BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Eagles aren't wasting any time.
After one preseason game Andy Reid made his first significant move, dropping Demetress Bell and promoting King Dunlap to the first team at left tackle.
Dunlap took first-team repetitions during this morning's walkthrough and will start on the offensive line during this afternoon's practice.
Dunlap "came back here under the assumption that he’d have the opportunity to compete," Reids said. "He’s done well, and he’ll get an opportunity. There’s not a lot of separation between those guys right at this minute, so king deserves that opportunity."
Bell struggled in Thursday night's preseason game against the Steelers, although he played only six snaps. He said that he wasn't told about the switch and added that he felt his short stint wasn't enough to warrant a demotion.
The Eagles signed Bell to a five-year contract in April after Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon. The first year of the deal is the only one guaranteed in terms of salary, however. Dunlap, also a free agent, was brought back a week before Bell was signed and before the Eagles announced Peters' injury.
Even though Bell was plugged right in as the starter at the beginning of the spring, Reid was always sure to mention that Dunlap would compete for the spot.
The 6-foot-9, 330-pound Dunlap has seven starts in his career -- three at left tackle, three at right tackle and one at left guard. He said left tackle is his position of choice because it's the position he's most played and because he's left-handed.
“I guess they’re trying to get a feel for who’s going to be the best fit for the 0-line," Dunlap said.
The Eagles may just be trying to light a fire under Bell.