Demetress Bell said he received no explanation. And King Dunlap didn’t find out until Howard Mudd waved him in at this morning’s walkthrough. But there has been a shift at one of the most important positions in football, at least for now.
Dunlap worked with the first team at left tackle Saturday morning, and Andy Reid suggested the switch will last the entire week.
“I guess they’re trying to get a feel for who’s going to be the best fit for the 0-line,” said the 6-9 Dunlap. “Me and Demetress come out here and we both work hard every day, and the whole goal is to challenge each other every day at practice and try to get better and the coaches are the ones who decide who starts, not us, so the only thing we can control is working hard and trying to get better.”
Bell was only in for six snaps, but they did not go particularly well. As Sheil layed out in the Wake-Up Call, Bell was beat on the outside by linebacker Chris Carter on the play Michael Vick injured his left thumb. Vick was forced to step up to avoid the pressure, and his hand hit the back of Jason Kelce‘s helmet.
Still, it was only six snaps of game action. Is Bell surprised?
“No it’s not surprising,” he said. “It is what it is. If that’s what the coaches say then that’s what it is. It’s not my job to sit there and coach. It’s my job to just play.”
Reid indicated that the gap between Bell and Dunlap is small right now, and gave the impression that there is an ongoing competition.
“King was obviously told that when he was re-signed here that he had an opportunity to compete for the starting position, as was Bell,” said Reid. “You know Howard mixes the guys and moves them all around at all different positions on both sides of the ball.
“King’s been with us awhile and he deserves that opportunity, and Demetress has done a good job, he’s worked hard. He’s doing fine. I just want to make sure that everybody has their shot there.”
Dunlap is eager to pounce.
“My goal since I came here was to be a starter, so I’ve had the same mentality since Day 1 of my rookie year to now, just come out and get better every day and try to work my tail off to become one of the starting five,” said Dunlap.
Bell is entering his fourth season in the NFL, the previous three spent with the Bills. Dunlap has been on the Eagles since 2008, and spent last year learning Mudd’s unique stylings. He has the advantage in that regard. Dunlap acquitted himself pretty well in his spot duty at left tackle when Jason Peters was lost to injury. With Peters gone for the year with an Achilles injury, there is new opportunity.
Bell said that whenever he is on a team he considers himself the starter.
“It’s all about practice. It’s a new system, just have to get it down pat and learn the system. That’s it,” he said.