It’s been more than 19 months since Jason Peters last played in a football game.
But he’ll take the field Saturday night in Jacksonville in what essentially amounts to a three-quarter dress rehearsal before the regular-season opener against the Redskins on Sept. 9.
Asked what his expectations are for a now-healthy offensive line, Peters said: “Try to be the best, try to give up the least sacks ever in Eagles history. That’s the first goal. And try to get a championship. We’ve got an athletic line, and if we come together, we’re gonna win games because it’s gonna start with us.”
The 31-year-old injured and re-injured his Achilles last offseason, but looked good during spring and summer practices before dealing with a hamstring issue. He’s now back at practice and says he’s feeling no lingering effects from the injuries.
As things currently stand, the Eagles are expected to go into the opener with a line of Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson. With the guys up front healthy and a new scheme in place, Peters is expecting big things from Michael Vick.
“It definitely fits his skill set because it’s a read-option offense,” Peters said. “You read defensive ends, the tackles. You’re reading linebackers, a run/pass offense. So it fits Mike real well.
“I view Mike as a Pro Bowler. You see what he did when he had his offensive line. He got the big contract, went to the Pro Bowl. If you ain’t got your offensive line as a quarterback, your play’s gonna drop a little bit, so that’s what happened last year. He didn’t have his offensive line, he was fumbling the ball, and that all comes with not having your starters protecting you. So I’ll evaluate him as Mike… if we give him time, he’s gonna make plays.”
The veteran left tackle anticipates a monster year out of LeSean McCoy too.
“He’s definitely gonna be over 1,000 yards earlier than he has been because the defensive line, the linebackers are going to be winded,” Peters said. “We steady gonna be pushing on the D-Line, so I think he’s gonna break out early this year.”
As for the offense as a whole, Peters expects the Eagles to have an advantage early in the season. Teams don’t know quite what to expect out of Chip Kelly in his first year. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said he’s “looked at endless film” of Oregon to prepare for the Week 1 matchup.
Asked if he thought the Eagles’ offense would surprise opponents, Peters said: “I think they’re gonna be shocked. As the year goes on, people are gonna try to game-plan for it and get adjusted to it. But they’re gonna be shocked the first couple weeks, coming at ‘em quick, fast. We’re gonna see.”
Kelly will have to make adjustments throughout the season, but his chances of success increase greatly with a healthy left tackle in Peters.
WHAT YOU MISSED
T-Mac answers four pressing questions about the secondary.
Billy Davis updated several of the starter battles on defense.
Could the Eagles surprise in 2013? A roundup of what the national media are saying.
Tim revisits the details of Vick’s contract.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com catches up with Bennie Logan:
Logan, who can also play nose guard, will almost certainly start at some point this season and will definitely get snaps in the rotation, but another good showing Saturday night against the Jags — and any slippage on Thornton’s part — could accelerate the rookie’s entry into the starting lineup.
“Every game is my ultimate showcase,” Logan said. “My first game was to get the jitters out, second game I’m comfortable, I know the scheme, I know what I’m doing. Last two games is really where you put the stamp on everything, from OTAs, minicamps, and just show the coaches what you’re able to do and just go from there and leave it to the coaches to make the decision.”
Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers some thoughts for the upcoming season:
While I do think the Eagles can have a winning record and do some good things this year, that isn’t to say I think they’ll be a flat out good team. The Eagles will be flawed. The defense needs work. I’m sure there will be some issues with the offense. You never know what will happen on STs. And Chip Kelly will be adjusting to the NFL. He will make a couple of mistakes, on gameday or in how he handles some of the crazy situations that pop up.
We’ll hear from Kelly this morning and some players this afternoon.