Eagles Wake-Up Call: What They See In Tobin, Barbre

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

During an interview session with reporters last month, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was asked about the luxury of having stability at both tackle spots and center.

“The other player that I really think is underrated is Allen Barbre,” he responded. “Allen Barbre is a really good player. We have a lot of confidence in him and his abilities.”

This has been the general sentiment shared by all parties at the NovaCare Complex – Stoutland, Chip KellyJason Peters, etc.

Barbre has started just eight games in seven NFL seasons. In two years with the Eagles, he has played 122 snaps. Yet whatever he’s doing at practice, in the weight room and at meetings has teammates and coaches convinced he’s ready for a starting role. Remember, Barbre was penciled in as a starter after the Eagles released Todd Herremans. He’ll just move to the more comfortable left side now that Evan Mathis is no longer in the mix.

“I think Allen Barbre is an outstanding football player,” Kelly said. “He just got hurt at the beginning of the year last year, and whenever he’s had to play for us, he’s played extremely well for us. I know we’re excited about moving forward with him, and then we’ll see what happens at the other position.”

Barbre is no sure thing, but he’s a safer bet than Matt Tobin, who is the favorite to start at right guard. Tobin saw significant playing time in seven games (523 snaps overall) last year. He was inconsistent, battled through an ankle injury and eventually lost his job to Andrew Gardner.

Asked if the ankle hampered Tobin, Kelly said: “Yeah, he was behind. It was a significant injury. He actually came back a lot faster than we actually thought he was going to come back, but I think it speaks to his toughness.”

Added Stoutland: “I think it’s made him hungry. He’s like a man on a mission. He’s a very serious guy about his career now. He’s trying to get everything detailed. He’ll have a question… as soon as something happens, if he’s not sure, he’s gonna come right up to me afterwards or in practice, and he’ll ask me, ‘Hey, exactly how do you want this because I’m not quite sure.’ He’s a very accountable guy.”

Tobin was added as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa in 2014. Stoutland explained what he needs to improve in his second season.

“Just consistency,” he said. “At times, I think Matt has played really well for us, but I think he needs to be more consistent and not just flash at times. I think he understands that.

“Just staying in front of people. Don’t get edged. Don’t let someone run around you. Part of that has a lot to do with balance and body control, staying in front of somebody when your balance is in a position where you can move and transfer your weight. So that’s been a real big part of it. And a lot of that has to do with your hips, the level of your hips. If you’re standing straight, it’s hard to change direction.”

The Eagles added new toys on offense in Sam Bradford, DeMarco MurrayRyan Mathews and Nelson Agholor. But the operation won’t work unless the coaches develop Barbre and Tobin into quality starters.


Have a Wake-Up Call question for Sheil and Tim? Email them at skapadia@phillymag.com and tmcmanus@phillymag.com. They’ll try to answer it in the coming weeks.


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Donovan McNabb was recently arrested for DUI. The police report, via Deadspin:

On 06/28/2015 at approximately 2335 hours, officers responded to a non-injury collision involving two vehicles which occurred just west of the intersection at E Chandler Heights Rd and S Higley Rd in Gilbert, AZ. Subsequent investigation revealed Donovan McNabb (11/25/76) was impaired by alcohol and collided in a rear-end fashion with another vehicle which was stopped at a red traffic signal. Donovan was arrested for DUI at 2358 hours and transported to the Gilbert/Chandler Unified Holding Facility for processing, after which, he was cited and released.

Reuben Frank of CSN Philly offers his take on Miles Austin:

I have a hunch Austin is going to have a productive season. I know the numbers have him trending downward, but he was actually on pace last year for those numbers Mosh mentioned — with lousy quarterbacks. In this offense? With presumably better QB play? There’s no reason Ausin can’t put up those kinds of numbers. I love the Eagles’ young receivers, but there’s definitely a place for a grizzled veteran who’s been been a Pro Bowler, who’s played in a bunch of playoff games, who’s been in the league a long time and has seen it all. The big question with Austin is his chronically sore hamstrings, but they haven’t been a problem in a couple years, and he swears by his new stretching regimen. It’s been a while since Austin has made it through a season healthy, but I think this will turn out to be a clever signing.


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