Philadelphia Eagles News

5 Things: Contingency Plans For The O-Line

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It was a hot one on Saturday morning as the Eagles took the field for the first time since their Thursday night game with temperatures in the mid-90s and humidity making it feel like 110 degrees. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways from the practice ...

1. The Offensive Line Shuffle

The offensive line had a bit of a new look as Allen Barbre shifted to take right tackle reps with the first-team offense and Issac Seumalo took Barbre's place at left guard. With the possibility of losing Lane Johnson for the first 10 games of the season still very real due to a possible suspension, the Eagles are ensuring their O-line is prepared.

"I wanted to see Isaac at left guard with the ones. I wanted to see Allen at right tackle," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I wanted to see Barrett Jones at center. It's that time of camp now where we start shuffling some guys around up front to just see where we're at and see guys play in multiple spots."

Pederson also noted the team could look to Matt Tobin or rookie Halapoulivaati Viatai to fill in at right tackle.

"I think it would behoove me to have a plan, yeah, for sure," Pederson said. "Again, it just goes back to giving these guys an opportunity to get them on tape, to make the corrections now, so that down the road we're prepared for it."

2. Rookie Isaac Seumalo Works With The Starters

It's possible that come Week 1 of the season, Seumalo starts at left guard for the Eagles, which is why the reps he's taking right now are so vital.

Following his first preseason game though, the rookie knows he needs to improve. According to Seumalo, he was overthinking, too slow and not playing as well as he can. But, he's glad to be getting the mistakes out of the way now as opposed to later.

"It's all up from here," Seumalo said. "I'll get all that out of the way, go out there and play ball and leave it all out there.

"I think everybody knows that when you come in, that you've got to be ready to play because whatever happens, happens. From there, I'll be waiting, ready to go if I get the call."

"He's a guy that's really challenging to play," Pederson said of the rookie. "He's a young guy that again knows his assignments, good fundamentally technician. Just again, want to put him in positions where he can be successful and help us down the road."

3. Allen Barbre Has Been In Johnson's Spot Before

Allen Barbre knows what it's like to be in Lane Johnson's situation.

In 2012, Barbre was suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs. The suspension ended up costing Barbre his roster spot on the Seattle Seahawks.

"You need your supplements to recover, so you have to be careful what you're taking," Barbre said. "I wasn't aware of what was in mine, you just have to be careful."

With reports that Johnson is facing a 10-game suspension, Barbre spent practice doing something he had done two years ago – playing at right tackle.

"It's still tackle. Still the same position, just kind of getting familiar with the scheme and everything," Barbre said. "It's kind of flipping things in my head and doing different stuff in total different positions. It's taking a little bit."

In 2014, Johnson was suspended for the first four games of his sophomore season and Barbre began the season at right tackle. However, Barbre's season was cut short after suffering a severe ankle injury in the Eagles' season opener. Fortunately, he doesn't appear rattled about stepping in at right tackle again.

"I'm definitely going to approach it the same. I think my approach is just going out and working hard every day and putting my best foot forward," Barbre said. "I'm still going to go out and give my best regardless if it's four games or one game or 16 games."

Although Barbre has spent most of his NFL experience on the left side of the offensive line, he believes with practice and strong effort he can be effective on the opposite side.

"Personally, I feel I'm better (on the left), but I'm still going to go out and work hard every day. That's the only way to get better," Barbre said. "I played a lot of snaps at left so naturally I'm more comfortable there, but if I go out and work hard every day on right maybe I'll be comfortable there too someday."

4. Jenkins, Peters Return To Action

Following practice, Pederson also updated the team's injury situation, including those of Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Brooks, Jason Peters and Wendell Smallwood. All were limited as they returned to the field.

"The plan for all those guys was warmups, individual, a little group install and then get them off the field, get them back in the training room," Pederson said.

The head coach also gave a quick update on rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who did not throw on Saturday.

"Watching the game the other night, he took a shot like next-to-last play. Got up a little bit slow," Pederson explained. "He's just sore today and we just wanted to protect him, so he didn't throw. It's his rib area, his right side."

Wentz is expected to be back throwing for tomorrow night's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

UPDATE: The Eagles announced that Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs, but hope that he can return before the end of the preseason.

It was one of the hottest days of Eagles Camp thus far, but the quarterbacks kept up the intensity at practice in full pads.

5. Sam Bradford Defends The Receivers

The Eagles' quarterbacks combined for 114 yards passing in the preseason opener on Thursday night. At wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Rueben Randle were targeted a total of seven times resulting in three catches for 11 yards. It's certainly not the production that the team hoped for as the depth at the position is still being sorted out. Quarterback Sam Bradford came to the defense of the wide receivers on Saturday.

"I think our guys have done a good job to this point in camp. They've taken advantage of some of the matchups on the outside. I don't think you can look at one preseason game and say that, 'Oh, it's been a terrible camp,' or they're not playing well," Bradford said.

"It's a small sample size. We didn't game plan. There were a couple of balls that could have been caught. I thought for the most part those guys did a good job just with the concepts, being in the right spot, running the right route, getting separation. Overall, I thought those guys had a really good camp."

The team's top returning receiver, Jordan Matthews, was sidelined with a knee injury. Newly acquired veteran Chris Givens only played five snaps. Plus, running back Darren Sproles, a deadly option as a receiver, watched the game from the sideline as a healthy scratch.

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