The Eagles Offensive Line has been one of the team’s most scrutinized units in recent years..and with good reason. Doug Pederson focused heavily on upgrading the unit during the offseason in the hope that along with improvement in every aspect of O-line duties, it would overcome one of it’s most fundamental problems, penalties.
In 2016 however..that’s been far from the case. While it’s easy to look at the Redskins loss and place blame on the shoulders of fifth round pick Halapoulivati Vaitai, there’s a lot more to the O-line struggles than letting up sacks and QB hits.
Out of the 15 most penalized players per game in the NFL last year, two of them were Eagles Offensive linemen. Lane Johnson ranked 7th in total penalties while Jason Peters ranked 15th.
Lane Johnson is now facing a ten game suspension, but through the opening five weeks..the Offensive line has still struggled with discipline.
And here's a look at exactly what penalties the Eagles have been called for: pic.twitter.com/ZExnoWaTsf
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) October 17, 2016
Eleven Offensive holding penalties is simply a staggering statistic..but the Eagles average over five Offensive penalties per game, which is even more concerning.
Surprise surprise, the two most penalized players on the Eagles team so far are Jason Kelce and Jason Peters, with the duo combining for eleven total penalties for 36 yards, stalling five Drives.
Last season, Jason Peters picked up 4 less penalties than the more heavily penalized Lane Johnson, but he only played in 65% of Offensive snaps due to injury. Johnson on the other hand, played in every single Offensive snap last year..a difference of 410 snaps. So for Peters to rank inside the top 15 most penalized players in the NFl despite playing 410 less snaps than Johnson who ranked 2nd..is slightly concerning. The veteran has five penalties in just as many games this season..painting an even darker picture.
What about Jason Kelce? Well, a high number of penalties is hardly new to him either. Last season he picked up more penalties than any other center in the league, totaling 7 and averaging 0.44 per game. Kelce already has 6 penalties this season..and the team have only played five games.
Of the 104 total penalties the Eagles were handed last year, 55 of them were Offensive penalties..and of those 55, 34 were down to a problem on the Offensive Line. Those 34 penalties lost the Eagles 258 Offensive yards in 2015.
This isn’t a new problem for the Eagles Offensive line..in fact, it’s been an issue that has only grown in importance and cost over the last few seasons.
That trend is showing no sign of slowing down in 2016, with the effects proving to be far more detrimental. The Offensive line simply has to find discipline if it is to sustain any kind of success..be that individual drives or the bigger picture.
The Eagles simply have to become more disciplined, especially on the Offensive line. If they don’t, momentum will begin to stagnate and the Offense will be chained down by the weight that each penalty carries..something that has become extremely apparent in the last two weeks.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports