Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland finally explains his decisions to start Isaac Seumalo for the past two weeks.
A lot of strange things have happened with the Philadelphia Eagles to start the 2018 season. We all see how much the injuries have affected that team. But what we didn’t get, what the decision of benching left guard Stefen Wisniewski for Isaac Seumalo. And finally, after waiting a few weeks, we have an answer from offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
Let’s rewind a bit. Before week five, the Eagles were set to take on the Minnesota Vikings. It was no secret that the entire offense was struggling, especially the front line. While everybody not named Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks were visibly struggling, Stefen Wisniewski ended up being the guy that lost his starting job.
Was ‘Wiz’ playing poorly? Maybe. But why weren’t there any changes elsewhere? Jason Peters cannot stay healthy for four quarters. And Lane Johnson is dealing with problems of his own with his ankle. Wiz wasn’t playing any worse than they were, so why did he end up taking the fall?
Wisniewski was confused like the rest of us. The left guard let out his frustration via Twitter last week, explaining on that there might’ve been theories behind his benching.
While it was a bad look from a locker room chemistry standpoint, it did make us pretty curious as well. Finally, Jeff Stoutland touched on the subject this week and explained his reasoning. Here’s his exact quote, courtesy of Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philly.
"“Theories? I don’t know. I just know this: I have an obligation here to Mr. (Jeff) Lurie and to the organization to make sure we have the best five players on the field. That’s my job. And I tell every player that coming in. This kind of thing happened last year, when [Wisniewski] ended up becoming the starting left guard. As we go and as players develop and as players improve and get better, if they’re sitting there and I know in my heart that that’s one of the best five players, then he needs to be on the field.”"
It looks like the tables have officially turned this year, and Wiz found himself on the shorter end of the deal. While Seumalo has looked a bit improved, that still doesn’t patch up the rest of the offensive line’s issues. With Peters planning to play injured, he’s far from a trustworthy player at this point in his career.
Also, Johnson continues to deal with the nagging ankle injury that almost kept him out of last Thursday’s game. There’s still a ton of issues for Carson Wentz’s protection, but at least we have some clarification as to why Wiz was benched for Seumalo.
Hopefully, Stoutland’s gut feeling is correct, and Seumalo is one of the most improved players on the offense because he has a ton to prove after his rocky start last year.