The Eagles are going through growing pains this season, but no position group is hurting more than the offensive line. Carson Wentz has been sacked 5+ times in back to back weeks. The last time that happened to an Eagles quarterback was over 15 years ago. He’s also on pace to be sacked the 4th most of any NFL QB. Ever. But are there reasons for hope as we rapidly approach the midway point?
Before the season, the idea was to have first-round pick, Andre Dillard, at the left tackle spot but that plan died quickly due to an injury.
Brandon Brooks suffered a big Achilles injury that should keep him out this year but if you’re following him on social media then you know there’s a chance he returns this season.
Next in came Jason Peters and his attempt at a sneaky payday. He fell to injury quicker than most expected but hey, that’s what happens when you’re 38 years old and are in self-denial.
The Eagles then lost Lane Johnson due to an ankle injury that will sideline him until Dallas probably. Isaac Seumalo always became a victim of the injury bug as he is also out until further notice.
The Eagles are going to have a short week as they play the Giants on Thursday night, but this may just be the game they need to get right. Carson Wentz is getting back to playing his brand of football while buying the offensive line some time to find theirs and it all may start with Jordan Mailata.
To wish upon an Eagles star
The former Rugby star may be on the cusp of an extraordinary career as he’s taken his bull skills for rugby and applied them to football. In case you missed it, there are clips of him throwing Calais Campbell to the ground and even tossing a Ravens cornerback after they recovered the Wentz fumble. This is bully football at its finest and the grunt that followed it was phenomenal.
Mailata is slowly turning into a really fun player to watch at the LT position. He needs some fine-tuning on his mechanics but he has the heart and mentality that is needed in Carson’s blindside for the remainder of the year. He’s gone up against two elite defenses in back to back weeks and has held his own. In three starts this season, Mailata has allowed 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 9 total pressures.
Mailata’s not the only Eagles OL shining
Mailata isn’t the only one coming into his own. Nate Herbig, who’s been criticized for his lack of athletic ability, didn’t allow a single pressure against the stout defensive line of the Baltimore Ravens. That’s huge. That means the left side of the o-line is good enough for the time being and can only get better from here on.
Any reasons for concern?
While Mailata and Herbig are holding up the left side, the right side is still a cause for concern. Jamon Brown started at right guard for the team on Sunday and allowed 2 sacks, 4 QB hits, 9 total pressures. That’s all in one start. At times throughout the game, it seemed as if Jamon Brown just didn’t know what to do. It’s no wonder that so many teams have given up on him. Unfortunately, he’s not the biggest cause for concern since the team may be expecting Pryor to return.
Instead, the biggest cause to worry may be at the Right Tackle spot. As I mentioned earlier, the return of Lane Johnson could be delayed until Cowboys week. Jack Driscoll is out for the next couple of weeks due to an ankle injury and Brett Toth just returned to the team last week. Toth played 17 snaps after Driscoll went down but ended up giving up a sack on his first snap to Marlon Humphrey.
The Giants may not have the best defensive line but they have more sacks away than they do at home with 8 total sacks on the road. The offensive line may be shaky but this is the get right moment for this young core, with Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata leading the charge, this could be a turning point in the season for the o-line.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire