Without Peters, Will Eagles Stay in the Same Lane?
27 October 2017 Opinion
Jason Peters has been a Philadelphia Eagle for close to a decade. The 9x Pro-Bowler and 3x All-Pro suffered a devastating MCL/ACL tear in Monday’s win against the Washington Redskins. Peters, like veteran teammate Darren Sproles, continued to suit up and delay retirement because they felt big things were coming behind second-year Quarterback Carson Wentz. Now it’s up to the coaching staff to find an adequate replacement at Left Tackle.
When Peters was taken off the field, the Eagles looked to second-year man Halapoulavaati Vaitai to fill the shoes of “The Bodyguard”. Vaitai played 10 games at Right Tackle during Lane Johnson’s suspension in 2016 and took his fair share of licks as a rookie. After substituting in at Left Tackle during the preseason, does it make sense to keep “big V” in on the left side? Absolutely, and here’s why.
The second half of the Eagles schedule features teams like the Broncos, Seahawks, Rams, Giants, and Raiders. All of which have at least one play-making pass rusher on their stout defensive line. However, a majority of those most feared pass rushers (such as Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Michael Bennett, Michael Brockers, and Jason Pierre-Paul) all rush to the right side of the offensive line. In order to withstand the loss of Jason Peters, it would be wise to only switch out one starter.
Lane Johnson is considered to be a top three (if not the best) Right Tackle in the game today. Keeping Johnson at his position will benefit the Eagles far more down the home stretch against the rush that will come from the right side of opposing defenses.
Protecting the blind side of a Quarterback is very important however, so expect the Eagles to chip with their running backs or use a combination of Trey Breton or Brent Celek to sure up the left side of the line if Big V starts to struggle against the blitz. Having an athletic and mobile QB that can extend plays by climbing the pocket or shifting like Carson Wentz does will greatly benefit the line moving forward as well.
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