It sounds like the Philadelphia Eagles will be using their sixth different starting offensive line combination in seven games tonight against the New York Giants. Brian Baldinger is saying that Sua Opeta will make his first NFL start at left guard:
.@eagles are going with their #Polynesian offensive line tonight when they line up #Mailata at LT; #Opeta at LG and #Herbig at RG amongst #JasonKelce & @LaneJohnson65 . Excited to see what this group can do! #FlyEaglesFly #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/VorG20TGbe— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 22, 2020
Assuming this report is true, it’s not a totally shocking revelation. But it is noteworthy since the Eagles will have Matt Pryor available to them tonight. Pryor had previously been starting at right guard before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Eagles were using Nate Herbig on the left side.
But with Pryor not practicing since last Wednesday (and not playing all that well before going on the COVID list), the Eagles are going forward with Opeta and Herbig instead.
Thus, an entirely new lineup is born.
Week 1 — LT Jason Peters, LG Isaac Seumalo, C Jason Kelce, RG Nate Herbig, RT Jack Driscoll
Week 2 — LT Jason Peters, LG Isaac Seumalo, C Jason Kelce, RG Nate Herbig, RT Lane Johnson
Week 3 — LT Jason Peters, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Pryor, RT Lane Johnson
Week 4 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Pryor, RT Lane Johnson
Week 5 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Pryor, RT Lane Johnson
Week 6 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Jamon Brown, RT Jack Driscoll
Week 7 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Sua Opeta, C Jason Kelce, RG Nate Herbig, RT Lane Johnson
It’ll be interesting to see how Opeta fares in his first NFL action. The Eagles have valued him as a developmental prospect ever since signing him as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins tried to sign Opeta away from Philly’s practice squad last year so the Eagles promoted him to their 53-man roster to prevent that from happening.
Pro Football Focus had Opeta as their 13th highest graded guard in pass protection during the 2019 preseason. He only earned an average grade as a run blocker.
If Opeta plays well against the Giants, the Eagles could look to keep him in the starting lineup with Pryor remaining on the bench as the top backup guard. It’s worth noting that Pryor might also be the second string option at right tackle behind Lane Johnson until Jack Driscoll is able to return.