Herremans to RT; Mathis to LG

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Todd Herremans will move to right tackle. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Sensing what many have sensed -- that their right tackle situation was a mess -- the Eagles moved left guard Todd Herremans to right tackle to replace King Dunlap.

Dunlap was only a temporary starter with incumbant Winston Justice and the recently-acquired Ryan Harris injured, but the Herremans move appears to be a permanent one.

"As far as I know," it's permanent, Herremans said. "We'll see. Those decisions aren't for me to be made."

The move was made after the Eagles learned that Harris would need back surgery and Justice's return from knee surgery was further delayed. Andy Reid said Saturday that Justice "was not all the way back but he's close." The Eagles coach has been saying Justice was close for weeks now.

Justice had arthroscopic knee surgergy in February. Harris will have his back operated on Sunday, Reid said.

With Herremans now at right tackle, Evan Mathis was bumped up to first team left guard. Mathis was signed as a free agent in late July and fell under the radar as the Eagles added bigger names. He has 22 career starts -- 15 at right guard, seven at left guard -- and hasn't started since 2009.

"Ever since I got here, from day one I’ve been trying to show what I can do out there," said Mathis, an eight-year veteran.

Dunlap has played OK since taking over right tackle for Harris, but the Eagles obviously believed they needed an upgrade to protect quarterback Michael Vick's blindside.

"He runs around so much that he has blindsides everywhere," Herremans joked.

Herremans, who played tackle in college and started off at that position as a rookie with the Eagles, has five career starts at left tackle. He said he took a snap at right tackle two seasons ago. He later tweeted, "Ask and you shall receive ..." after he confirmed the move.

"I was a tackle before I was a guard," Herremans said. "It's going to feel comfortable eventually. I've just got to get in there and get reps. I guess you just see a different type of rusher. You're not blocking 350-pound guys anymore. You're going to see a little bit faster guys. It's not like speed I haven't seen before. I'm excited."

As much as right tackle has been in flux, the center of the line had a number of struggles in Thursday night's preseason game against the Browns. Rookies Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce had their hands full early in the game as Vick took a beating. Despite that, Kelce is still starting at center ahead of veteran Jamaal Jackson and Watkins is still at right guard.

"You can call it a competition if you want," Jackson said. "I don't. That's pretty much it. If he needs help I'll help him. Competition -- nah, there's no competition."

Asked to clarify his comment, Jackson said, "Just what I said -- there's no competition. Whoever's in there they're the starter. Point blank."

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