Eagles Show Confidence in Allen Barbre
In fact the Eagles assuredness over the replacement for Pro Bowler Evan Mathis is striking. Chip Kelly may admit to questions at RG or the third outside linebacker spot or nickel corner but Barbre, a nine-year man out of Missouri Southern State had earned the staff's unwavering support.
“(Allen is) really helping that left side be really solid,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said earlier this week. “We feel good about where he’s at and we feel good about the work he’s doing with (Jason) Kelce and (Jason) Peters there. So he’s done a really, really good job.”
Peters, the six-time All-Pro left tackle, has also been impressed by his new running mate.
“Allen’s a great player,” Peters told 973espn.com. “It’s working out great. I’m learning (new things about) the guy every day. Right now, the communication is great and it’s working out real good."
Could it work out as well as Mathis, who made two Pro Bowls in Philadelphia before a contract dispute ended his stay and eventually put him in Denver?
The word journeyman is often used to describe Barbre, who originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick of Green Bay in 2007. A pair of stints in Seattle sandwiched a one-year stay in Miami for Barbre before he signed with the Eagles in '13.
Remember, though, Mathis was also tagged with that same label while bouncing from Carolina to Miami and Cincinnati before landing in Philly and getting to play in between Peters and Kelce.
Lightning rarely strikes twice but the Eagles certainly weren't concerned last season when Mathis went down in Week 1 with a knee sprain and Barbre was inserted.
Unfortunately an ankle injury in the same game derailed Barbre's opportunity to prove the coaching staff's confidence was well deserved.
“It’s tough sitting there watching,” said Barbre. “Sitting on the sidelines, you can’t do anything about it. It was tough, but it helped me get motivated to come back and work hard in the offseason to get ready.”
And Barbre says he's ready for Sept. 14, the Atlanta Falcons and the chance to make his supporters look good.
“It’s been a pretty smooth transition,” Barbre said his insertion into the starting lineup. “I think we have pretty good chemistry across the board. I look at is as an opportunity to come in and play and give it my best.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen