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Eagles Offensive Line: Dennis Kelly at left guard, Andrew Gardner at right tackle

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The Eagles have been forced to rework their offensive line due to injuries.


Serious injuries to two starters on the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive line forced the team to place those players on the injured reserve list on Tuesday. Starting left guard All-Pro Evan Mathis was placed on injured reserve, designated to return. This means he can return to practice in six weeks and game action by eight weeks. Fill-in starting right tackle Allen Barbre, on the other hand, was placed on season-ending injury reserve. He will not be eligible to return.

With Barbre and Mathis out, it's time to to figure out who will be starting on the Eagles offensive line. Observations from Philadelphia's Wednesday practice may have given a clue. According to various Eagles beat reporters, the first team offensive line lined up like this:

Left tackle: Jason Peters
Left guard: Dennis Kelly
Center: Jason Kelce
Right guard: Todd Herremans
Right tackle: Andrew Gardner

It appears Kelly is filling in for Mathis and Barbre is being replaced by Gardner. This is essentially the same line combination the team used after the Mathis/Barbre injuries occurred in the Eagles-Jaguars game, except that now Kelly (who was inactive) is now filling in for David Molk at guard. While some have noted that Molk played well enough at guard, it's clear the Eagles see him as a center only. They don't want him to play guard unless given no other choice.

As far as depth goes, second-year Eagles backup offensive lineman Matt Tobin is still dealing with a high ankle injury. He would like be playing over Gardner or Kelly if healthy. The Eagles added veteran guard/center Wade Smith to the roster on Tuesday. It seems he will serve as depth for now. Recently signed practice squad offensive tackle Kevin Graf, an undrafted rookie, likely won't see the field unless it's an emergency. Lane Johnson is still serving a four-game suspension and won't be back until September 29th.

Kelly and Gardner played relatively well for the Eagles in the preseason but they're far from sure bets to hold up against starting NFL defenders. Philadelphia will hope get by with these players until the reinforcements (see: Tobin, Johnson) are ready to return.