ALL the talk about Sam Bradford, and DeMarco Murray has Eagles fans giddy for the 2015 season. Because RB Murray is an undoubtedly talented player and QB Sam Bradford is a former #1 overall Draft pick, many fans look at these additions and feel like were gonna make some noise this year. At first glance it does looks like we upgraded at QB, and got a decent replacement for LeSean McCoy, but if you look a little deeper the are some big questions. The biggest question is how good can we really expect the Offense to be if the Offensive Line is only so-so?
Yes, I said Offensive Line. You remember them. Five guys who stand about yey high, and have some input on the success or failure of every single play the Eagles run all year long. Yeah those guys. Fact is, only a couple of them are really all that good right now.
We released long-time starter Todd Herremans this offseason, because it was time to. You can hardly fault the Eagles for that. We’re also (for some reason) in the process of trying to give away Pro Bowl G Evan Mathis. Considering that C Jason Kelce isn’t the most (ahem) “physical” blocker, it makes me wonder where Murray’s success running the ball inside will come from, as well as the protection for a delicate Bradford.
I have no issue with the idea of the Birds moving on from players. Just make sure you get a DECENT replacement at least! We made no such move this offseason and now we’re stuck with a handful of Guards who run the gamut from career back-up to undrafted project.
Offensive Line coach Jeff Stoutland is under the impression (read here) that career back-up/journeyman Allen Barbre is underrated, but will be the LG for the foreseeable future, and that Matt Tobin is the answer at RG.
That concerns me a bit, since Tobin played well enough last year to be demoted for Andrew Gardner. Gardner was so impressive that it took him 5 years to start a game. He started 2 then was put back on the bench until Tobin was demoted. After that Gardner would start 6 consecutive games, while finishing out the year at RG. He was so impressive that now he’s behind the guy he was promoted over. Exciting stuff.
Either that or there is no depth chart depending on which paragraph from the latest report out of Eagles camp you choose to believe. On the one hand Stoutland has all the confidence in the world about certain guys working with the Ones, then later he says things like this: “I feel good about the guard situation. We’ve got a lot of good players around here,” Stoutland said. “Right now it’s to find the right person, the right people, to play those positions. There’s no depth chart right now. Right now we’re trying to find the right mix, so every day it’s a different person in there, getting a look at him on film and just evaluating the critical factors as they are in there.”
Here’s the truth: Question marks at ANY position make that position a weakness and not a strength.
Here’s more truth: DeMarco Murray had the year he had last year behind what many say is the best O-Line in football.
Little more truth: This unit was ranked by at least one publication as the #2 in the NFL in 2014; but if you’re an Eagles fan you SAW how those games actually went, and how this unit performed in big moments or against good teams. And I’m gonna leave that right there.
So yeah, we added a few shiny new weapons, but if we can’t keep our pocket QB’s upright, what are the odds that Tim Tebow can make much use of those weapons? If you’re banking on the Eagles having a dominant line with 2/5 of it being less than true starting quality, then you’re probably thinking that Sam Bradford will play all 16 games too. Just some friendly advice if you do: You may want to put away your valuable or breakable possessions before the season starts.