Among the Eagles’ five starting offensive linemen, there are known and unknowns.
But expectations are high, with many pundits projecting the Birds to field one of the top units in the NFL.
At center, there’s reason to believe Jason Kelce will be even better another year removed from his ACL injury. Evan Mathis and Jason Peters played at a consistently high level together last year, and while both are in their 30s, they should hold up well in 2014.
The right side of the line is where things are a bit more unclear. Lane Johnson showed improvement as a rookie and is looking to make the leap in his second season.
And then there’s Todd Herremans. The nine-year veteran turns 32 in October and is coming off an up-and-down campaign in 2013.
“I have something to prove every year,” Herremans said last week.
“I just want to go out and play as good as I know that I can. If I do that and other people see it differently, then I guess that’s their opinion.”
Herremans was one of the veterans who said he benefited from the sports science program. He started all 16 games, as did the rest of the Eagles’ starting offensive linemen.
Asked if it’s feasible for the unit to do that again in 2014, Herremans said: “Yeah, I think it’s very realistic. I know it only happened one other time since I’ve been here, but like I was saying earlier, the way that we take care of our bodies and stuff, I think we were very limited with guys in the training room last year. I don’t think it was a coincidence.”
Like Johnson, Herremans’ issues came in pass protection. Unlike Johnson, the arrow is not pointing up.
The veteran has logged thousands of quality snaps for the Eagles over the years. If he has some more left to give in 2014, the offensive line figures to be in great shape.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Kelce talks to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com about why he is a frequent user of the port-a-potty during practice:
“I am, yeah,” said Kelce. “I make a trip every 12th period. I’m trying to stay hydrated. The 12th period is not a period that’s too important for me. I try to time up (my pee schedule) with that one. I’m holding it for a while. We pound hydration so much into our heads that I try to make sure I’m hydrated when I’m out here so I’m not cramping.
“That’s a sports science thing, which I guess can be trickled down from Chip.”
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com thinks Josh Huff could have an instant impact:
Huff’s familiarity with Chip Kelly’s offense is the most obvious reason to project early production out of the third-round pick. While veterans are still getting used to Kelly’s tempo, Huff is well-versed in the breakneck speed with which the Eagles and Ducks’ respective offense flies.
Further, as a rare four-year starter with the Ducks, Huff saw time at each receiver position and as a kick returner over his career. He became the team’s go-to receiver his last two seasons and left Oregon tied with the single-season (12) and career touchdown reception records (24).
We’ll check in on a certain big-bodied receiver who goes by the name of MOMAH!