The Eagles have suffered another blow to their offense. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, second-year swing tackle Dennis Kelly will miss the remainder of the preseason due to recent back surgery. Kelly was pegged to be the first tackle of the bench of the Eagles this season, following an up-and-down rookie season.
Kelly was a fifth-round pick of the Eagles last season out of Purdue. The 6-foot-8, 321-pound lineman was forced into action as a rookie, starting games at both tackle and guard. While he struggled early in the season, he improved as he got more experience in the lineup. Kelly is projected as the backup right tackle, but would come off the bench in the case of either Lane Johnson or Jason Peters getting injured. In a scenario where Peters went down, Johnson would slide to left tackle and Kelly would fill in for him at right tackle.
According to Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal, Kelly has been bothered by his back injury since last season and the pain did not go away entering this year's training camp. This is obviously a big setback for Kelly, who was poised for a major role on offense. As the Eagles learned last season, your offensive line is only as good as your depth. With both Peters and Kelly absent at recent practices, career-journeyman Allen Barbre has been filling in at left tackle. The Eagles are likely testing Barbre's versatility as he is projected to be one of the backup interior linemen.
The hope for Kelly is that he is ready to go for the start of the regular season, but with a new coaching staff and new offense, he could be behind when it comes to being ready mentally for games. This situation may cause the Eagles to keep an extra linemen in case Kelly is not ready to go on September 9th.