With offensive tackle Jason Peters' status very much unknown as he recovers from a knee sprain, the offensive line is preparing for yet another switch in personnel. If Peters misses Sunday's game against the NFC South division-leading Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles will start their fourth different offensive line of the season.
Some might suggest that an offensive line would struggle to jell with so many bodies coming and going, as each player has their own strengths and weaknesses. Center Mike McGlynn got his opportunity through injury after taking over for Jamaal Jackson in Week 1, and he argues that injuries hardly affect the offensive line's cohesiveness.
"I don't think that really matters," McGlynn said on Tuesday. "You have to go in and just do your job, and whoever comes in, they're all taught to do the same thing. So the whole 'jelling thing,' I don't think it's that big of a factor."
Offensive tackle King Dunlap filled in for Jason Peters after he got injured in the first quarter on Sunday night, and struggled at times to contain an active 49ers pass rush. It's difficult, however, for a lineman to enter the game not having received any reps with the first-team in practice. McGlynn knows all about that, as he went through a similar situation in the season-opener against Green Bay.
"It's tough, especially on game day," McGlynn said, "standing around for an hour and a half not playing and then all of a sudden, you're in there in the heat of battle. It's a tough thing to do but I thought King did a pretty good job."
Rookie free agent Austin Howard could be the next Eagles offensive lineman to be called into duty because of injury. If Peters doesn't dress for Sunday's game against Atlanta, it's very possible that Howard could be activated, and could even get first taste of NFL action. Howard impressed throughout training camp, and was the only rookie free agent to make the Eagles 53-man roster.
If Howard's name is called this weekend, he says he'll be ready to go.
"The good thing that the coaches do is make sure, no matter what and in any situation, all of us are prepared to go in at any time," Howard said Tuesday. "Every week they prepare us more and more, so your confidence just builds as the weeks go on."
Of course, it may all be for naught if Jason Peters is healthy and able to play on Sunday. But as receiver Chad Hall said last week as he prepared to see his first NFL action, having a week of practice as if you're going to play is beneficial in the long run, whether you see the field that Sunday or not.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 1:00 p.m., October 12