When the Eagles said that Demetress Bell would have to beat out King Dunlap to replace Jason Peters as the team’s starting left tackle, it sounded like a bit of lip service meant to make sure Bell didn’t take anything for granted.
After all, the Eagles already knew what Dunlap could do and it wouldn’t make much sense to spend $3.25 million on Bell as a free agent unless they were convinced that he was an obvious and unassailable improvement over Dunlap. It’s not hard to figure out why they might have thought that would be the case. Dunlap’s got optimal size, but his seven starts over the last two seasons have provided little no evidence that he’s got the chops to hold things down on more than an emergency basis.
If that’s what the Eagles thought, though, they’ve been proven wrong. Dunlap will start for the second straight week when the Eagles face the Browns on Friday night, which indicates that he did enough against the Patriots to make the team think he’s the better man for the job this season. We can’t be sure that things will remain that way, but we’re feeling pretty certain that Bell isn’t going to cash in on that $8.5 million roster bonus for next season that the Eagles gave him.
The Eagles will have a new right tackle on Friday night, although Todd Herremans will be there come the regular season. He’ll miss Friday night’s game because of a death in the family, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rookie Dennis Kelly will take his place.