The State Of the Eagles’ Offensive Line

Todd Herremans says he has not watched the draft since 2005. That was the year the Eagles selected him in the fourth round out of Saginaw Valley State.

But next Thursday could affect the ninth-year pro. After moving to right tackle before the 2011 season, Herremans could be asked to slide back inside to guard, particularly if the Eagles use a first-round pick on someone like Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher or Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.

So surely Herremans will be tuning in this year, right?

“I’m sure I’ll see it on Twitter,” he said.

“It’s always been a possibility ever since I’ve been here, pretty much, so I just go about my day-to-day business.”

Herremans has maintained all offseason that he would have no problem making the position switch and just wants to get the team’s five best options on the field.

The offensive line is now under the direction of Jeff Stoutland. For players like Herremans and Jason Peters, it’s their third position coach in four seasons.

Asked to compare Stoutland’s teaching style to Howard Mudd’s, Herremans said, “He works [us] a little harder. He’s a little louder. He’s intense. You can tell that he’s a college coach, kind of in your face. He’s kind of got one tone, and that’s loud. But it’s positive. He’s not dog-cussing any of us or anything like that.”

“Stoutland, he’s got an answer for everything,” added Evan Mathis. “He has many tools. It’s not one way to do things on most plays. You have options. And usually those options rely on you game-planning who you’re playing, the techniques that they’re going to be using, so you can use your different tools in those scenarios.

“But as far as coaching style, he’s verbal, he’s outspoken. I think he’s a good communicator. He’s loud, he’s not out there bashing anybody. He’s not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings. He’s a great coach.”

Like the rest of the team, the offensive line is looking to maximize reps during every practice, a stark change from the past.

“When we were in individual [portion of practice] with Howard, Howard was in the school of thought of where if you did a rep and you did it right, lock that in and don’t do another one,” Herremans said. “Stoutland’s like what Juan was. He’s going to have you rep’d out so that it becomes like you don’t even have to think about it.”

Expectations are high for the offensive line. The unit was a strength in 2011, but suffered devastating injuries, which highlighted a lack of depth last year. Even though Jason Kelce was not a full practice participant this week, four of the five spotsare currently claimed.

Right guard, however, is up in the air. Danny Watkins is penciled in there for now, but he’s a giant question mark, and the draft is likely to shape the team’s plans.

“I expected big things from us last year, and it was just terrible to see everybody go down one-by-one,” Mathis said. “Going into this season right now, it’s looking like we’re all going to be healthy, and I expect a lot of us. I expect the offensive line to be able to carry the team on their back. Jason Peters, I think he could have come back late last season if we needed him to, which put him well ahead of schedule for this mini-camp, and he’s out there just in his pure form, looking really good. It’s good to have him back out there. It’s good to have all the guys back, it really is.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Geagle

    geeez man….how can anyone hear Howard MUDDS approach and think he came close to putting Watkins in the best position to succeed? So if a fireman with very little experience, happened to run a play right, lock it in, and never practice it again? And when they don’t do it right, BERATE every single one of them, as if everyone can be coached with the same coaching style?

    how can we write Watkins off? welcome Stoutland, SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU, over the senile old bat who tried to reinvent the wheel

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Ya Im down to take Dion just for the sake of giving watkins 1 more chance…hope he dont prove me wrong with this aging o line tho.

      • Geagle

        I would still take Kyle Long or Pugh in round 2 just to make sure

    • Nick

      Howard mudd had a top 5 o-line for years in Indy. Just because he didn’t work out here doesn’t mean you should dump on him that hard.

      • Geagle

        Just because you were a great coach at one point in time doesn’t make you a great point later in life….did you happen to miss the end of the Andy Ried era?

  • Richard Colton

    Well here we go. The team’s greatest strength in 2011 was their defining weakness in 2012 – a line devastated by poor play, poor coaching, and injury. What we all hope is a return from season ending injury for Peters/Herremans/Kelce. We also hope that Kelce, who had a surprising rookie year, was more than a one year wonder who thrived in Mudd’s very unique system. I’m also hoping that a certain Canadian Fireman finally figures everything out in his 3rd year and plays up to billing. I hope that these players, four of whom will be over 30 by the 2014 season, have enough left in them to be a strong unit when Kelly’s Birds makes its playoff push in a few seasons. I hope…

    But hope is not a course of action.

    GGeagle and Tom Wat will agree with me when I say that there are a lot of good O-linemen in this draft. This draft could potentially be the perfect storm of needs meets talent. I would love to see the Eagles address O-line with 2 of their first 4 picks.

    • Geagle

      AGREED! Although lineman that hit the age of 30, don’t concern me..I also think two Olineman in the first 4 picks might be too much, because we want a TE don’t we?
      Would love to let the bills move up 6 spots to get Nassib, and us land Long or Pugh, while getting the extra 4th rounder we could then use on Barrett or Quessenberry…while I agree with your wish if we only pick 4 times in the first 4 rounds, I don’t know that I can co sign it….If we get an extra 4th rounder, ALL ABOARD!!!! Lol

    • Tom W

      Im fine w 2 out of 4 ol if it falls that way … tell me we stay at 4 and take Jordan, Armstead/Pugh/Long, TE, Barret Jones/Philip Hunt, McGee/Commings/USC C/G, Princeton DE, CalPA Safety or Jordan is gone and we trade down once to cards at 7 and get an extra 3 and take Star, OL, Corner, TE (extra 3d), S, OL, BPA, BPA. Trade down to 12 … and then to 17 and take Sylvester Williams, OL and TE, Jamie Collins and Safety, OL, Corner, DL, etc

      We need an extra tackle and a 5-tech thats really about it. BPA rest of the way. I dont think need comes into play until atleast the 4th rd because beyond the fourth I think we are stretching the otackle prospects. I think you can get a usable 5 tech or nt in the fifth or later.

      • Geagle

        Can’t disagree

      • Agree wholeheartedly. I’ll save some stuff for our mock draft later this week (what’s the good word, Geagle? Sheil/Tim, can we do a live one on the site somehow??); but a few late round names to consider for DL:

        Joe Kruger, DE (Utah); Devin Taylor, DE (South Carolina); Earl Okine, DE (Florida); TJ Barnes, NT (GT); Mike Catapano, DE (Princeton); Quinton Dial, DE (Alabama); Quanterus Smith, DE (Western Kentucky); William Gholston, DE (Mich. State); Kwame Geathers, DT (Georgia). **many of these players have already been mentioned, on this site and others, as being scouted by/brought in to visit by the birds.

      • DutchEagle

        No CB, really?

    • Hooo-aah!!! Not to worry, Peters is back and he’s going to bring It!

      • Richard Colton

        back at you. Peters is my favorite Eagle.

  • Geagle

    JASON PETERS! Da da da da da..Jason PETERS!! Da da da da da….

    Yous can keep your fishers, Lane’s, and Joekel’s…I’m Good with THE BOSS and THE TODDFATHER fora year or two…at the very least, you can wait a year to start investing in our 2016 OT’s lol….I’m good with the ones we got! And guess what? guards are much cheaper, and can be drafted much lower?!!!

    • Geagle

      please excuse my spelling..CORRECTION: DA BAWSS! Lol

  • cliff henny

    he’s not in the class of herrmann’s or peters(and who is), but thought Dennis Kelly played well once he got comfortable. talk about another guy who was put in a no-win situation, and by end of the year, thought he was an under-rated bright spot. as RC and GG state, get 2 OL guys in top 4 rounds (be great if we ended up with 6 or 7 picks), barrett jones is perfect fit, another guard, have some nice depth, maybe even push starters.

    • Barrett is a good anchor but slow feet, he’ll never beat Shady, Brown or Polk to the edge. There’s a bull of a kid at James Madison University, Watford. He could give you minutes at Guard or Center if called upon and versatility on the line is a benefit. He could probably be claimed in the 6th round or even as a Free Agent, the kid went to High School in Phila, and is on the Phila All Decade Team. He’s a pretty good guard coming off a great Career at JMU.

      • cliff henny

        jones’ versatility and ties to stoutland is why i picked him out. alot of you guys know the prospect way more than me, i’ll wait till we draft them, than read up, just too many freaking guys. dont know how you do it?!
        remember, jones had that planture faci-whatever-us,so he might be little faster. guy made mack truck holes at ‘bama for 4 years.

        • I follow College Football as closely as I do the NFL and where I live following the High Schools is mandatory the local kids here every year no less than 6 after college are drafted or invited to try out for the NFL.

          Any way Barrett and Alabama are a power down your throat running team, very seldom will you see them swing out around tackle. They are maulers who will steam roll you over from between the tackles. .

    • Dennis Kelly is definitely serviceable. One option for Chip if they don’t get the tackle they want in the draft could be him starting at right tackle and moving Herremans in if they don’t think Watkins will work.

      • cliff henny

        just a forgotten guy. he started off slowly, but who wouldnt with revolving door next to him. he played in a very similar paced and spread (more throwing) offense at purdue and was highly successful. i wont complain if we take fisher, but do prefer jordan at 4.

    • JofreyRice

      Disagree on Dennis Kelly. He had one OK game against the Redskins, but was awful in the other contests, just beaten like a drum. Very tall to play guard, so that’s kind of limiting as well. He had a pretty healthy sample size, as well, playing almost as much as King Dunlap. Unlike Dunlap, Kelly didn’t display even mediocre passblocking to offset the poor runblocking skills, so I thought it was mostly a loss. Maybe he develops with more experience, but I don’t think he should even be a lock for the roster without showing that. I’d prefer Watkins at RG over Herremans if Kelly is the T next to him. I think you get a better combo out of Watkins/Herremans, which is really an indictment of Kelly’s play more than anything.

      Barrett Jones is a little underrated, IMO. He’s not athletic, bu he’s really smart, which I think is important for a guy you’re asking to be so versatile. I wouldn’t want him at T, but I think he can come in and start at any one of the interior line positions, at a solid/high level. I wish we had more 3rd or 4th rounders. Jones strikes me as a coach favorite, as well–I could see Stoutland pleading to draft him.

  • Geagle

    WOW!!! Deandre Hopkins was the player that trashed the room at the combine…how dumb do y have to be? Welcome to the 2nd round And embarrassing your franchise before you even get drafted….

    • shame…the other player was Mark Harrison (WR, Rutgers), who I actually liked as a prospect and wouldn’t mind having been brought in as 7th rounder/UDFA. Not cool to beat a university while it’s down, either

    • cliff henny

      live in SC, brother in law is clemson booster. nuke is as dumb as a post.

  • There was a leaked scheduled going around on twitter… I like the looks of it.. gotta see who’s coming off byes though..

    • cliff henny

      like the email addresses, guess those arent a huge secret

      • Jeff must have took away Chrstina’s Eagles email after the divorce LOL

        • h

          shes probably the one who leaked the schedule haha

    • Some negatives to note though.. first 3 games in 11 days (2 in prime time). Stretch from Sept 29 to Nov 10 could be rough as well, 5 away games, 2 on west coast, one in Lambeau.

      And we don’t know the other teams schedules either (who’s coming off byes).

      First team we play at home has won the last 3 (corrected) Super Bowls. So your 2013 Super Bowl Champ is the San Diego Chargers.

      • cliff henny

        bold prediction….eagles will start off 3-0!

      • No winter destinations to take the golf clubs until Oakland in November, and that’s early. . San Diego in December or November would have been nice.

        I expect no less than 7 wins in 2013

      • peteike

        ya, somehow Eagles remain primetime darlings even when we stink. Opening on mon night. Hate waiting that extra day to see my team play, it feels like a week.

    • CJ

      I’d be amazed if that’s legit. Leaking the sked is one thing, but every key FO person’s email address is a little idiotic. I’d bet if you emailed the Chipster at that address, you’d get a bounceback. That’d be the easiest way to determine if its legit or not

      • cliff henny

        just sent one, we’ll see

      • Seems like a lot of work for a hoax, what would anyone gain? Plus beat writers are posting it so it must carry some weight.

        • CJ

          it’s not a lot of work, we already knew who they’re playing, we just didn’t know when. It’s not hard to make up email addresses for team executives out of thin air. In any event, just heard the first game’s right. I just can’t believe someone on that thread would’ve leaked this.

    • cliff henny

      it’s official, i’m a homer…just went thru schedule and i have us going 11-5. thought we’d go 12-4 last yr, so obviously not Nostradomous

    • Wilbert M.

      Now that I have Howie’s email address I can send him my mock draft!

    • peteike

      Reid back in Philly Thur primetime ha, I can hear the boos already, what no?

  • NickS1

    Is that a picture of Herremans? I thought it was Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

  • Lee Washington

    IN 2011 the O-line WAS NOT a strength. That is pure revisionist history and they did not play well until the last 4 games of the season.

    • Richard Colton

      I remember Jason Peters revising the facemasks of linebackers and making history of DBs on his way to an all pro season. were we watching the same games?

  • Geagle

    All I know is I will cry if they let Andy and the Chiefs Waltz into the Linc and get a W…..For me,that game is a playoff game. Ried is a players coach, and his guys will be really fired up to get him that win.. WE HAVE TO DEFEND THE LINC, especially on that day!