This is the next installment in our series of 12 positions in 12 days previewing the upcoming Eagles training camp. Rookie and selected vets report to Lehigh July 26th and each day leading up to that date we will bring you a preview of a different position battle.
The big uglies. The trenches... That's where we look to today as we take on the interior of the Eagles offensive line. Center and Guard.
Stacy Andrews, Nick Cole, Mike Gibson, Paul Fanaika, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Max Jean-Gilles, Mike McGlynn, Fenuki Tupou, Chris Patrick. (Tupou & Patrick are listed as OTs, but they'll probably compete at several spots on the line)
Stacy Andrews(RG), Jamaal Jackson(C), Todd Herremans(LG). Assuming all are healthy, it's pretty unlikely that any of these three won't be starting this year. The only real question is the knee of Stacy Andrews. He tore his ACL last year and had surgery in early January. Whether he'll be 100% ready to go by the time the season starts is not sure.
Stacy Andrews signed as a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals.
Paul Fanaika was drafted in the 7th round & Fenuki Tupou was drafted in the 5th this year.
What to watch for
There's a lot of capable players and new draft picks fighting for a precious few spots on the interior of the Eagles offensive line. Nick Cole, being able to play C or G is probably a shoe in to make it... Max Jean-Gilles is the most senior member of the group fighting for backup jobs. However, Gilles broke his fibula last year in the Thanksgiving game against Arizona and it will be interesting to see how he's recovered and whether the injury will bother him in camp.
A guy I'll have my eye on is second year man Mike McGlynn. McGlynn was a 4th round pick last year and his nasty demeanor on the field drew comparisons to Jon Runyan. Having spent a year in the system with offensive line coach Juan Castillo, I'm excited to see how how McGlynn's development is progressing.
Another second year man to keep an eye on is Mike Gibson, who was spending time learning both guard and center last year. Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole have generally been the only centers in camp in recent years and it will nice to see some more competition in there.
All that said, the #1 storyline is going to be the health of Stacy Andrews. If he's not going ot be ready to start the season, the likes of Jean-Gilles & McGlynn will be fighting for starting jobs... not backup positions.
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