The way the Philadelphia Eagles have handled their left guard situation is nothing short of strange.
It started when the Eagles cut (and then traded) proven 2016 starter Allen Barbre in order to name Isaac Seumalo the undisputed left guard. Then after just the first two weeks of the 2017 season, Seumalo was benched in favor of ... a rotation. The Eagles rotated both Chance Warmack (who started) and Stefen Wisniewski against the Giants in Week 3.
Based on the eye test, Wisniewski appeared to be the better player. The numbers back this up as well (via Bo Wulf of The Athletic).
Not counting penalties, the Eagles gained 3.9 yards per play on Warmack’s 30 snaps and scored 14 points. They ran for 3.5 yards per carry and gained 4.8 yards per pass play (counting Wentz scrambles on called pass plays). They ran the ball 57 percent of the time. With Wisniewski at left guard, the Eagles gained 5.8 yards per play over 41 plays, rushing for 6.3 yards per carry and gaining 5.2 yards per pass play. They ran the ball 45 percent of the time.
In addition, Pro Football Focus graded Wisniewski ahead of Warmack by a significant margin.
Snaps at LG vs NYG:— Aaron Bloch (@PFF_Aaron) September 25, 2017
Wisniewski: 82.4#Eagles #FlyEaglesFly @PFF
Wisniewski’s PFF grade actually ended up being the third best of any offensive guard in Week 3, for what it’s worth.
So it seems obvious, then, to make Wis the starter at left guard. But that’s not exactly what’s happening ... yet, at least.
During his Wednesday press conference, Doug Pederson revealed that Warmack and Wisniewski will be rotated at first team left guard. The exception is today (Wednesday) because starting center Jason Kelce is getting a veteran rest day and Wisniewski will practice at center with Warmack at left guard.
Pederson said that a decision on who’s starting at left guard will be made by Friday afternoon, which is after the team’s final practice ahead of their Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
There’s little question Wis should be the guy. There’s no really need for a rotation.
As for Seumalo, Pederson said on Monday that he’s “still in the mix” but that doesn’t really seem to be the case. Here’s what Pederson had to say when asked what Seumalo needs to do in order to push for playing time again.
I think it’s, with any player, it’s a lot like Nelson [Agholor] last year. I made the decision to hold him out and to let him see it from afar. Just got to continue to work at it in practice. You just got to ... positive reinforcement with him. He’s still a good player. We still trust him. We still believe he’s the player that we drafted and all that, and show confidence. Listen, he’s only really a play or two away from being back in there. Making sure that he’s ready to go is a big part of his growth. And he’s a young player. And he’ll get better.
Again, it’s pretty bizarre that the Eagles felt really confident Seumalo only to make him the third string guard after just two games. But that’s where the situation is right now.
Ultimately, Seumalo’s development isn’t the team’s main objective. Winning is. And Wisniewski playing left guard likely gives the Eagles the best chance to win right now.