One thing I failed to mention from Marty Mornhinweg's press conference today was that Jason Kelce has officially been named the Eagles starting center. Maybe it was because he didn't call him outstanding or excellent. He did say he was terrific though...
Marty was asked directly about Kelce's role with the team and put it in the most unmistakeable way possible, "He's our starting center."
He was pressed on the issue and asked whether Kelce was starting because he's the best center on the team right now?
"There are some things that go into making a choice, and I won't go into any of the details, but Kelce has played at a really high level. He's got very little experience but he's a terrific athlete, very sharp, and he's strong. Jamaal [Jackson] has great experience, proven that he can play and win. He's a valuable man to our organization and he's doing a heck of a job in helping Kelce."
Were one of those "things that go into making a choice" that Jamaal Jackson counts a million and a half bucks against the salary cap this year? I suppose we'll see come cut day. Marty says that he's confident in the two rookies starting on the line this year and that not all the ugliness we saw last week was their fault.
"I know it can work, and I'm quite happy with their play. I'm very confident that it will work. It's a difficult thing to do at the center position alone. Through hard work and preparation that's required, I'm really confident again that they'll be playing at a very high level very quickly. It looked probably from afar a little bit worse for those two players than it really was. The other players around them, especially at the skilled spots, didn't take care of their business. There were a couple of plays where they were doing the exact right thing, and again it comes back to the fact that it's my responsibility to get this thing done."
That's an important thing to keep in mind and something that always makes evaluating lineman very tough. We don't know what protection was called on a given play. So, while it's easy to say a guy didn't do his job if he just gets run over... but if he seems "out of position" or you hear someone say that he didn't "recognize" something, that's not always clear. Sometimes you are supposed to have help on a certain side, sometimes a guy is supposed to chip... a while host of things can happen on a play to make a lineman look bad that weren't really his fault. But of course, we don't really know either way unless a coach tell us what the protection was.