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Season preview: Offensive Line and TE’s

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles

Last season’s success does not exist without this group. They have one of the best tackle/guard combinations in Jason Peter/ Evan Mathis which allowed LeSean McCoy to lead the league in rushing. They have arguably the most underrated center (Kelce) in the NFL and one of top young tackles (Johnson) who’s future looks very bright. They enter the season with everyone returning which will bring chemistry and a communication that will allow them to pick up right where they left off. However, it is the second oldest line in the NFL and this off season the Eagles will need to look to add some young depth.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles

Jason Peters (LT)
Peters is on the back end of his decorated career as he enters his 11th season. After seeing his 2012 season taken away due to TWO devastating achilles tears he defied all odds and returned in 2013 to his pro bowl form. This speaks to what kind of player Jason is. If there is one talent to appreciate on this team it his Peters. The extraordinary talent that Peters displays doesn’t walk through the door often. Until he shows you otherwise expect nothing but pure greatness and for him to continue to anchor a line that will lead this dynamic offense.

Evan Mathis (LG)
I said last season that Mathis was position was the most valuable on this line. So much of the running game success depends on the left guard. He was a key component regardless if the run was to his side or the right side. He answered the call last season and was rewarded to his first Pro Bowl and All Pro teams. Even though he enters his 10th season he has 3 or 4 good years left.

Jason Kelce (C)
In just his 4th season Kelce continues to get better each year. If there was an offense suited for his undersized frame it is the spread. Hence why you saw his best season in his young bright career. Kelce is very intelligent and that is what you need from your center. His the quarterback of the line. He is one of the best young centers in the NFL and look for him to continue to rise and be in Philly for a long time.

Todd Herremans (RG)
This versatile tackle/guard saw a dip in production in 2013. I hoped to find a replacement for Herremans as he was the weakest link on this line. He struggled last season in both the run and pass game. He repeatedly got put of his butt against the bull rush and got beat on the speed rush. He constantly allowed penetration which hurt the run game at times especially in the first round of the playoffs. If the offense is to take a step forward Todd must pick it up this season. If he doesn’t expect this to be his last year wearing green.

Allen Barbre (RT)
Barbre finds himself starting the first 4 games for the suspended Lane Johnson. He is spent his first 6 years filling in on the left side. For anyone that thinks it is easy to switch to the right side of the line just try switching hands you write with. Everything changes from your technique to balancing. When he has filled in on the left side he stepped up but this is uncharted territory so let’s hope he holds it down for the first four games. If I were the opposing defense I would with out a doubt attack the right side of the line early and often.

Lane Johnson (RT)When Johnson return from his suspension, look for him to take a few games to get back in form. As most rookies do, he got better as the season went on. He has a bright future ahead of him if he can keep his head on his shoulders. The one thing he had to do this off season was get stronger and heavier to be more effective in the run game. I appreciate his willingness to help the team but next time follow the rules. Entering the second half of the season look for Johnson to be playing well as the last thing he wants to do his return from a suspension and hurt the team even more.

Brent Celek (TE)
There is not many players that you can count on to be there more than Celek. He has missed one game going into his 8th season with the Eagles. A coach once told me “your best ability is your availability”. He saw a decline in REC last season but that is due to an offense that spreads the ball around and the new addition of Zach Ertz. That doesn’t mean his value has decreased one bit. He will still be one of the better blocking TE’s in the NFL and can still get open in the passing game. I expect to see Celek continue to be very effective and another year in this offense don’t be surprised to see him play even better.

Zach Ertz (TE)
Zach showed glimpses of potential greatness last season. The combination of his smooth route running, size and speed allows him to get open against anyone. He came on strong towards the end of last season after the game slowed down for him and he got comfortable in the system. If there is something Ertz needed to improve on is his toughness and blocking. I expect him to pick up where he left off and emerge as one of the top TE in the NFL.

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