Barbre is Early Leader at LG
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Expected to be perhaps the team's most competitive position battle, left guard might not be as in flux as first thought, at least according to Eagles first-year coach Doug Pederson.
Intent on finding competition for the 2015 option, Allen Barbre, Philadelphia signed veteran Stefen Wisniewski in free agency and also dratted Isaac Seumalo in the third-round of the draft.
But, when on-field OTAs began earlier this week Barbe was stationed next to Jason Peters again and Pederson deferred to the incumbent.
"Right now it is Allen Barbre's job, and I think again that's something we did through the draft and a little bit of free agency is to kind of shore up that spot," the coach said. "I really like where we're at. I like the depth at that position right now. But yeah, Allen Barbre is my guy and he's our starter."
Part of that is circumstance because Seumalo wasn't even on hand as he is back at college at Oregon State while Wisniewski was strictly working at backup center behind Jason Kelce. Former practice-squad player Malcolm Bunche and Josh Andrews lined up with the twos and threes as Barbre's backups.
The real plan seems to be letting Barbre try to hold off Seumalo once training camp begins and if neither impresses enough to seize the job then the move will be made to slide Wisniewski, a veteran they know can play the position and needs few reps, over.
The fact that Oregon State runs on the quarters system instead of the more traditional semester system means Seumalo will miss all 10 on-field OTA sessions, a significant hurdle especially when competing against veterans who understand how to play in the league. Pederson, though, believes the rookie can overcome the speed bump.
"I tell you what, one thing I notice about Isaac is how sharp he is during that rookie camp we just had," the coach claimed. "He's a smart guy. And the one thing, the beauty of the thing, too, in the offseason is we still as coaches get to communicate with the guys that are not here. We can teach Isaac and we can get him caught up."
Once the Eagles moved on from Evan Mathis, the old regime handed the LG spot to Barbre, who was rated as the 76th best guard in football last season by ProFootballFocus.com. Despite that pedestrian performance Chip Kelly and Co. always thought a lot of Barbre and that seems to have carried over to the new staff.
That said, you don't win jobs in May and others will get their opportunity despite Pederson's proclamation earlier this week.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen