Well, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles could be going with their seventh different starting offensive line combination in eight weeks this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s the first team lineup they used early during Wednesday’s practice, per Dave Zangaro:
Left tackle — Jason Peters
Left guard — Nate Herbig
Center — Jason Kelce
Right guard — Matt Pryor
Right tackle — Jordan Mailata
Peters returned to practice today for the first time since going on injured reserve ahead of Week 4. He still hasn’t officially been activated to the 53-man roster but it sounds and looks like that’s on track to happen this week.
Many won’t be pleased to see the 38-year-old Peters taking over for Mailata, who has shown potential and could be a long-term starter at left tackle. But, as you can see, Mailata is still projected to be in the starting lineup at right tackle with Lane Johnson potentially missing this week’s game. Mailata doesn’t have regular season playing experience on the right side but he has taken summer reps at that spot. It seems like the Eagles’ intent is getting their five best blockers on the field regardless of where they’re playing.
The real interesting decision to be made will be what the Eagles do when Johnson is able to return. Do they go with Mailata or Peters at left tackle at that point? The former should be the correct answer with Peters, who really struggled before getting hurt, moving back to guard. But we’ll have to wait a couple more weeks for clarity on that scenario.
Elsewhere on the line, the Eagles have taken Sua Opeta out of the starting lineup. The second-year guard struggled during his first NFL start against the New York Giants. Nate Herbig is shifting back over to the left side again to allow Matt Pryor to slide in at right guard. The Eagles clearly prefer Pryor on the interior as opposed to having him fill in for Johnson, which he had to do in a pinch in Week 7. If the Eagles were more comfortable with Pryor on the outside, they could’ve kept him at right tackle with Mailata staying at left tackle and Peters playing guard.
Of course, one must wonder what happens during this week’s game if/when Peters has to miss playing time. Do they change multiple spots with Mailata shifting to left tackle, Pryor shifting to right tackle, Herbig going to right guard, and Opeta coming in? Doesn’t seem ideal. But it’s not like putting Brett Toth in at left tackle to only change one spot is a real answer.
Here’s a recap of all the different starting lineup combinations the Eagles have used thus far.
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
Projected Week 8 — LT Jason Peters, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Pryor, RT Jordan Mailata