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Mathis Practices At Center

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Dallas Reynolds, who has started every game at center for the Eagles since replacing an injured Jason Kelce in Week 2, did not practice Wednesday because of an ankle sprain. In his stead, Evan Mathis, the only offensive lineman who has started every game this season, slid to center while Danny Watkins took Mathis' old spot at left guard.

The center position isn't completely foreign to Mathis, who played a few games at the position early in his college career at Alabama, though he has yet to take an NFL regular season snap in the middle. Still, Mathis said that if he is called upon to start at center Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys he expects the transition to be seamless.

"It better be," he said. "I expect a lot out of myself, so that's what I'm trying to deliver."

Other than physically snapping the ball to the quarterback, the biggest adjustment from guard to center has to do with making the pre-snap reads and calls. Knowing all along that he's been the team's emergency center, Mathis has been attending the weekly meetings for centers and quarterbacks all season long.

The veteran said that preparation has rubbed off on him during games, as he will sometimes find himself diagnosing defenses like a center before the snap even at his left guard position.

"For the most part," he said. "Some plays I'm thinking about more guard stuff, but usually my process is seeing the big picture."

Though the Eagles do have another center on the roster in Matt Tennant, the decision to go with Mathis would allow Watkins to return to the field as a starter for the first time since Week 6. As for Mathis, he's just happy to help out where he can.

"I like playing football anywhere you need me," he said.

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