Wake-Up Call: Eagles Still Leaning On Peters
At center and right tackle, the Eagles have two young, ascending players in Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson.
At right guard and left guard, we know they’re going into the season with question marks in Allen Barbre and either Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner or Dennis Kelly.
Then there’s left tackle.
At 33, Jason Peters is still the guy that everyone looks up to. Is he the same player he was four or five years ago? Probably not. But coaches and teammates still are in awe when they witness Peters’ athleticism and power up close.
“You know what’s amazing about it?” said offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. “I swear to you, the other day I was watching, we were doing a drill, and he moved faster than he had since I’ve been here. You don’t expect that. You think he’s getting older, and you think he’s going to start… and you don’t see any signs of that. You just don’t. He takes good care of himself.”
Peters has started all 32 games the past two seasons. He was the only 16-game starter the Eagles had up front in 2014.
But the veteran admitted that he didn’t play at his usual level throughout, particularly down the stretch.
“I gave up a couple sacks to [Jason] Pierre-Paul,” he said. “I gave up one to a no-name guy, I want to say for the Giants. The Cowboys game, I don’t even know the guy’s name, No. 92. I think I gave him one. You try not to give up sacks. If you do that, give the quarterback time, you win games. That’s what I try to do.”
What was the problem? Was it fatigue?
“That’s what I thought, but just technique, technique issue,” he said. “My feet were crossed up. It’s something I can fix. Just the end of the year, you’re trying to fight for the playoffs, you’re pouring it all in. Just a technique issue.”
Of course, when fatigue sets in, technique can suffer. And Peters played 1,168 snaps last year, per Pro Football Focus. Among offensive linemen, only Anthony Castonzo of the Colts played more.
But Peters participated in every spring practice, and the coaches are confident that he can continue to play at a high level going forward.
“This guy puts a lot of time into his physical being,” Stoutland said. “I don’t know that you can play as long as he’s played if you don’t do that. I hear him talking to some of the younger players, the rookies especially. Each year I hear him talking to a certain group of guys. Last year, it was [Kevin] Graf. I see him right now with [Brett] Boyko, talking to some of those young kids about how you’ve gotta take care of yourself on a regular basis. I don’t think he’d be doing it this long if he didn’t do that.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Here are three things we learned during Eagles spring practices.
What they’re saying: Byron Maxwell on Charleston, love for Mark Sanchez and more from the national media.
Don’t forget to order your Eagles Almanac if you haven’t done so already.
And finally, it’s NBA draft week. Be sure to check out our special Sixers Draftland section with Derek Bodner. Tons of good information over there to get you ready for Thursday.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice gives a note on each of the offensive position groups, including this thought on the running backs:
What the Eagles have done at running back is very intriguing. They have two big and fast runners in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews who get north and south and punish opposing tacklers. Then if the Eagles so choose to infuse him into the offense more than they have in the past, they have the shiftiest of all shifty runners in Darren Sproles to use as a change-up. In my opinion, it’s the best trio of running backs in the NFL by a wide margin.
If the Eagles can find a good balance of how much Murray, Mathews and Sproles are used, they can keep all three players fresh for 16 games and beyond. With the Eagles’ fast paced offense, if they have their run game going, tired opposing defenses are going to be susceptible to big plays in the run game in the second half of games. I think it’s pretty clear the Eagles are going to run the crap out of the ball this season, and their effectiveness in that regard will be the key to whether or not they can put big numbers on the scoreboard.
Reuben Frank of CSN Philly thinks Miles Austin may have a role in Kelly’s offense:
He’s with his third team in three seasons and fourth offensive coordinator in five years.
Miles Austin is an X-factor with the Eagles. His name doesn’t come up in conversations about the wide receiver position. His role is vaguely defined right now. He hasn’t been a star since 2010.
Nonetheless, the Eagles believe Austin can revive his career, and they believe it enough that they guaranteed $1 million of his one-year, $2.3 million contract.
We’ll take a look at three Eagles numbers that matter.