Injuries have been jolted the Philadelphia Eagles to start the 2023 campaign. The team is down several key starters through the first four weeks, including right guard Cam Jurgens. Not to worry, the backup plan at that position brings certifiable street cred.
Sua Opeta will draw the start at right guard when the Eagles take on the Rams in Los Angeles. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder graded out very well in relief of Jurgens last week — “outstanding,” according to head coach Nick Sirianni — and now he’ll be tasked with blocking Aaron Donald in Week 5. Opeta is ready for the challenge.
“When you’re getting in and you’re playing well your confidence just shoots up,” Opeta told reporters. “I’m really confident in my own ability to play so it’s cool I get to go out there against Aaron Donald now and prove that.”
Opeta, who has received snaps at tackle and guard over his five-year career, has long been a favorite player among his teammates in the locker room. He’s a guy who has all the physical traits, plus he puts his hard hat on and goes to work. No questions asked.
“He’s got that zero to 60 torque, too. He’s got a little Tesla torque to him,” Jason Kelce said. “Sua’s come a long way in his career here in Philadelphia, and he does some amazing things and when he’s on he’s a pretty unbelievable player.”
The undrafted kid out of Weber State be making his fifth career start when he takes the field on Sunday afternoon, although he’s seen plenty of meaningful snaps over the years. Opeta received 43 snaps last week after Jurgens left with a foot injury.
“You can’t collect dust. You always gotta be ready,” Opeta said. “That’s the hard part about being a backup is you always have to go in with that mindset that you’re going to start but it’s easy to kind of like chill out, I guess.”
Bradley Roby Getting Up to Speed at CB
The Eagles could have a new starter in the slot if Bradley Roby can learn the defense in time. The 31-year-old cornerback was signed to the practice squad on October 4 which gives him just four days to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams.
Roby, a first-round pick in 2014, told reporters his top priority right now is picking up Sean Desai’s scheme. He hasn’t even started studying the Rams’ receivers in detail yet. “I don’t think it should take long to get ready,” Roby said.
It helps to have a few familiar faces in the locker room, too. Roby said he trains with Darius Slay in the offseason and Justin Evans was a teammate during his time in New Orleans. Ditto for Zach Cunningham when the two were on the same roster in Houston. But the main reason why he joined the Eagles was the chance to play in an “elite” secondary. Roby can’t wait to suit up next to Slay and fellow Pro Bowler James Bradberry.
“That’s going to be a dope combination I feel and that was one of the reasons why I decided to do that because there’s nothing like playing with other elite guys,” Roby said. “And I’ve been that way when I was playing for the Saints the past couple of years and back in my Denver days, and it’s great when you have great, elite, smart players to play with because you feed off each other and you make plays off each other.”
Jason Kelce Addresses ‘Brotherly Shove’ Controversy
The infamous “Brotherly Shove” play (formerly known as the “Tush Push”) has been a talking point across the league in recent weeks. The NFL Competition Committee has even debated banning it as opposing coaches continue to cry foul over the legality of the play. Now the league has told the Eagles they are going to start putting it under the microscope, specifically by looking more closely for neutral zone infractions.
“The sneak play … they gave us full warning that they are going to start looking for offensive players sneaking into the neutral zone as well,” Kelce said.
Eagles’ left guard Landon Dickerson was flagged for a penalty last week against Washington. Let them monitor it, says Kelce. The Eagles aren’t doing anything wrong.
“I think whenever there’s controversy around something there tends to be more attention on it and it tends to be called more,” Kelce said. “I think that happens often especially early on in seasons when there’s a lot of emphasis made on new rules that they want to emphasize so you just gotta try that much harder to make sure you’re being legal. And there’s no way they can call it.”
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire