Big Impact?

Posted: June 17th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Losing an outstanding player like Brandon Brooks is a blow to the Eagles. He is one of the best guards in the league and those are the kind of players you just don’t want to lose.

How big of a loss will this be?

Let’s look back to some previous OL injuries for an idea of what this could mean.


The Eagles spent their first round pick on guard Shawn Andrews. They expected him to give them a dominant presence on the inside, to go with a terrific pair of OTs in Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. Andrews looked great that summer and expectations were sky high for an offense that had Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens.

Andrews got hurt in the opener and missed the rest of the season. Veteran Jermane Mayberry took his old job back, starting 12 games. The team was loaded and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Andrews absence hurt the team in a couple of big games, but there was enough talent on the line and the overall team that the Eagles did just fine without Andrews.


LT Jason Peters got hurt in the offseason so the Eagles signed Demetress Bell to replace him. Bell struggled mightily and only started five games that year. The Eagles finished 29th in scoring and won only four games that season. A lot of people will point to this as an example of just how much losing a stud OL can hurt a team.

Most people forget that Peters wasn’t the only blocker who got hurt. Jason Kelce got hurt in Week 2 and Dallas Reynolds took over for him. Reynolds had never played in an NFL game before that season. He was a marginal player (former UDFA). His lack of talent, experience and skill really showed for the first month. Eventually he got better, but he remained a below-average player.

The overall team had all kinds of talent and chemistry issues. Losing two stars on the OL was too much for that team to overcome.


The Eagles got off to a 3-1 start. Life was good. Then RT Lane Johnson lost his appeal and had to sit out for 10 games. The Eagles replaced him with rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai, taken toward the end of the fifth round that year. Big V struggled mightily in the six games he started. The team went 2-8 in Johnson’s absence and that was likely the difference in them going 7-9 vs making the playoffs.

The overall roster was pretty good, but the combination of bad receivers, a banged up OL and a rookie QB was too much for the team to overcome.


Peters got hurt at midseason and Big V got to play on the left side this time around. Big V was ready for action this time around, even though he wasn’t used to playing LT. He understood the playbook and the speed of the NFL.

Wentz was in Year 2 and the roster was greatly improved (Jeffery, Blount, Long, Robinson, Smith, Darby, Graham, Barnett, Clement, etc.). The Eagles were able to handle the loss of Peters and go on to win the Super Bowl.


So what will the loss of Brooks mean this year? If you look at the years when the Eagles struggled, they didn’t have ideal rosters and rookie QBs started 22 of 32 games.

The Eagles have a good overall OL. Seumalo is above-average at LG. Kelce and Johnson are arguably the best at their positions in the league. LT is a mystery. Dillard could prove to be a solid young tackle or he could be a mess. We aren’t going to know that until we see him in action this year.

Wentz is a veteran and one of the best QBs in the league. Miles Sanders is an impact RB. Zach Ertz is an impact TE. The receivers are a work in progress, but DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor will bring serious speed to the table.

The DL should be very good, especially the DTs. The LBs are young, but athletic. They have good potential. The secondary has a chance to be seriously improved. The Eagles need Darius Slay to play like a stud CB and Jalen Mills to show he can be a good safety.

This roster is good enough to overcome the loss of a starting lineman, even a stud like Brooks.

The potential replacements for Brooks do not have ideal experience. Matt Pryor only started one game last year. Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta have played less than that. Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho are talented rookies, but both played OT in college.

I do think it helps that the Eagles can start looking at these guys in Training Camp. They will feed these players reps and see who looks best prepared to handle the job. Pryor will be entering his third season and has played in games. Herbig got a lot of practice time last season. The coaches seem to be high on him. Driscoll was good enough to be a mid-round pick. I had Tega Wanogho rated as a second round talent if healthy.

Any talk of gloom and doom is greatly exaggerated. Losing Brooks does hurt, but the Eagles have a good enough overall situation that they should be able to overcome this. The big problem is that the margin for error is that much smaller. Other injuries could prove to be too much. Or key players underachieving or showing their age.

Losing Brooks doesn’t mean the season is over, but it does mean plenty of other guys are going to have to play well to make sure the team wins and has the kind of season that is expected.


One Comment on “Big Impact?”

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