Thursday, December 18, 2014

Concerned about Eagles' O-line turnover?

Time for another question with our friend Bill Barnwell over at Football Outsiders.

Concerned about Eagles' O-line turnover?

Time for another question with our friend Bill Barnwell over at Football Outsiders.

Earlier, Barnwell talked about the Eagles' pass-run ratio.

And previously, he discussed the Birds' short-yardage woes.

Today, ironically, we ask Barnwell about the turnover on the offensive line. At this afternoon's practice, Shawn Andrews was nowhere to be found after his back tightened up during a morning run.

Jason Peters, meanwhile, joined a few other players who spent the practice stretching after a quad spasm.

So the retooled offensive line is going to have to wait to get to know each other just a little bit longer.

Here's the Q&A with Barnwell:

Q: One of the main reasons, at least it appeared to me, that you project the Eagles to have less than 10 wins is the turnover on the offensive line. An optimist would argue that they are more talented and more athletic on the line. What is your take on why it could take them some time to learn to play together?

A: There are other reasons -- namely, we expect the rest of the division to get better than our projections did a year ago, and the team had the second-healthiest defense in football in 2008 (after four consecutive years where they were middle of the pack, so it's a fluke), but offensive line continuity is definitely a factor we saw as a negative for the Eagles.

Absolutely, I agree 100 percent that the line will be way more athletic, and it'll certainly have more talent. I can't say enough positive things about the moves the team made this offseason for the long-term. That being said, we've found that teams tend to see a decrease in offensive performance when they bring in new linemen. Athleticism's great, but if you're not used to hearing the line calls and false start, all you're doing with that athleticism is walking backwards five yards and trying to stop defenders with their ears pinned back. If Donovan McNabb audibles at the line, it will be -- for better or worse -- the first time in a decade he won't be audibling to the same guys. It's easy to imagine that there'll be some snafus before everyone grows comfortable.

Honestly, I think that the offensive line continuity is less of an issue here because of the quality of player the Eagles brought in, relative to the level of play that Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan were providing by the end of the season. But it will still matter.

***

So what do you think?

I'll be talking about the Eagles' offensive line turnover and all things Birds Friday morning on WIP's Morning Show at 7:30.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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