Criticisms of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz this season are justified. He has usually stunk.
But this asterisk must be applied: The Eagles offensive line has been a shambolic patchwork all season long.
When the Eagles play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night (8:15 p.m. ET, TSN via ESPN) they will start their eighth different five-man O-line combination in 11 games. Mostly because of endless injuries, but poor-performance reasons too.
On Saturday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed reports that veteran left tackle Jason Peters is moving to right guard for this game and that up-and-coming Jordan Mailata — a former pro rugby player from Australia — will start at that pivotal, quarterback-protecting spot.
Just five days earlier Pederson had said Peters would remain at left tackle going forward. Why the change of heart?
“Lane Johnson,” Pederson said, in reference to one of the league’s best right tackles, whom the club finally shut down for the season this past week with an ankle injury.
Philly’s starting O-line against the Seahawks, left to right, will be Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Peters and Matt Pryor. All have taken a lot of reps this season, or are veteran players.
How can the offence perform consistently from week to week when the line combo changes practically by the week?
“I mean, it’s a challenge,” Pederson said. “It is a challenge to get that continuity, and that consistency. But having played together gives them confidence to play as a unit. Quite frankly, we can’t worry about that. I mean, obviously Seattle and our opponents the rest of the year aren’t going to worry about that. We still have to go play and execute.”
There had been buzz that top tight end Zach Ertz would return Monday night and start for the first time since Oct. 18, when he suffered an ankle injury. But apparently that’s not happening.
“No setback,” Pederson said. “I was optimistic … Just the fact that he won’t be ready.”
Reports on the weekend said the Eagles planned to give rookie dual-threat backup Jalen Hurts specific plays to run — without Wentz on the field.
Before those reports came out Saturday, Pederson was asked if Hurts received more practice reps during the week. Answer? Not any more than he would have got “throughout the course of the week normally since we’ve been playing him,” Pederson said.
“I’m not going to reveal any game-plan plans with him at this time.”
The game means a lot to both teams.
The Eagles are 3-6-1, a half-game out of first place in the NFC East. With a win they’d jump into top spot.
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