There is a very good chance that the Eagles will have two new starters along the offensive line this Sunday when they travel to Arizona to battle the undefeated Cardinals.
It is certain that Dallas Reynolds will make his first career start at center in place of Jason Kelce, who was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury Tuesday. The other starting spot to keep an eye on is at left tackle. King Dunlap did not practice Wednesday due to the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday's game against the Ravens. In fact, head coach Andy Reid said it would be "a stretch" for Dunlap to play which means Demetress Bell could be in line to make his first start as an Eagle.
"I'm definitely ready. I just have to get in there and knock the rust off," Bell said after practice Wednesday. "I think I'll be all right, but I'll definitely be ready."
Bell was signed by the Eagles in early April after the team learned about Jason Peters' ruptured Achilles. Bell was on track to be the starter at left tackle until Dunlap won the job in Training Camp. Adjusting to offensive line coach Howard Mudd's style of technique, Bell has worked hard behind the scenes to prepare if an opportunity presented itself. It did in the third quarter of Sunday's win.
"It's not preseason. It's game time and the bullets are flying," Bell said.
Reynolds and Bell entered the game one offensive series apart in the third quarter. Unlike Bell, who had been a starter in Buffalo, Reynolds never played a snap on offense. And all of a sudden, he was asked to handle the same responsibilities of Kelce. Reynolds credited the prep work he did week in and week out to keep the offense moving.
"If you're the backup center, you've got to know the stuff in case you do get thrown in there. I'm putting in my time and I'm putting in my work and we'll go from there," Reynolds said. "I think it's important for us to focus on us and to do our thing and do our technique right and properly. I think if we do that we'll be happy with the outcome."
The Eagles will matchup against a Cardinals defensive line that uses a three-man front, but has dynamic pass rushers at the end spots. Calais Campbell earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his 10-tackle, two-sack performance against New England. Opposite the 6-8, 300-pound Campbell is Darnell Dockett, a three-time Pro Bowl pick with 34.0 career sacks.
"The hard part for Demetress and Dallas is over with," guard Evan Mathis said. "The hard part is getting thrown into the mix when you're least expecting it. Now you have time to full prepare fully knowing that you're the guy. They are going to have their best opportunity now."
Mathis doesn't expect the Cardinals to gameplan any different for the new pieces along the line.
"That might be a bad idea because what they've been doing has been working really well," said Mathis.
The key for the offensive line will be communication. This new line played together for about a quarter and a half and generated 10 points including the seven from the game-winning 10-play, 80-yard drive late in the game. However, they will be on the road and Reid expects the roof at University of Phoenix Stadium to be closed to help contain the crowd noise and make life that much more difficult for the offensive line.
"We just roll with it and move forward. We've been working next to each other in all of the practices. It just hasn't been on the field yet in the game for anybody else to see it, but we've prepared for it," Mathis said.
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