LaneandChlesea

Eagles O-Line getting lighter and faster…

Anyone who knows me knows I like my Iggles offensive linemen BIG, FAT AND MEAN….

But the current trend in the NFL is toward zone-blocking, which means LEAN AND TRIM AND QUICK… and the Eagles are committed to that trend. There's no way around it. The day of the semi-athletic toilet-cloggers is over…at least in Philly and a host of other NFL cities. Maybe Houston is the best example of what a trim athletic offensive line can produce in the way of offensive production—not to mention the career of Arian Foster.

The Chippah wants a sleek offensive line. So be it.

So here we are.

Lane Johnson is a case in point. For a big guy, he's pretty lean and quick.

There he is with his beautiful new bride Chelsea—and she's certainly fitting the bill on the lean side.

Congrats to Lane and Chelsea…

And as a wedding present to the Johnsons, I promise to get totally with the program…

I am going to root for the fast and the furious theory of O-Linemen…

It was easier back in the day— big guys like Bob Brown or Jon Runyan would just blast open holes straight up.

But now we as fans have to calculate movement and interactive patterns of blocking on the offensive line.

I guess it's like moving on from payphones to learning how to use a cell-phone.

Jordan Raanan of the New Jersey Times put it better than I could:

"Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Todd Herremans, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Danny Watkins, Julian Vandervelde, Matt Tobin, Dallas Reynolds, Dennis Kelly, Matt Tennant, Kyle Quinn, Nic Purcell, Nate Menkin, Allen Barbie, Ed Wang, Matt Kopa…"

"The Eagles offensive line hasn't changed much. Four of the five starters were projected to be there last year until injuries wrecked the plans. First-round pick Lane Johnson is the only new face on the first team this season. "

"It worked out pretty well for new coach Chip Kelly. The returning linemen fit what Kelly is trying to do with the Eagles. Jason Peters is one of the most athletic tackles in the league, if healthy. Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis are extremely mobile guards. Jason Kelce moves better than just about any center in the league. "

So despite a drastic roster turnover since Kelly's hiring, the offensive line looks very much the same, especially on the top line. Below some of the names may have changed, but the numbers have pretty much remained the same.

The Eagles offensive line as a whole is almost identical in height, age and experience to last year. The only difference is that they've dropped a few pounds in order to better fit Kelly's super-fast-paced offense.

 

  OL Avg. Height Avg. Weight Avg. Age Avg. Experience
2013 17 6-foot-4½ 308.5 pounds 26.1 years old 3.4 years
2012 16 6-foot-4½ 312 pounds 26 years old 3.4 years

If anything, Kelly appears to be trying to get more athletic and mobile on the offensive line than the Eagles were in the past. To do that, he's added lighter linemen with better mobility. The four rookies (Johnson, Tobin, Quinn and Purcell) on the roster are all 310 pounds or less. They can all move well.

Exect to see even more of this going forward. And expect some of the Eagles' veteran offensive linemen to check in at camp minus a few pounds as well.

Jason Peters was a solid 345 in April. He wants to play at 320 this season. Lighter is apparently better for these Eagles offensive linemen.

Lighter is better? That's definitely a culture change for me. If you had known me 10 years ago, I would have bet my Eagles Eyeball that our linemen would be averaging 360 pounds apiece going into the 2013 season.

Such is life. It's all about change…adaptation…and going with the flow.

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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