Despite being named to his third Pro Bowl last season, I wasn’t overly impressed with Jason Peters‘ play at times. Some of his inconsistencies can be attributed to a nagging ankle injury and acclimating to a new system and coaching method, but that doesn’t explain why he didn’t quite live up to the hype after the Eagles traded to acquire his services from the Bills.
Don’t get me wrong, the dude wasn’t awful by any stretch. I just didn’t see him destroying linebackers and safeties in the run game or stonewalling elite pass rushers as much as I hoped. To me, he earned the Pro Bowl nod based on his previous reputation. I remember watching Tra Thomas during his Pro Bowl seasons, so I know what a dominant left tackle looks like. That wasn’t Peters in ’09.
I’m expecting a different Jason Peters to emerge from Lehigh this summer. A guy in great shape and more attuned to what Juan Castillo and Andy Reid want from him. Kevin Kolb is a much better athlete than people give him credit for, but he’s no McNabb in the scrambling and elusiveness departments. Peters might not be afforded the luxury of his quarterback buying extra time when he allows a defensive end to blow past him.
Peters has to play smart and disciplined, but he also has to be a mauler. I want to see some attitude, some nastiness. I realize he’s the quiet type, so I’m not anticipating Jon Runyan incarnate. That being said, he needs to establish himself as a force on the offensive line, and with Jamaal Jackson in limbo, maybe assume a leadership role as well.
I think Peters can become the best left tackle in the game. His talent is not in question. What remains to be seen is whether or not he has the drive necessary to raise his level of play a notch or two more. The NFC East is not for the faint of heart. If Peters isn’t prepared, he’ll become a marked man in Philly.