New-look Eagles line ready to be unveiled

The Philadelphia Eagles have worked their way onto many experts’ short lists of contenders for the NFC championship.

And the Eagles have earned this distinction despite the indefinite absence of long-time defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who is battling cancer, the gradual disintegration of the legs of running back Brian Westbrook, who is expected to miss most of training camp and the preseason after undergoing ankle surgery, and the departure of defensive leader Brian Dawkins, who fled for Denver after supposedly being low-balled by the Birds.

The Eagles also are viewed by many to be on the fast-track to a February date in Miami despite a fairly dramatic overhaul along the offensive line.  Gone are long-term left and right tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan.  In their places will go newcomer Jason Peters, who whined his way out of Buffalo, and Shawn Andrews, who pissed and moaned his way out of training camp a year ago.

Replacing Shawn Andrews at right guard is his brother, Stacy, a right tackle in Cincinnati who scored a huge free-agent deal, despite tearing an ACL in December.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer takes an extended look at the new-look line.  Among other things, Brookover explains that center Jamaal Jackson believes the revamped collection of blockers will help to improve the running game.

Still, Jackson realizes that it will be crucial for the new lineup to learn how to work together. 

“The chemistry part of it is going to be a big challenge just because
Stacy Andrews wasn’t able to compete with us during minicamps,” Jackson
said.  “But that’s what training camp is for.  I felt like Jason picked
things up pretty good as far as how we do things on the offensive line. 
Him and Todd [Herremans] worked pretty well together on the left side, and I think
Shawn is doing a good job.” 

But while every team can find reason to be optimism when all 32 are residing in the valley of zero and zero, the more we think about the situation in Philly, the more we wonder how in the heck so many people are presuming that they’ll be so thickly in the mix come January.

Let’s face it — this is a squad that most had written off on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, after a devastating loss to the Ravens, during which quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched for the first time in his career, seemed to grease the skids for the exit of both McNabb and coach Andy Reid after the season.

And so the high expectations possibly could lead to that outcome a year later, unless the Eagles can overcome the absence of Johnson, the rickety knee and ankle of Westbrook, the disappearance of Dawkins, and a fairly dramatic shuffling of parts along the wall of beef charged with the duty of keeping McNabb on his feet.

47 responses to “New-look Eagles line ready to be unveiled

  1. blah blah blah eagles this eagles that blah blah blah…they will NEVER win a championship…so glad the media is in their jocks this year…’09 Eagles= EPIC FAIL

  2. “…and the departure of defensive leader Brian Dawkins, who fled for Denver after supposedly being low-balled by the Birds.”
    So Florio, if you were the GM for the Broncos, would you give up the kind of guaranteed money Denver is for an aging safety that can’t cover?
    The Birds are one of the cheapest organizations, true — but given that McDaniels and company are a walking talking blunder factory, I’m shocked that the “Eagles lowballed Dawkins” theme stuck.
    I hate the Birds FO, but I think it’s more like “The Eagles weren’t going to break the bank by outbidding a horrible contract offer by Denver”.
    But you have to stir the pot, and if it’s not Eagles/Giants/Cowboys/Patriots/Steelers, it’s not getting comments.

  3. At the end of the day, it the song remains the same…..
    No Super Bowls won in Philly, only disappointment…
    Last Championship – 1960 – 50 seasons ago and counting

  4. The reasons are simple, Johnson’s protege Sean McDermott has nestled at his feet for 10 years and knows his system, Dawkins was a great leader but at 35 he was a liability on coverage and the eagles have quality to replace him, Westbrook may be on the downside, but they got to the nfc championship with him rickety last year so he can’t be any worse, and with Weaver and McCoy, and the new better run blocking line. they should actually have better rushing yards next year. mcNab is seen as healthy and mentally strong, Jackson, Maclin, Curtis, Avant and Baskett are the best group of receivers in the NFC east, Cowboys are on the downside, Giants lost Tomer and Plax and the Redskins, well. So if the o-line gels, the Eagles should score a boatload even if the Defense is a bit weaker.

  5. The Andrews Sisters/Brothers are either fat, depressed or in the case of sister Stacey, outright suck!!—-Get ready to scramble out of that pocket McScab…

  6. It’s a stretch to say the Iggles are going to go the distance. For one thing they play in the toughest division in football where it’s a toss up. Yes they have a good young line they’ll be building on for years. But they had a good line before the changeover too.

  7. Florio, Shaun Andrews never played RT for the Eagles yet, so Stacy won’t be replacing him at RT. He is supposed to replace Shawn at RG and Shaawn will slide outside to right tackle

  8. Come on Florio, you don’t have any confidence in the Birds? I think the thing I’m most worried has to do with JJ not being there, not so much the actual players. I’m still not 100% convinced of “Fraction” Jackson, though. Maybe 95%.

  9. The only update that matters.
    List of SuperBowl Champions:
    I – not the Eagles
    II – not the Eagles
    III – not the Eagles
    IV – not the Eagles
    V – not the Eagles
    VI – not the Eagles
    VII – not the Eagles
    VIII – not the Eagles
    IX – not the Eagles
    X – not the Eagles
    XI – not the Eagles
    XII – not the Eagles
    XIII – not the Eagles
    XIV – not the Eagles
    XV – not the Eagles
    XVI – not the Eagles
    XVII – not the Eagles
    XVIII – not the Eagles
    XIX – not the Eagles
    XX – not the Eagles
    XXI – not the Eagles
    XXII – not the Eagles
    XXIII – not the Eagles
    XXIV – not the Eagles
    XXV – not the Eagles
    XXVI – not the Eagles
    XXVII – not the Eagles
    XXVIII – not the Eagles
    XXIX – not the Eagles
    XXX – not the Eagles
    XXXI – not the Eagles
    XXXII – not the Eagles
    XXXIII – not the Eagles
    XXXIV – not the Eagles
    XXXV – not the Eagles
    XXXVI – not the Eagles
    XXXVII – not the Eagles
    XXXVIII – not the Eagles
    XXXIX – not the Eagles
    XL – not the Eagles
    XLI – not the Eagles
    XLII – not the Eagles
    XLIII – not the Eagles

  10. You neglected to mention that they got McCoy to take some pressure off Westbrook and have their most talented recieving corps in years(including T.O.’s time) with Jackson, Maclin and Curtis. Their O-line despite some character concerns is also much improved, and the defense has two emerging stars in Bradley and Mikell. McNabb also upped his game down the stretch last year and should go well again with the improved talent around him. I’d rate the Eagles as the best team in the NFC

  11. Although i certainly agree that its toss up his year in the NFC, i think it is common sense to say the eagles are the favorites. They made it to the conference championship game last year and then this off season improved at every position of the team (except for dawkins departure). Too many improvements to list (another year for jackson, maclin, a healthy kevin curtis, mccoy at running back, 3 husky men on the OL), meanwhile the giants stayed the same as last year, the cowboys took a step back, and the redskins…. well they are the redskins! NFC East will definitely produce the NFC rep this year, and i couldn’t blame anyone for saying the Eagles will be that team.
    But as we all know, it never ends up the way the “experts” say it will. But the eagles are on he right track… you cant argue with their moves this off season, its been a pleasure for everyone in eagles territory.

  12. Actually Florio I’m not going to sit here and rah-rah like some of these other guys. You mention some very valuable facts. The Eagles were very fortunate to get the stars to align they way they did last year. This is a major makeover for this team. I mean they aren’t even in the playoffs if Tampa Bay just takes care of business against OAKLAND. They came across a Giants team that was injured and didn’t know themselves without Plaxico, and a Vikings team with no QB. This shouldn’t be one of the favorites and the fact that they are is not a good sign. I’m not looking forward to this season at all.

  13. they will NEVER win a championship…
    Ya know ninj, if that came from anybody but you I might not have believed it. Thanks for reminding me why I didn’t have kids.

  14. I see right through you Florio. You know that any negative article about any of the four NFC East teams will fire up the readers.
    However, you raise some good points. As an Eagles fan, I am worried about the same things. There is no doubt the offensive line will be better, T. Thomas was very inconsistent these last two years and Runyon definetely lost a step. I don’t know anything about Stacy Andrews, but The other four will be fantastic. Dawkins and J.J. not being there are concerns that all Eagles fans have. But to say the Eagles “low-balled” Dawkins is just an uncalled for low blow and you know it.

  15. Thanks for reminding me why I didn’t have kids.
    yeah i was watching tv when i wrote that….i meant superbowl…nonetheless, thanks for reminding me why i hate the eagles and their fans….
    cowboys=13 seasons without a playoff win
    eagles=a lifetime without a superbowl win
    ill stick with my team

  16. Florio, maybe you spent too much time in the sun on vacation because it has fried your brains.
    Sure the stars aligned for us last year, but if the Eagles aren’t one of the NFC favorites, tell me, who’s being overlooked? You can try to overhype Philly all you want, but only NFC teams stand in the way of getting to the Superbowl.
    Sure we’ve got a new O-line, but we’re younger, stronger and faster. They’ll work on the chemisty starting in a couple weeks…
    Sure Brian Westbrook will be an injury concern, but hasn’t this been the case for the past 3 or 4 years. You can count Westy to play about 12 games and rack up 800 rushing yards, 80 REC, and 10 TDs. Didnt he put up career TD numbers last year?? Plus, we got McCoy, who is gonna turn heads and ankles this year. I think we miss Buckhalter a little this year.
    And of course, we’ve still got a veteran QB in McNabb, who is coming off a great year statistically where he miraculously played the entire season without getting hurt. He’s also got how many playoff games under his belt? As an Eagles fan, I know that McNabb gets tired sometimes and throws balls at WR’s feet other times, but he has proven he can win playoff games… Even if it is against crappy NFC teams such as the Vikings minus a decent QB and Giants minus Plaxico….
    Of course we will miss Dawkins (maybe not in coverage tho) and Jim Johnson, but the Defense will be fine. Count on another top 10 season.
    Philly has the talent to get it done in the NFC.

  17. The Eagles again will disappoint. The same reason this year has been the same every year- McNabb. He will play just enough to get them to the Championship Game, then self-destruct.

  18. Lay off Mcnabb, the Eagles are a creative unit and will find an entirely new way to self destruct this season. If anybody is familiar with Sav Roccas football career in Australia then you would bank on a muffed punt or fumbled snap that will lead to the Eagles being bounced out of the playoffs. Sav wrote the book on making mistakes at key moments, why do you think he left Australia.

  19. ninjaneer says:
    July 19, 2009 7:22 PM
    cowboys=13 seasons without a playoff win
    eagles=a lifetime without a superbowl win
    ill stick with my team
    I’m sure in your 15 years on this planet you’ve probably seen some NFL history either on the web or on TV, but the Eagles have 3 titles. 2 of which were by back to back shut out scores (no other team in NFL history has done that).
    Also, there’s no such thing as a ‘superbowl’.
    Now, if you decide to discount the Eagles 3 NFL championships because they weren’t named “Super Bowl” then you must also discount every single championship the Packers had before 1996. You must discount the Jets championship from the 1968 season and you must discount all NFL history prior to 1970.
    Of course with you being 15 I’m sure you discount all history of any kind prior to your birth date in 1994.

  20. Jacal, the FO is not cheap. It is such an easy thing to say. It is not cheap when they give McNabb and Wesbrook money that they did not need to. Not cheap when they sign FA like Runyan, Asante, and Kearse.
    If you have a problem, it is with personell decisions. Don’t take the lazy “cheap” way out.

  21. ill stick with my team
    Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to change your mind? I’m devestated.

  22. IndyEagleFan:
    I”ll tell you everything you need to know about Stacy Andrews. Huge man who barley played in college. Marvin tried to show him how to play the game and was effective when playing in short stints off the bench. Last season was his chance to start and he was fat and slow getting off the ball showing little surge in the running game, and getting beat reguarly in pass coverage. That was before his ACL exploded. Maybe the move to guard will do him good and eliminate some of his responsibility. When you are a lineman, knees are golden and you usually don’t play better after one of your major lig’s tears. Don’t get your hopes up, that o-line is in some trouble.

  23. Left Tackle- JAson Peters- in only playing for the money, and since he got paid, he has no more motivation to produce and will slack off and mail it in.
    Left guard- Todd Herremans- he thinks he’s some sueprstar, and was in the philly papers for some bachelor b.s., this guy thinks he should be an all-pro left tackle, even though he is an average guard.
    center- jamal jackson- below average center with sloppy shotgun snaps and can’t handle elite nose tackles.
    right guard- stacy andrews- broklen leg, messed up injury ailments.
    right tackle shawn andrews- more worried about sponge bob pajamas than he is about football, the guy is a headcase, has too many rumours circiling around his game and his preference for you know what.
    nick cole = 5-foot-11 340 lb. fat mess who is only good as a goalline fullback
    winston justice- biggest o-line bust since robert gallery
    max jean-gilles- another wasted andy reid 2nd round pick.

  24. It’s hilarious when people say “such and such a team will never win a Super Bowl”. Never? Super Bowls will continue to go on long after we’re all dead. I’m sure every team or close to it will win a Super Bowl in the next 50 years.

  25. I have a feeling you think the Eagles were a bad team last year that got on a lucky roll at the right time. When in my opinion it was the other way around they were a good team that had an unlucky streak but pulled it together when it mattered.
    The things/people that hurt the Eagles last year are the ones that are gone now. Which you seem to think is a bad thing and is going to hold them back?
    Lets start with the the 2 tackles Runyan Thomas they were both getting old and getting injured more and more. There age and fleeting talent are one of the reason why Westbrooks legs are the way they are. They couldnt run block anymore so westbrook would get crushed and on passing plays they werent picking up there blocks like years past so then westbrook would have to take on a 250lb Linebacker with a 10 yard head start. I dont care if you superman no ones body can hold up to that, but now it wont have to. As long as his prior injuries arent perminent ones and his surgeries are successful his new line will keep him healthy. ill admitt it is possible that the injuries wont go away but just b/c its happened to other runningbacks in the league doesn’t mean its going to happen to Westbrook. For every Shaun Alexander falling apart theres a Emmitt Smith going strong. But worst case scenerio Westbrook is only 50% as good as before(Which is still better then most)thats why they made a trade for Booker and drafted McCoy. 1 for insurance and 2 for easing Brian’s workload. Also theres still many talented vets out there looking for a job.
    So now we got two younger faster stronger guys to replace our old tackles and take some pressure off of westbrooks legs. And dont tell me how hard its going to be b/c they dont have chemistry yet. The last 2-3 years the Eagles have had tons of guys having to start for the 1st time on the line b/c of injuries and they did just fine Juan Castillo is the best ol coach in the game and he’ll get it done.
    Then what about dawkins yes he was the heart of the team but he taught Mikell all he knows and Asante is a year with the Team and isnt afraid to lead. Talent wise tho i rather have a combination of Quinton Mikell/Sean Jones or Quinton Demps at safety then Dawkins and Mikell. Jones and Demps could never lead better then Dawkins but as of right now they can play better.
    LJ Smith attitude and ego hurt this team and Celek and Ingram are a very welcomed upgrade.
    Then Finally Jim Johnson He’ll be missed. But you make it seem like he came out and said hes not coaching at all this year. As far as anyone knows he could be back in 2 weeks. Even if hes not on the field hes not going to let the team fall flat he taught Mcdermott good and will continue helping the defense even if he cant be there physically. Also the scheme isnt changing the Eagles are still running JJ’s defense McDermott is basically just a pinch talker. Also they got Brain Stewart to help out whose a good DCordinator in his own right. But lets be honest too the last couple of years JJ’s blitz schemes werent getting the job done like before.
    So Florio where u see turmoil I see talent, youth, new prespective, and some much need R&R for pros like JJ and BWest.

  26. What’s with all the Eagles hate? I am not sure why Florio is yelling at the fans for all this hype. Its all of the “experts” that are hyping the Eagles and most aren’t even doing it that much. Most power rankings I’ve seen recently have the Giants ahead of them, which I don’t understand. Yes, the Giants get back some defensive pieces they didn’t have last year but they lost a huge offensive piece in Plax and then lost Ward to free agency.
    Florio, if there is any hype you should be angry with its all the press the Patriots are getting! Didn’t you know that the Patriots are going to be the best offensive team in the NFL this year and are obviously going to win the Super Bowl now that Tom is healthy. This is the garbage I’ve been listening to in between Favre’s love affair with the Vikes. Brady tore not only his ACL but also his MCL and will only be ONE year removed from the injury by the start of the season. How can people already be saying the Patriots are the team to beat? Just because Brady can run around in shorts doesn’t mean he’s football healthy. If the “experts” can get away with saying this about the Pats then I think what they’re saying about the Eagles is fine.

  27. Ninja, I’m surprised you haven’t left the boat after spending all thirteen years of your life watching the Cowboys end the season on time.

  28. to the ignorant eagles fan…
    how do you get that my idea of a lifetime is 15 years? is that how many super bowls have been played up to date?
    the cowboys have only been around since 1960 so i guess your team having “championships” before our existence gives you a lot to brag about…btw it wasnt even the same game back then…
    we could go back and forth all night but this will be it for me…have fun in perpetual disappointment…what a way to live

  29. It’s not entirely fair to say that Shawn Andrews “Pissed and moaned” his way out of training camp. The man suffered from depression, and really, like AIDS a half-generation ago, the more folks like Florio mock it the worse the problem becomes…
    On another note, Philly has to be in everyone’s top 3 in the NFC, don’t they? I mean, they proved that they are better than the Giants w/o Plax, the Cowboys lost talent, and Washington can’t get out of their own way.
    ‘Zona is definitely a real contender, but outside of them, who else can one look to as a legit contender ahead of Philly? Maybe Minny w/ Favre. I guess NO is in the picture. ATL is in the mix too. But Philly’s chances are better than NO and ATL’s, correct?

  30. I am amazed at all the Eagles fans that think their O line has been “vastly improved” and will be “amazing”. They haven’t played one snap together in a regular season game and the Philly boys want them to all go to the Pro Bowl. Can they great? Sure. They may also be awful. The most likely scenario is that it will take a full season for them to know each other’s tendencies, pickups, strengths, etc., etc. before any of us really know how they will perform together. What works against the Eagles, is while these guys are adjusting, they play four games against very solid and agressive D lines (Giants & Skins) and two against arguably the best pass rusher in the League (Ware – Dallas). Since McNabb is no longer a young man and has had some injury issues, that O line needs to be rock solid. We’ll know more come November. In the meantime, I think it’s premature to say that any one team has a lock on the NFC East. I think you can make strong cases why all four teams could come in first place and why all four could finish last.

  31. “What’s with all the Eagles hate?” Overall, the Eagles have been picked to be the best team in the NFC East by the media, if not the best team in the NFC overall. This is simply another viewpoint-hell if everyone was picking my team to have a automatic berth to the Super Bowl, I’d be worried. (ala Cowboys) And as for the Giants “getting back some defensive pieces.” They just added a LB who can cover in Michael Boley (who admittedly will be out until the first few weeks with hip surgery/suspension), DT Chris Canty, and DT Rocky Benard. That’s with out taking into account DE Osi Umenyiora coming back to a line which finished 5th in the league in sacks last year.
    As for other ‘insulted’ Eagles fans who want to make a case for rookies coming in and contributing to the team right away, the Giants can play that game as well. Hakeem Nicks was considered the most NFL ready of the WR’s in this years draft. They also got bigger in ‘Red Zone’ situations with the picks of 6 6 WR Ramses Barden, and 6 3 TE Travis Beckum. Ward will be replaced by RBs Andre Brown or Andre Ware, (the strength of the Giants has always been their run game and their ability to run block, regardless of what back has the rock) and a great OL got greater depth with the addition of LT William Beatty.
    The Eagles are picked time and time again to be a contender in the NFC and with good reason–they are a excellent franchise. But to take such issue with someone questioning whether or not a brain trust that has YET to win a Super Bowl–is confusing.

  32. good thing you guys know how to read, and look real smart trying to correct Florio. He said that Shawn is sliding from right GUARD to right TACKLE and Stacy is REPLACING him at his old position of right GUARD.

  33. “In their places will go newcomer Jason Peters, who whined his way out of Buffalo, and Shawn Andrews, who pissed and moaned his way out of training camp a year ago.”
    Florio, Shawn Andrews was suffering from depression, which is a very serious matter. He didn’t “piss and moan” his way out of training camp. The man seriously had issued that needed to be dealt with and it’s a shame that you make light of the matter.
    To everyone saying that the Eagles shouldn’t have been in the playoffs last year, just take a look at what they did when they did get into the playoffs. The went all the way to the NFC championship game as a wild card (the last wild card team, btw) and if they hadn’t blown the 2nd half against Arizona, would have gone to the Super Bowl. Maybe the stars aligned last year for them, but they proved they deserved to be there in the end.
    As for this season, I have my doubts once again about the offense, but Runyan and Tra were getting older and their worth on the free agent market shows that. Peters and Stacey, although they are questions marks, should be solid on the line for McNabb and if McCoy can take pressure off of Westbrook, I think they can easily win the NFC East. Who else is going to compete in the NFC East, seriously?

  34. “Now, if you decide to discount the Eagles 3 NFL championships because they weren’t named “Super Bowl” then you must also discount every single championship the Packers had before 1996. You must discount the Jets championship from the 1968 season and you must discount all NFL history prior to 1970.”
    Are you gonna apply that logic to playoff wins? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  35. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the Eagles do this year. The haters gonna hate. If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, its just gonna change the argument from ‘They’ve never won the Super Bowl” to “Well… the Cowboys and Giants still have more rings…”
    Theres no point in arguing, but you nay sayers act like this O-Line is comprised of rookies we’re putting all of our faith in. They’ve all played at a decently high level in the NFL in the past.
    No matter what team is pegged to be the ‘best’ in the division/conference/league on a given year, that team’s rival fans will always hate no matter what. Just so happens that the Eagle’s rivals are 3 of the largest football markets and fanbases… makes sense there is lots of haters.

  36. VoxVeritas says:
    July 20, 2009 9:45 AM
    “Now, if you decide to discount the Eagles 3 NFL championships because they weren’t named “Super Bowl” then you must also discount every single championship the Packers had before 1996. You must discount the Jets championship from the 1968 season and you must discount all NFL history prior to 1970.”
    Are you gonna apply that logic to playoff wins? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
    I personally am going to choose to look at the current season, like always. And then when you (and other Cowboy fans) talk about how the Eagles suck because they have no superbowls, remind you that the Cowboys are terrible in the last 13 years andyou accept mediocrity.

  37. east96st – Yo see I like what you said i respect that . For the most part Eagles fans arent going out saying how great there line is going to be. There doing like you said and talking about potential not fact. Its just when everyone gets on these sites saying there going to sucks thats when the Eagles fans come and get all defense and start saying crazy shit.
    But when its just Eagles fans talking to each other there not bragging about how good the team is gonna be. They start bring up all the things you said plus more of the things that could go wrong. Everyone knows that Eagles fans and the philly media are extremely critical on of our teams especially the Eagles. Trust me most of us think we have a good team and have the potential to win the division, the NFCCG, or Superbowl but we also know how quick things can change. Us Eagles fans are going to break the team down. Complain about how the o line doesnt no each other enough, how westbrook get hurts, how donovan over or under throws the ball to much, the red zone problems, the 3rd and 1 plays they never convert, Jim Johnson being sick etc. Were not the ones crowning the Eagles already its jackass analyst that have to fill the void between now and training camp but we will be the 1st ones to defend our team when we need to.
    But I will say this right now you cant go by what might go right you can only go by what might go wrong. And at the end of the day the Eagles potential problems pale in comparisson to the rest of the league or atleast 95% of its.
    If the ComcastSportsNet, NFL, or the ESPN’s of the world shined a spot light on all the Eagle haters favorite team’s the fans would be a wreck thinking they had the worst team in the league.

  38. Smush —
    The FO knows how to pay when they need to pay, yes, but they’re still a cheap organization. It IS about the bottom line, and squeezing every dime they can out of the business that is the Philadelphia Eagles. But I don’t think there’s really a balance – you either spend too much, or you’re cheap. I’d much rather have my team be Joe Banner cheap than Dan Snyder spending.

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