Eagles are at an offensive line crossroads after a game of left guard roulette

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After second year lineman Isaac Seumalo suffered a rude awakening at the hands of Kansas City, Doug Pederson kept his cards close to his chest up until Sunday. Who would start at left guard? The Eagles Head Coach continued to keep things under wraps, but after Warmack was seen taking reps with the ones during practice, the Cat was out of the bag.

Sunday came and went and so did the Eagles offensive line production. Pederson did indeed ride with Chance Warmack…but not for long. The former Titan allowed an early sack on Carson Wentz in dangerous territory and his struggles continued. Pederson pulled the plug early and instead sent Stefen Wisniewski into the fray. You would think that a third player at the LG spot in as many weeks would see the end of moving pieces…but it only sparked more.

WIsniewski and Warmack would rotate in and out of the game throughout the afternoon and even though the position began to settle down, a left guard effort by committee simply isn’t sustainable.

“We wanted to give both of those guys an opportunity today, and it just so happened that [C/G Stefen] Wis [Wisniewski] ended up taking the bulk of the reps, but we had them both ready.” Pederson told reporters after the win on Sunday.”

Wisniewski signed an extension in the offseason after a prove-it deal with the Eagles one year ago served its purpose. Wis was originally competing for a long-term role however, one that was stripped from him during the offseason. However, the former Jags lineman continues to be a crucial cog in the offensive line.

Warmack meanwhile signed a contract extension before even playing a snap for the Eagles in a strange sequence of events. The few snaps he did play were underwhelming at best. For Pederson, the decision to rotate Wisniewski into the fray came down to performance.

“I think it was just based on performance at the time, and it’s kind of like receivers, we rotate them from time to time. Pederson said. “But in this position, it was just based on performance.”

If the Eagles are going to base who starts next week on performance, that begs a completely different question. The Eagles felt so confident in the ability of Isaac Seumalo that it led to trading away Allen Barbre. Seumalo has since shown that development is of the upmost priority, and if Warmack, his named backup is unable to perform as well…are the Eagles in hot water?

As things stand, Wisniewski is technically the backup to Jason Kelce, but he played at just about every interior spot on the Eagles front last year, showing his versatility. If the team do ride Wisniewski at LG, it sends a message that the team simply whiffed on trading Barbre for such minimal returns instead of retaining him to man the tower one more year, or more worryingly that the front office has been unable to find the right personnel to fill the void right away.

The long-term plan may be bright if Seumalo lives up to his potential but in terms of the next game or the game after that, there is a complete sense of confusion at the left guard position…or at least from the outside.

“Whether it was Isaac [Seumalo], Chance [Warmack], or [Stefen Wisniewski], we have confidence in any one of those guys to get the job done and get it done well.” Pederson said. ”I don’t know who played more today, because it’s something I don’t even notice as much as you’d think. They did a great job today. I think today the offensive line played great. Whether it was Chance or [Wisniewski] today, it seemed like they were doing good things no matter who was in.”

Who starts one week from now remains a complete mystery. Will it be Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack, Wisniewski, or even a combination of the three in a continued committee effort? For an offensive line that’s so prominently revered, this is a debate that should not be taking place three weeks into the regular season.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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