Dunlap Wins Starting LT Job

When the Eagles travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in Week 1, King Dunlap is expected to start at left tackle.

Andy Reid said today that Dunlap has earned the nod over Demetress Bell and likely will sit with the rest of the starters Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Jets.

“Give him credit for what he’s done,” Reid said. “He’s got a long road here to go with this season and staying healthy, doing all those things, playing aggressive football week in and week out. He hasn’t had to do that at this level, but you sure have to give him credit for the battle that he’s been in here with Demetress. They went after it, and they’re still going to go after it. Demetress isn’t going to concede. That isn’t what he’s going to do. I think we’re fortunate to have two guys there that we know can play. But King ended up being the guy that got the No. 1 spot.”

Dunlap (6-9, 330) took over the starting job after the first preseason game against the Steelers. Bell played just six snaps in that game, but clearly Howard Mudd and company have not seen the progress they would have liked from him this summer. The Eagles re-signed Dunlap and added Bell after Jason Peters went down with an Achilles injury in March.

As I detailed in the game review, Bell really struggled against the Browns. In Dunlap, the Eagles have someone who is reliable (although obviously not as talented as Peters) in pass protection. He will need to prove his ability as a run blocker. Mudd’s scheme requires the tackles to get upfield and lead the way, something Peters did brilliantly last year for LeSean McCoy.

Dunlap, a seventh-round pick in 2008, has started seven games for the Eagles – two last season and five in 2010. He has played left tackle, right tackle and even left guard.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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