Looking ahead, Philadelphia will need to address this area of the roster. Is it time to pick an offensive lineman in the draft? Should Peters move to guard? Does
Following the team’s season finale, Peters was adamant about one thing. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and potential future Hall of Fame lineman believes he remains the team’s top - and only - option at left tackle.
“I’m the best we got,” Peters said definitively. “Who they going to put there? Who’s better than me in this locker room? Nobody. Who can they draft better than me? Nobody. Who can they pick up better than me? Nobody. You’re going to get beat here and there. That’s a part of it. Part of this offense, I’m one-on-one every play. Ninety plays, 80 plays, get beat one or two times, that’s just part of it.”
Despite Peters' thoughts on the matter, where he lines up during the 2016 season will be up to the Eagles’ new head coach. If the 33-year-old were to move to guard, it would clear the way for Johnson to become the starter at left tackle and solidify that side of the line.
“If I got to play next to (Peters) if he did slide down to guard, that would be great,” Johnson said. “But, you’re talking about a guy who’s a Hall of Famer and eight-time Pro Bowler, so it’s hard for a guy to admit stuff. I think he’s done great this year. I think the guy has had to battle a deal of injuries and not used to being up to full speed and that stuff. I think this offseason he’ll get healthy and if he’s playing left (tackle) that’ll be great. If we play next to each other, that may be even better. We’ll see.”
Throughout the course of the year, Peters was inactive twice and in an additional three games played fewer than 20 percent of the offensive snaps. In those five matchups, the Eagles finished with a 1-4 record.
While the team as a whole had injuries and issues across the board, it’s clear that the impact of Peters’ absence was significant. If Peters is convinced to move inside, he will be an asset to Johnson’s development. It will provide an opportunity for Peters to pass on his left tackle knowledge to Johnson while playing directly next to him every play. Plus, who better for Johnson to continue learning tricks of the trade from than Peters?
“We’re good friends,” Johnson said. “Anything I can learn from him … A lot of stuff that he does, I develop my game. The jump sets, everything that he’s done, I just watch from him and try to learn from him.”
Clearly, the Eagles need to evaluate more than just the left tackle position when determining the direction of this offensive line. However, solidifying that position, as well as the roles of Johnson and Peters, will be on the to-do list for whomever takes over as head coach. And, that individual will certainly know Peters’ opinion on the matter.
“I want to be here,” he said. “I still got gas in the tank.”