The OL had it’s ups and downs through out the course of the 2016 season. Through the pre-season the one position group we thought couldn’t suffer a major injury was the OL. The depth simply wasn’t there. Although it wasn’t an injury that started the musical chairs but Lane Johnson’s foolishness.
OFFENSIVE LINE – JEFF STOUTLAND
The Eagles were 3-0 and 1 sloppy fumble away from being 4-0. Starting Week 6 Lane Johnson would be banned from the organization for at least 10 weeks. The Eagles really began to struggle getting dominated by the Redskins in the trenches on both sides of the ball. A trend that would continue for a good portion of the remaining games. Once Lane went out the Eagles lost all their momentum. It’s no coincidence Carson Wentz began to struggle during this stretch.
Big V filled in and to be honest played rather well after a struggling start. The rock of the unit was Jason Peters. What more can you say about JP? A first ballot Hall of Famer and the glue of the 2016 unit. He demanded excellence and was no doubt a leader. Many thought going into this year, 2016 would be his last season. I thought injuries would catch up with him and he might be the biggest question mark on the line from a durability stand point. Far from a durability question mark as he started and played in all 16 games. He was not only the leader of the OL but a leader of the team. Hopefully he returns for another campaign. I see no reason why he won’t.
Brandon Brooks was just ok during this first year in Philadelphia. I expected a little more based on the amount of money he received last off season. He missed 2 games because of an anxiety disorder. A disorder the team didn’t really know anything about. He will definitely be back for the 2018 campaign and hopefully be paired next to Lane Johnson for a full season. When Lane Johnson was in the lineup there’s no doubt Brooks was at his best.
There’s a good chance Jason Kelce played his last game in Philadelphia on New Years day vs Dallas. The veteran is just too undersized for what the Eagles want to with their running game. He was one of the most penalized centers in the league this past season. He was recently name as a pro bowl replacement (I have no idea why). The only way I can see Kelce staying is at a reduced cap number. Right now it’s cheaper to cut him than keep him. For a player who is declining the writing is on the wall.
We talked about Isaac Semualo in our Rookie Focus blog at length. If Kelce leaves he could slide right over to that spot. Barbre will most likely not be back. Look for the Eagles replace him via the draft or with a 2nd or 3rd tier free agent. In order for the Eagles to take the next step they need to have increased continuity along the OL. This off season is a big step for the OL.
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