Winning in the trenches is where it all starts for the Philadelphia Eagles.
To the surprise of many, Nate Herbig has had a solid first-half of the season. There’s been some ups and downs but overall, Philly couldn’t have asked for much more from the undrafted, second-year player. In 569 snaps, he’s allowed just two sacks and committed only three penalties. Linebackers and defensive lineman have been moved out of his way to create lanes for the Eagles running backs. Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland has done an impressive job working with Herbig. Keep in mind, Herbig logged just three offensive snaps and nine special teams snaps in 2019.
Without Isaac Suemalo and Brandon Brooks, most fans had no idea what the answer would be at guard. Philly has tried Matt Pryor, Sua Opeta, and sadly Jamon Brown. Pryor is the best option out of those three but he hasn’t played well. At the other guard spot, Herbig has been a lock playing 100 percent of the offensive snaps this year. It’s also worth noting that Herbig has had to play both the right and left guard displaying his versatility. If it wasn’t for him, this offensive guard situation would be a lot uglier. Whether or not he can be consistent down the stretch will have a big impact on the offense.
Despite never living up to his second-round label, Vinny Curry has become a good rotational defensive lineman. When he’s on the field, he gets pressure on the quarterback and gives guys like Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett a breather. After returning from an injury, he recovered a fumble in Week 7 and then had a sack in Week 8.
In last year’s version of this article, Josh Sweat was one of our under-the-radar Eagles but it’s safe to say he’s more than a role player. Vinny also played a key role in the second half of 2019 as well. For the whole season, he finished with 18 pressures, 12 quarterback hits, and five sacks while also disrupting running lanes. In the last five games of the year, he racked up four sacks and five quarterback hits. One of those sacks came with just 1:54 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Week 16 game versus the Dallas Cowboys. Talk about being clutch. If Vinny can continue to make an impact in his limited snaps, it’ll help this defensive line a ton.