At this point, what’s one more change along the Eagles' offensive line?
Doug Pederson confirmed Monday that left guard Isaac Seumalo will go on injured reserve with a left knee injury suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. Pederson called it “short-term IR,” a reference to the fact that players can return this year in as little as three weeks, and an indication that Seumalo’s injury isn’t considered long-term.
Seumalo, 26, hasn’t missed a game since winning the starting role from Stefen Wisniewski five weeks into the 2018 season. Matt Pryor, who worked as the starter at right guard and left tackle during training camp, only to be supplanted at both spots when the season started, came in for Seumalo Sunday and played reasonably well in 46 snaps.
“Pryor came in and actually did some good things. It wasn’t perfect. There were some calls that he missed, and you could see he and [center Jason] Kelce kind of talking after plays, between plays … that’s just part of being a backup,” Pederson said.
The Eagles lost All-Pro right guard Brandon Brooks to a torn Achilles in June, then saw left tackle Andre Dillard go down with a torn biceps in August. Right tackle Lane Johnson underwent an August surgical procedure to align bones that had separated from a high ankle sprain; Johnson missed the season opener but seemed to play well against the Rams.
One path the Eagles took to this juncture was the use of a second-round 2019 draft pick on JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Carson Wentz threw late to JJAW on the fatal interception Sunday, but Arcega-Whiteside got one target before that, in the first half, with the Eagles down 14-3. It was third-and-2, from the Eagles' 38. The defense had just given up a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and needed time to regroup. Arcega-Whiteside dropped the pass. The Rams got the ball back and drove for the TD that made it 21-3. The drop might seem trivial, but in building that 21-3 lead, the Rams faced third-and-2 or third-and-3 four times. They converted each one. Nobody dropped anything.
Nickell Robey-Coleman told us last week all about how he was filling in teammates on the tendencies of the Rams, his former team. Maybe somebody should have filled in NRC. He played a dreadful game, including giving up one of tight end Tyler Higbee’s three touchdowns. Robey-Coleman also was abused by Cooper Kupp on a third-and-6 conversion that put the Rams in field-goal range, the drive after Wentz’s infamous interception. A few plays later, his helmet-hit penalty after a Robert Woods catch made the field goal a chip shot. Cre’Von LeBlanc, the Eagles' former nickel corner, got three defensive snaps, and one more on special teams. The thinking here is, that could change.
The only time Derek Barnett was noticeable in his season debut was when he lined up offside, negating a Jalen Mills tackle for a loss that would have set up the Rams' first third-and-long of the game, as they drove for their third touchdown. But Barnett handed them a first down instead.
Mills was the one Eagle who didn’t get blocked out of the play on Darrell Henderson’s 40-yard run. He could have cut down on the damage by about 30 yards. But Mills missed the tackle, something Malcolm Jenkins rarely did.
That defensive players who talked all week about being patient and not falling for misdirection/play-action actually would have no idea how to DO that, when game time arrived?
In four career games against the Eagles, Aaron Donald still hasn’t recorded a sack. He faced effective double-teams Sunday; right guard Nate Herbig was a key component.