Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich fielded several questions about struggling second-year left guard Isaac Seumalo, when Reich met with reporters Tuesday. The upshot of his responses was that it’s too early to think about replacing Seumalo, a player the coaches feel is a big part of the team’s future.
“One thing every player knows and every coach knows: You line up in that environment, against really good players on the other side of the ball, and you’re going to get beat every now and then, at every position,” Reich said in the wake of a 27-20 loss at Kansas City, in which the Eagles gave up six sacks. Seumalo seemed to figure in four of them. “When you see an individual get beat once or twice in a game, you don’t like it, but it happens to literally everybody who suits up and goes out there and plays. Now, if that happens over five, six, seven games, then it becomes a problem and you evaluate it. When it happens in one game, you say ‘OK. We take note of it. But we have a lot of confidence, we’ve been working hard, we believe in our guys.’ Whether it’s Isaac or whether it’s another guy, it happens in this league. We fight to get better. And then you evaluate over the long haul. “
Reich resisted pointing the finger Seumalo as the main blocking problem.
“We talk about pass protection as an offensive unit. It involves all of us – the quarterback, [interior] offensive line, tight end and tackles,” he said. “So when you go in a game and you have six sacks, internally, we’re not looking to point the finger, we’re looking at, each one of us as coaches, ‘Did we help ‘em enough? Did we put ‘em in the right protection scheme?’ Each player is looking at his own deal. So, although that gets evaluated on an individual basis, in the position rooms, I can tell you, usually when you have six sacks, it’s not one guy, it’s not just the offensive line, it’s spread around.”
Seumalo, a third-round pick in 2016, the first player the Eagles drafted after Carson Wentz, was declared the starting left guard going into training camp. The Eagles traded veteran starter Allen Barbre to Denver as camp opened.
“Isaac had showed a lot of progress in a lot of ways. Isaac is a versatile, smart player, who we’re very high on. He had earned the right to kind of get put in that position, and we’re just proceeding with that,” Reich said, when asked why Seumalo didn’t have to compete for the job.
Reich also was asked about the Eagles’ extraordinary pass-run imbalance, which seemed to allow the Chiefs to come after Wentz with abandon.
“I think it was just the way the game played out … We schemed some things up in the pass game and hit a few things early on a few chunk plays that we felt good about,” Reich said.
He said the final figure of 56 called passes and 13 called runs was skewed by the way the Eagles had to go completely to the pass after falling behind by 14 points in the final quarter.
“As a playcaller, you’re calling what you think is going to get the team down the field,” he said.
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