As much as we love to throw a lot of the blame on Donovan McNabb, the Eagles offensive line deserves to see a good portion of the blame as well. It’s no secret they played absolutely horrible the final two games of the season but there were a lot of inconsistencies throughout the entire course of the season. With all the debate of who will be quarterback next year, only one thing is certain. It’s not going to matter who’s back there if the offensive line can’t perform.
If you look at the players on the roster, you would think the line would be pretty solid. However, we could see early last offseason that there were going to be some problems. Injuries, head cases, poor play, you name it, were all there last year and it was hard for the line to find any rhythm. The Eagles couldn’t get the line they wanted together during the preseason games and there were no opportunities for any of the “gel” time we always hear about. All of this seemingly led to the two-week implosion that occurred in Dallas in the beginning of January. The question is why?
How excited were you when the Eagles made the Jason Peters deal? We lost Tra Thomas but it looked like we weren’t going to miss a step with the addition of Peters. All seemed great, but when he actually arrived in Philly, a lot of that excitement diminished. He reminded me of Jevon Kearse in the sense that he was loaded with talent but seemed to be very fragile. Injuries seemed to be non-stop with him, not necessarily ones which would cause him to miss games but ones that seemed to always keep him from being 100%. He committed a lot of dumb penalties at the end of the season and looked like DeMarcus Ware’s play toy. Although he earned a Pro Bowl spot (how?), he definitely had a down year. I definitely think he can bounce back but he needs to really work this offseason.
The Andrews brothers. Pretty much pisses you off immediately just hearing it doesn’t it? Remember the glory days with Shawn before the depression issues set in? He’s a monster and could be absolutely dominate on this team. However, it doesn’t look like he’ll ever be. Nobody knows if he’ll ever play football again because maybe he just doesn’t want to. The Eagles have a situation on their hands with him and will be interesting to see how they address it. Then there’s big brother Stacy. Many people thought a big reason he was brought in was to try to straighten out his little brother. Well that backfired. Shawn missed the season and Stacy made about zero contribution due to injury. Who knows what happens with these two.
We saw the emergence of Winston Justice this year and that was a very pleasant surprise. Before this season, the only thing he was known for was his “revolving door” performance against the Giants. He earned himself a contract this season and rightfully so. Will he ever be an All-Pro stud right tackle? Maybe not, but I think he’s the kind of guy that can anchor the right side for years to come.
So then there’s the middle. You had Jamaal Jackson doing a great job until he went down against Denver and was lost for the season. Then you have guys like Nick Cole, Todd Herremans, and Max Jean-Gilles. Herremans was injured late in the season but came on to play strong. Cole and Jean-Gilles were great guys to have around this season due to all the injuries and their ability to fill in. However, Cole and Jean-Gilles will be free agents this year (the type depends on what happens with the CBA) and decisions will have to be made. I think Cole has the advantage there due to his ability to step in and play center.
So the Eagles have some decisions to make here. How can they fix this offensive line? What will they do with who they have and how will they address the other needs they have? Draft? Free agency?