It’s been a chaotic season for the Eagles and more specifically their offensive line. Injuries and consistency issues have meant that the roulette wheel has not stopped spinning this year, leaving them with 13 different groupings in 14 games. Of all of the lineman to have played this year, Matt Pryor has played in the fourth most snaps coming in at just over 60% to date. But he will face his toughest challenge yet this weekend.
Pryor has endured a season of bumps and bruises. Splitting time between tackle and guard, the TCU product has struggled to find his footing this season. He was placed on the COVID-19 list ahead of week 6 and had actually lost the starting RT role to Driscoll ahead of the Green Bay game, with the rookie lineman showing more potential. Pryor had previously lined up inside as well and will make his return to tackle to replace the injured Driscoll.
This means that lining up opposite him will be none other than Hasson Reddick – the man who just posted a franchise-record five sacks in a single game last week. Reddick has exploded this season and has 10 sacks on the year along with a whopping 15 QB hits and 13 TFL.
“Yes. He’s quick, he’s fast, agile, he can bend, speed rusher.” Doug Pederson said on Wednesday. “Obviously, he had a heck of a game the other day, so Pryor’s got to get in here and study the tape and study him and expect him to be prepared.”
The obvious wildcard here is Jalen Hurts presenting a very different kind of offensive threat. After single-handedly ending the Saints’ 56-game streak of not allowing a 100+ yard rusher, Hurts looks primed to do more damage on the ground…or so it seems.
When facing mobile QB’s this year, Hasson Reddick has thrived. There was a stretch of five games where the Cardinals faced Russell Wilson twice, Josh Allen, Cam Newton, and Tua Tagovailoa Reddick registered at least 4 tackles in each of those games and combined for 6 TFL, 3 QB hits and a sack. With 28 QB pressures to his name this season, trying to silence him and buy time for Jalen Hurts will be absolutely crucial.
The Eagles are in a very interesting spot. There are three games remaining on the schedule, with two coming against divisional opponents. The Eagles are two games back from Washington. Beating them in their second meeting of the season brings it back to a one game lead and if they can find a way to level the playing field, that excruciating Bengals tie would mean they win division. That makes this Cardinals game crucial. It makes Matt Pryor’s performance against Hasson Reddick crucial.
In what’s been a disappointing year for Pryor, there’s a shot at redemption here. Nobody really knows what the Birds have in the versatile lineman, who has struggled across the board this year and was unable to win the starting RG role in place of Brandon Brooks. He may be a Jack of all trades, but is he a master of none? He’ll face his biggest challenge yet this weekend and if he can somehow hold up against such an electric young pass-rusher, it might well buy him a place in the Eagles’ longer term plans this offseason.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire