Doug Pederson on left guard: 'Allen Barbre is my guy and he's our starter'
The Eagles opened practice this week with Allen Barbre at left guard. It's expected to remain that way – unless a backup beats out Barbre during training camp or the preseason.
However, it will not come in an open competition. Doug Pederson said he will not rotate different guards with the first-team offensive line. The Eagles upgraded their depth on the offensive line, but apparently not with someone who's ready to supplant Barbre – whether that's Stefen Wisniewski or Isaac Seumalo.
"Right now, it is Allen Barbre's job," Pederson said. "I think again that's something we did through the draft and a little bit of free agency is to kind of shore up that spot. I really like where we're at. I like the depth at that position right now. But yeah, Allen Barbre is my guy and he's our starter."
Barbre, 31, started all 16 games last year. It was his first time as a full-time starter since 2009, when the Green Bay Packers benched Barbre midseason. Chip Kelly and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland were high on Barbre since the 2013 training camp, and the Eagles gave him a contract extension in 2014. He has experience playing between Jason Kelce and Jason Peters and in this style of offense.
Still, Pederson was candid during the offseason about the need to upgrade at guard. The Eagles have a new starter on the right side, where Brandon Brooks was given a five-year, $40 million contract.
When Pederson was asked in March who would start at left guard, he didn't mention Barbre. The Eagles signed Wisniewski in April. The former Penn State standout has started all 77 games in his five-year career, but the past four years have been spent at center. Still, he seemed to be a natural candidate to compete for the left-guard spot. Wisniewski lined up as a backup center at practice this week.
Seumalo, the team's third-round pick, was billed as a versatile lineman who would start his career at guard. Pederson even mentioned him as someone who has a chance of cracking the starting lineup this season. The problem is because Oregon State is on the quarter system, Seumalo is still in school during OTAs.
"I tell you what -- one thing I notice about Isaac is how sharp he is during that rookie camp we just had," Pederson said. "He's a smart guy. … The beauty of the thing, too, in the offseason is we still as coaches get to communicate with the guys that are not here. We can teach Isaac and we can get him caught up."
Another player to watch is Malcolm Bunche, who spent last season on the practice squad. Bunche, who is 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, was the backup left guard this week.
The Eagles still have more than three months until a regular-season game, so there is still time for lineup changes. But it's clear from Pederson's comments that the Eagles won't rotate at left guard. It's Barbre's job.