With the 2014-15 season at our doorstep, there are certain players that will be keys in the Philadelphia Eagles repeating as NFC East champions and become Super Bowl Contenders. Obviously, running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles will be important in the success of the team. But who are the unsung players that could determine the fate of the Philadelphia Eagles this upcoming season.
Allen Barbre (Offensive Lineman)
Barbre’s impact will be felt immediately because of offensive tackle Lane Johnson’s four game suspension for a positive PED test. Johnson did not have a spectacular season in his rookie campaign, but did start every game and show development throughout the season. His pass blocking was below-average at best, but was a good athlete to attack in the running game.
Though Barbre did contribute in 2013, but has been a journeyman throughout his career. There is uncertainty towards his ability to adjust to a new expanded role. Even when Johnson returns, he will be the first lineman off the bench to fill in case of an injury. Being the key backup to up to four line positions makes him a vital piece to the Philadelphia Eagles offense.
The coaching staff cannot expect the same continuity they found in head coach Chip Kelly’s first season; where the starting lineman remained relatively healthy all year. With the uptempo pace of the offense, it is vital to have depth along the line that can step in without slowing down the flow. Barbre will have big shoes to fill in no matter where he plays, with three pro bowlers, two All Pros and a first round pick across the starting unit.
Bennie Logan (Defensive Tackle)
The second year pro will have every opportunity to hold down the crucial nose tackle position in Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ scheme. After starting the final eight games of 2013, the defense will be dependent on Logan solidifying the point of attack. He will be expected to increase his tackle statistics (20 total), but his biggest impact will be taking attention from the other playmakers.
Adding some weight should help him hold his base and free up the linebackers to make plays. The Philadelphia Eagles did finish tenth overall in rushing yards per game last season and hope to only to grow with the development of their young front seven core. Players like linebacker Mychael Kendricks and defensive end Fletcher Cox will make a major impact if Logan can take his game to the next level by swallowing up the middle of the offensive line.
Logan will be an important part of the defense returning to respectability, by controlling the line of scrimmage. If he can take on double teams, freeing up players on the outside, the pass rush should also improve in 2014. Attention will be taken away from the edge rushers, to the middle of the field, clearing space for one-on-one matchups on the outside.