June 30th, 2015:

    That’s what I (kinda) thought. It looked like a charge to me -but, again, I don’t really get the rules. Whenever I watch NBA plays seem to be whistled arbitrarily.

  57. 57 Nelson ALGore said at 12:41 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    Hard to watch OL tape without feeling like Salty “Left a lot of meat on the bone” lol

  58. 58 jmatt81 said at 1:18 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    Wow. Definitely don’t appreciate him as much as I should. Now I see why they locked him up for 6 years.

  59. 59 1StikDik said at 10:06 PM on June 28th, 2015:

    Indeed, Shady spent too much time running less than optimal angles.

  60. 60 BobSmith77 said at 12:39 AM on June 29th, 2015:

    Kind of surprised you didn’t mention his biggest weakness – inside the 5 in the red zone or short-yard (l yard or less) situations. Also been injury-prone too.

    Desperately need him to stay healthy for 16 G this year. I’d argue to that his health is the most important on the team too because of what he does in this scheme & his overall abilities. Even more important than even Bradford because the Eagles at least have a competent backup QB. Molk might be an acceptable solution for a game or two but if the Eagles want to make the playoffs this year they need Kelce playing like he did in ’13

  61. 61 A_T_G said at 7:49 AM on June 29th, 2015:

    He pretty much did:

    “Not every team would love his combination of size, strength and athleticism. Some teams prefer a big, powerful C who can anchor well and get straight ahead push in the run game.”

  62. 62 Avery Greene said at 7:13 AM on June 29th, 2015:

    DeMarco Murray loves the Philly fan attitude— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) June 29, 2015

  63. 63 eagleyankfan said at 7:50 AM on June 29th, 2015:

    Always loved me some Kelce. If there was a lineman at the 2nd level, it was either him or Peters. I always thought he was a pro bowl level but that’s probably a biased opinion :).

  64. 64 Bacon, Eggs and Eagles - Jason Kelce Appreciation Day said at 8:13 AM on June 29th, 2015:

    […] The Man in the Middle – Tommy Lawlor of […]