Things have not exactly gone to plan for the Philadelphia Eagles so far this season, and that applies perhaps most of all to their offensive line. To begin with, they lost their starting left tackle, second-year former first-round pick Andre Dillard, for the year before the season even started after suffering a torn biceps.
It has not gotten better from there. Former longtime starting left tackle Jason Peters was still on the roster, scheduled to play guard, but with the Dillard injury, he moved back to tackle. Peters, too, is now on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury.
On top of that, starting right tackle Lane Johnson suffered an ankle injury during the team’s first win of the season on Sunday, an injury that according to reports is expected to linger. While he may not miss next week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he will certainly not be 100 percent.
Johnson had to leave Sunday’s game a number of times, replaced by Jack Driscoll when he came to the sidelines, while Jordan Mailata started at left tackle. And this is after they already also lost starting guard Brandon Brooks on top of that.
Outside of Jason Kelce, the Eagles’ offensive line is not exactly full of household names that are healthy. Nate Herbig and Matt Pryor are the starting guards, and I would not blame you if you were not previously familiar with those names.
Carson Wentz has already taken 14 sacks this season, the third-most in the NFL behind Deshaun Watson and Joe Burrow. He has taken a lot of hits as well. And while their running game has been serviceable, it’s not exactly about to set any records.
The bottom line is that the Steelers’ duo of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, both of whom had a sack in their last game, have a chance to have a field day with their cross-state rivals. The Eagles, when healthy, have one of the best tackle pairings in the league, but not like this, and Pittsburgh’s pass-rushers could take advantage.
Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt will also have the decided edge against these guards, though Kelce of course should be expected to be able to hold his own. One thing this defense has done well and often so far this season has been to pressure the quarterback, however, so I wouldn’t expect that to change.
Especially against a wounded bird like the Eagles’ offensive line.