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Barbre Prepares For Life As A Starter

Posted Jul 26, 2014

As he enters his seventh NFL season, veteran offensive lineman Allen Barbre only has seven starts to his credit – all of them coming for the Green Bay Packers in 2007. Barring injury or something unforeseen, that will change when the 2014 regular season gets underway.

Head coach Chip Kelly wasted no time Saturday in declaring Barbre, 6-4, 310, the man to beat for the right tackle job in Lane Johnson's forthcoming absence. After proving his worth as the top backup on the offensive line last season, and excelling in his longest call to action when he replaced Jason Peters against the Green Bay Packers, Barbre was signed to an extension this offseason.

"We've seen Allen every day. He's been part of this thing going into his second year here," Kelly said Saturday. "We feel like he's a talented football player. He was really going to be pushing those (starters) if Lane wasn't (suspended), pushing all those other guys for playing time. When he's had an opportunity to perform, he did a great job. He did a great job, again, in the off season program. That's why we wanted to have him back here."

Kelly and Barbre actually share an interesting link in Eagles history, as the latter was the last player signed in the pre-Kelly era. Barbre signed with the Eagles on January 15, 2013 – one day before the Eagles announced the hiring of Kelly.

Beyond the trivia, Barbre takes the opportunity to start in stride.

"For them to show confidence enough in me to sign me, shows that they trust me. Now, I just come out and do my part," Barbre said. "I guess I don't really feel any different. I come out and work hard every day. Whether I'm a backup or whether I'm a starter, I want my team to trust me and I want to go out and play for my teammates."

In Barbre, the Eagles insert a veteran offensive lineman who has experience playing every offensive position except for center. Though Barbre admitted that he's spent more time on the left side, he doesn't believe there will be a dro-poff as he slides over and that he's still "comfortable" at right tackle.

"Al got his extension for a reason. I expect him to be like a starting caliber and I think he is. I think Al would start on a lot of teams in the NFL," said right guard Todd Herremans, who has experience himself switching from the left to right side of the offensive line. "I think he handled it really well. He's going to have to get a couple more repetitions to get the muscle memory down. I think he looked great today."

The ripple effect of the loss of Johnson, albeit temporary, was felt across an offensive line that started all 16 games together in 2013.

"It'll be real tough," said left tackle Jason Peters. "We have guys who can replace him, but that's Lane. Lane Johnson. A first-round pick. Real good athlete and he'll be key to the offense. To lose him, we've just got to come together and somebody's got to step up and fill his spot.

"It's not a big drop-off. Al can play. He's up for the challenge. He told me he's up for it. I'm going to help him out with everything that I can tell him to get him going."

Not necessarily a man of many words, Barbre was asked whether he'd like to become the permanent starter at right tackle.

"You know, I really can't tell you that," he said. I'll "just go out and play well and do my job and if I become a starter, if I play well enough to start, that's what I'm going to keep doing.

"I guess there would be something wrong with you if you didn't want to start."

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