We continue today to take a closer look at some of the questions facing the Eagles as their Week 1 matchup against the Carolina Panthers inches nearer.
Yesterday we wondered how the wide receiver situation would play out between Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett and Brandon Gibson. Most of you on the comments felt Brown should be the odd man out. The Daily News' Bob Cooney took a more in-depth look at the situation in today's paper.
Today we move to right tackle. Here are the Eagles' options:
Shawn Andrews - Entering training camp, it looked like it would be his job. But, as you know, Andrews' back tightened up during the run on the first day of full-squad workouts and he hasn't participated since. Yesterday Andrews talked to reporters and sounded optimistic about returning for Week 1, saying he's feeling good and doing everything he can to get back on the field. But Andrews has not played tackle in the NFL and has not had a chance to get in sync with the other members of the Eagles' line. There's no question that he has the talent, but will Andrews be healed and reliable once the real games start?
Stacy Andrews - When the Eagles signed him from the Bengals, most assumed he'd play his normal position, right tackle. Andrews started the first 15 games of the 2008 season there after Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on him. But he's dealt with injuries all preseason, and at Lehigh, most, if not all, of his reps came at guard. The Eagles have capable backups at guard in Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole, but would they feel comfortable thrusting Andrews in at right tackle? And what would happen if he played great and then Shawn was ready to come back?
Todd Herremans - As I mentioned above, the Eagles have capable backups at guard, and Herremans has experience playing tackle. He was healthy for most of the time at Lehigh and got some reps at tackle with the starters sidelined. But he will likely go into the season without playing a single snap in a preseason game after being diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left foot.
Winston Justice - Of all the guys on this list, Justice is the one who's been healthy for all of camp. He has been the guy at right tackle, both in practices and during games. Justice told me at camp he took a different approach this offseason and stayed in the area, working with Juan Castillo to get better and move his career in the right direction. We all know about the Osi Umenyiora game, but Justice deserved a fresh start this season. I tried to watch him closely during the first two preseason games and haven't seen enough to convince me he can be this team's starting right tackle. But if Shawn Andrews can't go Week 1, and the coaching staff has seen enough improvement from Justice, he will get the nod.
Jon Runyan - He's the guy who gets the most mentions in the comments section. Eagles fans are a loyal bunch, especially to a guy who was so good here for so many years. And maybe more importantly, a guy who never missed a game. But Runyan is rehabbing from major knee surgery and has not engaged in football activities. He was only recently cleared to run. The Inquirer reports that the Eagles are not believed to be interested in his services. But should they be?
Update: The fellas over at Eagletarian have a fresh udpate on Runyan's rehab.
So those are your options. What do you think? Which is the most likely? Which is the least likely? And which is preferrable?