Update on the Eagles O-Line

Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

"So when do we get to play Rice or Sam Houston State?"


I had a chance to check out some clips of the OL/DL 1-on-1 drills on Thursday.  That was a lot of fun and interesting to watch.  Here are some thoughts:

* Jason Peters is too heavy, but the man was born to block.  He went up against a backup DE and threw the guy out of the way.  Peters was able to get off the ball and attack the rusher.  He couldn’t do that in Juan Castillo’s system.  I think Jason is going to love playing for Howard Mudd, except when he’s getting yelled at.

* Todd Herremans looks good as well.  Smooth.

* Jamaal Jackson hasn’t really stood out, but looks fine.  He’s all the way back health-wise and that’s the real key for him.

* Danny Watkins is a work in progress.  He struggled with a backup DT.  Watkins is adjusting to the Eagles, the NFL, and a new position.  The good news is that he knows he’s behind schedule.  Watkins is all but stalking Mudd.  Those two are constantly together.  I think Watkins will catch up a little bit each day.  The preseason opener vs Baltimore will be a huge test for him.

* Austin Howard is the #1 RT as of tonight.  That might change on Friday when Ryan Harris is eligible to practice.  I was actually encouraged by watching Howard.  He has the ability to play in Mudd’s system.  Howard is too heavy right now and that’s something he’s working on.  The lockout didn’t do him any favors.  Howard did a good job of sliding out to pick up pass rushers.  That tells you he grasps the system and has the ability to do it.  Now he’s got to improve.  He was better in the drills than in the live periods.  Howard was up and down when it was 11-on-11.  I do think he’s got a shot to be the starting RT if he gets in better shape and keeps improving on the field.

* King Dunlap is a major disappointment.  He still seems to be moving backward in his pass sets.  That’s not what Mudd wants.  I don’t know if Dunlap is a slow learner or is just “panicking” and reverting to what he’s been taught for all his NFL career.  It is one thing to do real basic drills, but when you get into a competitive situation it is easy to revert to that which you’re comfortable with.  Apparently Matt Hasselbeck started calling Seahawks plays in his first practice with the Titans when the tempo picked up.  Breaking old habits is hard.  Dunlap struggled in 11-on-11 sessions and gave up a couple of sacks in the few clips I saw.

* A.Q. Shipley impressed me today.  I guarantee you that Mudd loves Shipley’s style, if not the overall results.  Shipley fires off the ball and really attacks the rusher.  There is nothing passive about him.  Mudd has used Shipley at LG and RG.  I think he’s seen snaps at Center as well.  I don’t know if this is a compliment and Mudd is cross-training him to be the top interior backup or if Mudd can’t find a home for him.  Shipley has a real chance to make the roster, but he must play well in games.

* Jason Kelce is getting mixed in with the starters on a regular basis.  That would make you think Mudd is high on him and sees him as the C of the future.  Kelce is solid in the drills.  He gives ground, but is able to re-set and maintain control of his rusher.

* I haven’t seen enough of Julian Vandervelde to have much of an opinion of him.  Same is true for Mike McGlynn.

Some people asked about an O-line depth chart.  Let’s see what Ryan Harris does in practice for a couple of days and then make our first depth chart.  Evan Mathis could push for a starting role as well.  The Eagles want Watkins to be the RG, but he’s not getting the job unless he shows he can handle it.

* * * * *

I mentioned in the previous post that the Eagles signed a pair of camp body DTs.  #78 is Brandon Collier from UMass.  While watching the OL today I kept noticing this kid go relentlessly on every snap.  That was Collier.  He’s only 6’1, 290, but Jim Washburn had some luck in Tennessee with a UDFA named Tony Brown who was a very similar size.  I’m not trying to over-hype Collier as some great sleeper, but I do want to give him credit.  He hit the practice field today with an attitude.  He wasn’t scared of anyone.  Collier busted his tail on every snap and got the best of Watkins a few times.  Good for Collier.  Probably nothing will come of his time here, but I love the fact he’s taking advantage of the opportunity.

* * * * *

Good news on the “Keep Asante” front.  Owner Jeff Lurie had a positive conversation with him and then Asante had a terrific day of practice.  He was taunting the offense and acting like his usual self.  Maybe the 3 CBs can work.

36 Comments on “Update on the Eagles O-Line”

  1. 1 TyPhilly21 said at 10:49 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    How has Thornton been looking? I know there have been ppl that are high on him. If Patterson is out is he more likely to get a shot in that 4 DT rotation?

  2. 2 McG said at 11:00 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    What’s not to love about Jeff Lurie owning the Eagles? I mean I was already a big fan of Lurie, but if he’s taking care of Asante (who is a player I really like) then wow, that is over the top. Thanks for that little tid bit Tommy!

  3. 3 Floyd said at 11:06 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    Hey everybody! Go vote for Igglesblitz and Tommy at


    Tommy, I know your not big on the whole self promotion thing but the content you consistently put out and the time you put into this site is amazing. I’d like to see you get some recognition for it. Perhaps this could be a stepping stone to you getting recognized and getting a job as a scout. Even if that means all us readers would lose this awesome site. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  4. 4 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:11 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    @ Floyd…

    Thanks for the nice words. Always good to be appreciated.

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:11 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    @ TyPhilly…

    I’m gonna write something on Thornton tomorrow. Can’t use all the material at once.

  6. 6 Eric said at 11:21 PM on August 4th, 2011:


    How do you think Danny will be at pulling? I doubt that was something he did much as a left tackle.

  7. 7 Alex K said at 11:51 PM on August 4th, 2011:

    Good to see that signs are pointing to Asante sticking around. I keep thinking that the Eagles will end up dealing Hanson, given that there is very little upside for him at this point in his career. His presence could potentially hinder the development of Lindley and Marsh, who need game experience. And, Nnamdi could get his #21 jersey.

  8. 8 Eric said at 12:02 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @Alex K

    Yeah, I’m waiting on the Nnamdi jersey for awhile. #24 is already up on yukijersey. But I’ll wait to see if he switches to #21 if Hanson is canned.

  9. 9 ATG said at 12:04 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Good find, Floyd. Done.

  10. 10 ATG said at 12:08 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @ Eric

    Isn’t there rules about players switching numbers for that very reason? From what I have heard of Nnamdi, however, he would probably buy back all the 24s and have them sewn into tents for refugees or something.

  11. 11 Matt D said at 12:17 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @Floyd and ATG

    Yes. Good find. Done.


    I know K & P are totally not sexy positions. But I am worried about having rookies at both. You could argue that no other rookie will have as much direct influenced on points, field position, and strategy as these two. Maybe there’s just nothing to report (ie you can only test mettle so much in TC), but I would be grateful to read your thoughts on Henery and Henry. I mean, we’ve had stability with Akers for so long, I almost forget the days of uncertainty. Is there even precedence for rookies at both? How do rookies fare at K & P? How do these guys look? Can they find someone if they suck in preseason games?

  12. 12 Eric said at 12:40 AM on August 5th, 2011:


    Yeah, but when is that finalized? Ronnie isn’t going to be wearing 36 going forward.

    LeSean changed his last year but I don’t remember much ado about it. I definitely remember Reebok not letting Ochocinco change his name without paying though.

  13. 13 PA_eagle said at 12:47 AM on August 5th, 2011:


    This is what I wanted to post at the best blogger nomination site but, due to user error couldn’t do so. I still nominated you but, since I couldn’t get it done there, thought that I should post it here. Thanks for everything that you do.

    Tommy Lawlor’s blog provides the best Philadelphia Eagles related analysis of everything to do with Eagles football, bar none. Tommy provides objective, insightful and up to date news on all Eagles related topics.

  14. 14 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:13 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    RE: number changes

    There is some policy about guys changing numbers, but I don’t know the specifics. I do like the notion of Nnamdi going door to door getting the wrong jerseys back and then having them sewn into tents.

    Sounds like a great reality show idea.

  15. 15 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:21 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @ Eric…

    Danny should be fine at pulling. Solid athlete. Baylor ran plenty of WR screens. Those plays require the OT to get out and block in space.

    Max Jean-Gilles could pull effectively. If he can do it, Danny should be fine.

  16. 16 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:05 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @ PA Eagle …

    Really appreciate the comments.

    There’s no chance you’re secretly Megan Fox, right?

  17. 17 Davesbeard said at 4:55 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    .. in her new job as a PBR and Chocolate Pudding salesman

    That block of Jason Peters immediately stood out when I was watching Training Camp Live!. He was like a child with toy, absolutely dominated the DE. Think it may have been Teo!

  18. 18 austrianeagle said at 5:21 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    extra info to Collier:

    played from march to june in europe this year in an amateur league in austria (no not australia 😉 ) for the vienna vikings.
    played DT/DE: 5 games/14 Tackles/3 Sacks/ 1 FF/ 2 FR

  19. 19 PK said at 5:22 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Voted… Indeed Tommy – by far the most useful and interesting analysis on the Eagles. Beats Spadaros optimistic stating of well known facts any day…

  20. 20 GermanEagle said at 6:00 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    “Maybe the 3 CBs can work.”

    I’m not going out on a limb here, but I can guarantee you that our DNA will just be fine.

  21. 21 TyPhilly21 said at 8:09 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    @ Tommy.

    I had just been hearing some good things about him(Thornton). With Patterson out I was wondering if he was showing enough to compete for PT. I await with bated breath…

    I like DNA, but I’ve been going with No Fly Zone.

  22. 22 Eric said at 8:45 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Some number changers per Reuben
    Trevor Laws now wearing 91, Darryl Tapp wearing 55

    Is tapp our answer at MLB?!

  23. 23 Kevin (RC) said at 8:52 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    First-Team Offense: Vick, McCoy, Schmitt, Peters, Herremans, Kelce, Watkins, Tupou (RT), Celek, Avant + Cooper.

  24. 24 TyPhilly21 said at 8:56 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Tupou running w the ones. Guess we are in a rush to start the Vince Young Era…

  25. 25 Dan in Philly said at 9:02 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Watkins seems like the kind of guy who is very intellectual, meaning he really has to understand something to do it well. Some guys don’t need that, just tell them what to do and they’ll do it. Watkins seems like he needs to know where his place is in Mudd’s scheme. The disadvantage of this kind of thinking is it takes longer and you can really look lost out there. The advantage is once you fully grasp the system you almost have an extra coach on the field.

    I’m pretty excited about this man (I can’t bring myself to call him “kid”). I have high hopes he’ll be a captain of the team someday, and a real anchor for our OL for years.

  26. 26 justrelax said at 9:27 AM on August 5th, 2011:


    Mudd does zone blocking rather than a lot of complex pulling and folding. It’s nothing like what the Giants run, by way of comparison. They key is to get into the first guy in the zone you’re blocking and get him moving laterally. The double-teaming and block-and-release take getting used to but they may not run a trap all year. One of the good things about it is that, once the linemen get acclimated, you’ll get very few negative runs.

  27. 27 McG said at 9:56 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Sounds like #5 found a new home….

    “It’s truly unique,” McNabb said of his role in developing the Vikings’ offense. “As we know, some coaches can be stubborn. Some coaches say it’s my way or no way. You become robotic. That’s when you pull away from your style of play and the things that made you successful.

    And didn’t waste any time taking a shot at Shanny.

  28. 28 Kevin (RC) said at 10:02 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    I am THRILLED that the D is blitzing every down. Vick needs the reps.

    People say he can’t hold up 16 games. I disagree.
    1) Better blitz recognition = less hits
    2) Ronnie Brown = 2-5 more runs instead of passes

    Both things should make him more “spry” late int he season.

    Biggest thing is Celek learning how to delay and release quick into the flat.

  29. 29 brza said at 10:40 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Eagles Insider tweeted today that the Nickel D, for now, features Asante at LCB, Nnamdi at RCB and Hanson in slot. Are they seriously going to leave DRC on the bench in favor of Hanson?! Or are they just trying to make DRC work his way in? I was hoping they could keep all 3 CBs but that seems like a sign they don’t plan on it. I also thought with having DNA and Marsh, Lindley and Hughes showing promise in addition to being younger and much cheaper than Hanson that Joselio would be gone for sure. Hopefully I’m just overreacting to a premature and innacurate report. But since Eagles Insider is from the official website I guess I’m reading more into it.
    By the way, Eagles Insider also reported that in Dime they had Asante at LCB, DRC at RCB with Hanson and Asogmugha in the slots.

  30. 30 Max said at 11:05 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Voted Tommy….though I would hate to lose you and this site!!

  31. 31 Dan said at 11:23 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    Whoa…A picture!

  32. 32 Thunderlips said at 11:26 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    If anyone was wondering what the greatest thing Victor Abiamiri did as an Eagle was, here it is…

    From his twitter:
    “Injuries are my Achilles heel.”

  33. 33 TyPhilly21 said at 12:02 PM on August 5th, 2011:

    I have never and will never understand our obsession with Hanson.

  34. 34 ian no. 2 said at 12:35 PM on August 5th, 2011:

    Tupou is at RT to simulate Stacy Andrews.

  35. 35 Eric said at 1:01 PM on August 5th, 2011:



    Take with a grain of salt though since he’s pretty much exclusively a nickle corner.

  36. 36 Eric said at 1:58 PM on August 5th, 2011:


    From the limited video I’ve seen of TC, Kelce looks like he could at least be a very effective guard at some point in his career. He seems to get the better of at least the 2nd and 3rd string d-linemen.