Change at Left Guard Helping Eagles Take Off
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — After two poor performances, one of them being an outright disaster in Kansas City, the Eagles have bailed on Isaac Seumalo at left guard for now, something coach Doug Pederson finally confirmed at his Monday press conference.
"The biggest thing is the reps he's getting now with service team," the coach said when asked about keeping Seumalo on the right path despite his benching. "And keep him plugged in, keep him coming. And he understands, listen, it's a one-play-and-he's-back-in-there mentality."
The fact that Seumalo went from entrenched starter to inactive against the Los Angeles Chargers hinted at what is essentially a reclamation project now.
"We just keep him coming," Pederson said. "We sprinkle him in there and keep him at the guard and center position, keep working him there and just plug him in. And he's been a pro's pro at this. He comes to work every day ready to go. And he wants to be coached and wants to get better."
The other four members of the Eagles' highly-touted offensive line had generally been performing at a high level and ever since the committee of Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack has been inserted at LG, the unit as a whole has taken off with dominant performances against both the New York Giants and Chargers.
Warmack, a former top 10 pick in Tennessee, got the first opportunity against the Giants and struggled early, especially in pass protection which opened the door for Wisniewski, a capable veteran who probably lacks the athleticism and ceiling of either Seumalo or Warmack but is a lot like former starter Allen Barbre, a capable vet who understands how to play.
Despite that, the Eagles stuck with the committee approach versus the Chargers and Warmack played a lot better.
"One man's strength is another man's weakness, and vice versa," Pederson said when describing the friendly competition. "You have the combination of a lot of good things there. So that's worked out extremely well for us and we get the best of both worlds up front. And the timing is -- they haven't missed a beat up front."
Wisniewski is getting the majority of the work, 44 snaps against the Giants and 49 versus the Chargers versus 34 for Warmack against "Big Blue" and 31 against Los Angeles' other team.
Interestingly, Warmack had the reputation as struggling as a pass blocker with the Titans but he's actually been nearly identical to Wisniewski in that aspect, according to ProFootballFocus.com, allowing one sack and 33 pass-block snaps (97.0 percent efficiency) versus Wiz's 98.0 percent (one QB hit in 38 pass-block snaps).
Run-blocking is where Wisniewski has been significantly better where he seems to have a great rapport when it comes to combination blocks with both Jason Peters and Jason Kelce.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen