Jason Cole over at Yahoo Sports continues to roll out his offseason positional rankings.
Cole's last set of rankings had the Eagles' running back situation as the worst in the NFC.
This week, he does the offensive line, and the Birds come in at No. 18:
No team has made more high-profile moves in recent years to upgrade its line with such little in the way of results than Philly. From Jason Peters to the Andrews Brothers (Shawn and Stacy), the Eagles have searched and searched for some working group after the demise of the line led for years by tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. For all the effort, the Eagles ranked No. 20 in pass protection last season. Some people may blame that on Donovan McNabb. Don’t be fooled. The real culprit is a combination of a bad line and a running game that no one in the NFL respects, even if the stats show that the Eagles were good at run blocking. Those stats are more a reflection of how little opponents worry about the Eagles running.
I'm not as down on Peters as some others. I know one of yo bring up that Andy Reid called him the best tackle in the league when the Eagles acquired Peters from the Bills, and no one would argue he lived up to that billing. But he did put together stretches where he played at a very high level. Leading the team with 11 penalties? Yeah, that part wasn't so good. But I'm cautiously optimistic about Peters' chances to put everything together in 2010.
As for the rankings, it's tough for me to say whether this is too high or low, not having looked at the other lines closely on a weekly basis. But when I opened the link, my guess was the Eagles would be in the middle of the pack.
RUN THE BALL, ANDY!
That's the rallying cry we hear every season. If you're a frequent MTC reader, you know I'm not part of that camp. I think people are too quick to blame the lack of balance every time something goes wrong with the Birds.
But Clifton Brown of The Sporting News thinks the Eagles have to run the ball more effectively this season in particular to help out Kevin Kolb.
The good news is the Eagles have been a perennial winner under Reid. The bad news is the Eagles' running game has often struggled in three key areas: Short-yardage situations, the red zone and chewing clock while attempting to protect fourth-quarter leads. The lack of a consistent running game also hurt the Eagles against quality opponents last season. In three losses to the Cowboys, the Eagles were badly outrushed (453 yards to 181 yards) and dominated in time of possession.
I think we will see no significant difference in run/pass percentage. Will there be changes in the offense? Sure. But a stronger commitment to the run game will not be one of them.