Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — It’s easy to look elsewhere. To LeSean McCoy and his gaudy Eagles’ record-breaking 1,607 yards rushing. Or to Nick Foles’ 27 touchdown passes—against two interceptions. Or the innovative way Chip Kelly designs an offense.
It’s easy to look at all of those factors for the Eagles’ 10-6 NFC East Division-leading finish 2013. But the fact is, the Eagles’ 2013 success, and continued success rests firmly with the offensive line.
The Eagles’ o-line was intact the whole year—with left tackle Jason Peters and left guard Evan Mathis enjoying All-Pro seasons, and center Jason Kelce certainly in the mix for an All-Pro season this year and many more to come. The right side of guard Todd Herremans and left tackle Lane Johnson took some time to come together, since Johnson was a rookie, but when it did, the Eagles garnered great results.
That’s is and will be the basis of success for this year. Already, a major adjustment it appears will need to be made with Johnson, who reports say will be suspended the first four games for allegedly violating the league’s PED policy. If that’s true, the Eagles appear to have a very capable back-up in Allen Barbre.
Barbre filled in well when Peters was injured against Green Bay, playing 52 snaps. He has great feet, can get down field and is as good if not a better pass blocker than Johnson. His issues may come with run blocking, and setting up an anchor position to shove defenders away.
But Barbre and Dennis Kelly’s ascension give the Eagles great depth. The Eagles are deep, athletic, and versatile on the offensive front. Age may be a concern, with Mathis, Peters and Herremans all over 31. But it appears that the trio is entering their prime. And if Peters, Kelce and Mathis continue to play this season at the same high level that they played last year, there is a strong chance that they’ll have three All-Pros up front—and more great production from McCoy and Foles.
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