How the Eagles’ O-Line Fared in 2020
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t meet their expectations in 2020 and one of the key reasons that happened is because of injuries all across their offensive line.
The line was a mess all season long with 14 different line combinations in 16 games this season. The team say starters Andrew Dillard and Brandon Brooks miss the entire season, while Lane Johnson and Isaac Seumalo each missed about half the year due to injuries.
Plenty of young players got an opportunity to gain valuable experience that will allow them to be better when pressed into duty in the future. Guys like Nate Herbig and Jack Driscoll proved they can be capable reserves.
Quarterback Carson Wentz took a giant step backwards in his fifth year, filled with inaccurate throws, poor decisions and turnovers. He also took a ton of hits and sacks.
Wentz got a taste of what its like to have instability along the offensive line and never looked comfortable all season.
But it could have been worse.
Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey writes that the Eagles graded out as the 19th-best offensive line by their standards.
Linsey focused on writing about Philadelphia’s multiple injuries in his summary:
The Eagles’ offensive line went through the wringer this past season, as they were trotting out a new starting five up front seemingly every week due to injury. Those injuries all came after they lost projected starting left tackle Andre Dillard and right guard Brandon Brooks to injury before the season began. Eleven different offensive linemen played at least 50 snaps for Philadelphia this season. It’s going to be nearly impossible for any offensive line to lose all that talent and still produce at a high level.
Center Jason Kelce ranked third among centers in ryn blocking this season, an area where he has consistently been one of the best.
That said, the Eagles weren’t one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL with their makeshift group. Jason Kelce was the lone consistent presence at center for the team, and he ended the season with the third-highest run-blocking grade of any center in the league. That’s an area he has always excelled in with his ability to use his athleticism and get out in the open field.
When Seumalo was healthy enough to play, he played well, ranking No. 4 with a pass-block win rate of 95%, and No. 4 with a run-block rate of 77%, according to ESPN’s analytics.
As a team, the Eagles were much better than people may perceive, ranking No. 2 in the NFL with a 73% run block win rate, and No. 11 in pass block rate at 60%.
The Eagles will hope that 2021 brings some more stability, giving whoever is back at quarterback for the offense a few more clean pockets to work from.
Needless to say the team hopes to have a healthy line in 2021, with the return of Dillard, Brooks and Johnson. Expect Dillard and Jordan Mailata to battle for the left tackle position and Brooks and Johnson to stabilize the right side of the line. One question is the future of Kelce. The veteran center has contemplated retirement the past few years. If he retires, the team will have a void at the center position, and could use Seumalo at the spot, add a player in the draft or look at Nate Herbig among other options.
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