Thursday, November 8, 2012
Eagles' offensive line is completely toast
By Dan Graziano
The Philadelphia Eagles made it official Wednesday, putting right tackle Todd Herremans on season-ending injured reserve with the ankle injury he suffered in Monday night's loss to the Saints in New Orleans. That means the Eagles right now are without four of the five players they planned to use this year as starting offensive linemen. All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters tore his Achilles tendon twice in the offseason and is unlikely to play this year. Center Jason Kelce tore knee ligaments in Week 2 and is out for the season. Right guard Danny Watkins has missed the past two games and remains out with an ankle injury. And now Herremans is down for the season.
Left guard Evan Mathis is looking around wondering where everybody went.
In all seriousness, this is the kind of thing that really starts to convince you there's no chance for the Eagles to turn this season around. You can talk all you want about how Michael Vick needs to play better or they need to run the ball more with LeSean McCoy, but there's simply no way for an offense to work if the offensive line isn't right. And there's simply no way for any NFL team to lose four starting offensive linemen and not struggle offensively.
Part of the problem is that Demetress Bell, the talented but disappointing tackle they signed right after Peters got hurt, has been a total flop. But even if Bell had locked down left tackle, the entire right side of the line from center over would be on the shelf right now. King Dunlap, Dallas Reynolds and Dennis Kelly haven't been awful in and of themselves as replacements, but a line needs to play together in order to be effective, and if you watched the Eagles on Monday night you saw a line that can't handle its joint assignments in pass protection or really in the run game.
This was supposed to have been a strength for the Eagles this year, but it's now fallen completely apart to an extent they could not have possibly imagined. And it's the single greatest impediment to the miracle comeback they'll need to make in the second half of the season to save Andy Reid's job as head coach.