The line could come back to haunt a head coach - or make him look like a genius.

The Eagles had just acquired Jason Peters in a trade with the Buffalo Bills for three draft picks, including a 2009 first-rounder, and given the two-time Pro Bowl left tackle a six-year contract worth more than $60 million.

Those two actions alone provided a good idea as to what Andy Reid thought about Peters, but the Eagles' coach also put his feelings into words. Reid said that after studying tape of Peters he "came out feeling that he was the best left tackle in football."

Welcome to Philadelphia, Jason.

Enjoy the pressure.

"That just shows the appreciation he has for my game," Peters said of Reid. "[The Eagles] think highly of me as far as my game and my play on the field. Buffalo didn't do that."

Peters, entering his sixth NFL season, first appeared on Reid's radar as a senior at Arkansas. The Eagles were scouting his teammate Shawn Andrews, the Razorbacks' highly regarded right tackle, whom they eventually drafted. But it was difficult to miss the 300-pound tight end that lined up next to Andrews.

"I had seen a lot of Jason Peters back when he was in college," Reid said. "He was a tight end and you thought, 'This guy would be a heck of an offensive lineman.' He was huge. He was a great athlete and you thought, 'What kind of pulling guard would this guy be?' But I really didn't know him."

Peters ended up with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2004. By the middle of his second season, he was the Bills' starting right tackle. By the middle of his third year, he was the starting left tackle.

Reid hadn't forgotten about him.

The Eagles grade every player on every team, and when Reid glanced at Peters' scouting report two years ago it got his attention.

"I stay up on all that stuff," Reid said. "I have a notebook . . . that has all the teams and it is all color-coordinated."

The Eagles' color-coded scouting system was explained by Reid this way: "Blue is your highest grade, red is a very good starter, and red-plus is right on the edge of being a Pro Bowl player.

"If guys start jumping, my guys let me know that you might want to take a peek. I'm looking at our grades [on Peters] and this guy is a red-plus. As the season went on, he became a blue and I'm going, 'Wow, that's kind of a neat story.' That doesn't happen very often."

Peters' contract dispute with the Bills heightened the Eagles' interest.

"The thing that really caught our eye in here is that he was holding out," Reid said. "He wanted a new contract, so I'm telling our people, 'We better really know this guy.' "

The next step was for Eagles president Joe Banner to contact Bills general manager Russ Brandon. The first contact was made last summer, when Peters was in the midst of a holdout. Banner let Brandon know that if the Bills ever wanted to trade Peters, the Eagles would be interested.

Peters eventually reported to the Bills before the start of last season and then was named to a second straight Pro Bowl despite missing three games and allowing a league-high 111/2 sacks. Undaunted by his contract discontent, the Eagles completed the deal for Peters just before the draft.

"I was shocked," Peters said. "I had no clue. I had just told Buffalo I was going to play two more years there and I was done with them. And then my agent [Eugene Parker] called."

If Peters feels the pressure of being called the best left tackle in football by his coach, he didn't show it during training camp.

"I've been showing that the last four or five years I've been playing the position, so he didn't really have to say that," Peters said.

Furthermore, Peters said he believes it's true that he's the best.

"Of course," he said. "Everybody thinks they're the best when they step out on the field, whether it's left tackle, quarterback, whatever position. That's the mind-frame you have to take to be the best."

Peters' missed some time in his first Eagles training camp. He was sidelined by a thigh injury during the conditioning test on day one and missed the first week of camp. He aggravated that injury in the Eagles' first preseason game and missed the team's second game. He also allowed a sack in the first preseason game, against New England.

Nevertheless, Reid and the Eagles remain convinced that Peters is "the best left tackle" in the NFL, and they say that their offense will make it easier for him to be even better. Eagles offensive tackles line up in what is called a vertical set when pass blocking.

"It's very different," Peters said. "In Buffalo, I went at an angle, and [Eagles offensive line coach] Juan Castillo wants me to come straight back. That's the difference. It's 90 degrees as opposed to straight back. I think it will help me."


"As the game goes on in the fourth quarter, you're not going to be as tired," Peters said. "It's less energy going straight back. You have to dance with guys when you go at an angle."

Reid said Peters also will get more help from a tight end or running back than he got in Buffalo.

"It was one-on-one every play there," Peters said. "I didn't get any help. But I don't ask for help. I just get in there and block my guy."

With a new team and a new contract, Peters said he was in a good place.

"I'm at peace," he said. "But there's still pressure. Playing in this league, you always want to do well, especially when you set the bar high for yourself. You have to try to outdo yourself every year. I'm just eager to get the season started."