Philadelphia Eagles are turning a need into a strength


The Philadelphia Eagles have potentially turned a weak offensive line into one of the strengths of the team.

Last season, the  Philadelphia Eagles didn’t look their best on offense. Injuries plagued the offensive line and that completely shut down the run game.

Here’s a breakdown of the statistics from last season. The left side shows Eagles stats, and the right side it is an average from every NFL team in 2015.

Total First Downs339365
1st Downs (Rush-Pass-By Penalty)110 – 193 – 36100 – 239 – 26
3rd Down Conversions91/23099/231
4th Down Conversions8/166/9
Total Offensive Yds58306426
Offense (Plays-Avg Yds)1102 – 5.31148 – 5.6
Total Rushing Yds17432153
Rushing (Plays-Avg Yards)442 – 3.9478 – 4.5
Total Passing Yds40874273
Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Avg)405 – 623 – 18 – 7.0394 – 633 – 15 – 7.1
Field Goals21/2627/27
(Rush-Pass-Ret-Def)15 – 23 – 2 – 510 – 36 – 0 – 4
Time of Possession26:0534:09
Turnover Ratio-5

As you can see, the Eagles had a bad year. For example, the rushing yard totals were a lot less than those of the rest of the league. Some of that was due to the scheme, but a lot of that was due to the offensive line and the its durability. In the Chip Kelly Era, the Eagles finished 1st in rushing in 2013, 9th in 2014, and 14th in 2015, due to the declining offensive line with no dependable depth. When Howie Roseman took over control this offseason, he knew this was something that needed to be addressed.

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Firstly, he secured the duty of tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson received a 6-year contract worth up to $63 million, with about $38.5 million guaranteed. Johnson is durable. He is not the best tackle in the world, but he is solid. With giving him that contract, unless he is freakishly injured or for some reason retires, he is the tackle for the next six years.

The second phase of this rebuilding has to begin with free agency. In free agency the Eagles signed Brandon Brooks. Brooks is already a Philly fan favorite since immersing himself in Philly culture. Brooks was signed to a 5-year deal for $40 million on March 9. Barring divine intervention, Brooks will likely be the starting right guard for the 2016 season. When asked about Brooks, Head Coach Doug Pederson had nothing but praise. Pederson was quoted saying he makes the team better, and putting him at right guard solidifies the line and communications with Lane should be good.

The Eagles also added Stefan Wisniewski; another quality signing for a number of reasons. Firstly, he can compete for a starting job, potentially at left guard. And worse comes to worse, he adds some valuable depth to this offensive line at guard and center. He was only signed to a one-year deal, so it is expected of him to be more of a depth type player.

The third phase deals with the NFL draft and who the Eagles drafted. The two key players the Eagles drafted are Issac Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Seumalo is a very intriguing prospect partly due to the fact that he can play every position on the offensive line. The Eagles drafted him as a center/guard, and can expect him to compete for the starting left guard spot on day one. Vaitai, on the other hand, may not be landing a role. He is a player added for depth purposes. With his size and athleticism, he has the potential to become an anchor on an offensive line, but nothing is guaranteed. Overall, however, it was wise to add some depth to the line.

So, where does that lead the Eagles? Expectations are that Peters and Johnson are the starting tackles. Jason Kelce will be the starting center. Brandon Brooks will be the starting right guard for the Eagles. The left guard is an open competition. Seumalo, Wisniewski, Allen Barbe and Matt Tobin can all go for this position. But after the left guard is taken, it leaves all three of those players plus Vaitai, Kelly as depth. That is five solid options on the bench who can come in and play at a high level. The Eagles have a very promising offensive line situation going into the new season. The Eagles certainly took a need and made it a strength this offseason.