Reich on Offensive Line: “It’s One of the Strong Points of Our Team”
For the Philadelphia Eagles to return to the playoffs after a three year absence, one thing they will need to do is keep their second-year-old quarterback upright.
Last season, Carson Wentz was sacked 33 times, and was forced out of the pocket numerous times throughout his rookie campaign.
Wentz has had multiple injuries in his past, while in college, he broke a bone in his throwing wrist requiring surgery and last year he took a big hit and cracked a rib in a preseason game, causing a hairline fracture. That injury history makes the play of the offensive line and the health of Wentz a major key to the Eagles’ success this season.
But Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich thinks the offensive line is up to the challenge.
“We just have more depth and more strength this year," Reich said about the offensive line during his press conference on Monday. "I think it's one of the strong points of our team.”
This season, the O-line might see one change as Isaac Seumalo might be starting at left guard, with veteran Allen Barbre becoming more of a swing guy, adding more depth and versatility to a pretty deep unit.
"I think we have great leadership there," Reich stated. "I think [C] Jason Kelce is a great leader up front. He's a quarterback up there. The guy is as smart of a football player as you can get, and he just is very versatile in the things that he can do for us up front."
“I think we're really good at the tackle position, obviously – two of the better tackles in the league – and then our guard situation is … I mean, our second-team guards should be starting on most teams. So it's a very competitive room, really good room; good for our team.”
Seumalo is heading into his second season after being drafted by the Eagles in the third round last season, but he isn't being handed the position, the Eagles brought in plenty of depth adding former Tennessee Titan Chance Warmack.
Warmack has plenty of starting experience in the NFL under his belt, but could jump-start his disappointing NFL career by being pair with his former college offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
"Yeah, I think it's really helpful, because here's a guy who was a very high draft pick, and for whatever reason, just wasn't getting the productivity at his position that was probably people were expecting," admitted Reich.
A change in position could also help Warmack become more comfortable. During his time at Alabama with Stoutland, the former 10th overall pick played left guard, but while with the Titans, Warmack played right guard.
"I think there is something to the chemistry of having with a coach that you've played some of your best football with, and then the room, the culture of the room is so good," Reich said. "Stout is a great coach. I think he'll bring out the best in Chance."
In addition to Warmack, the Eagles also added O-line depth by bringing back Stefen Wisniewski to give the Eagles plenty of depth at the guard position.
Warmack could possibly compete for a starting job, but as Reich said, the backup guards could probably start on most teams in a league that is starving to find quality offensive line play.