The transition from one Pro Bowl player to another has been so seamless, so without any panic, that it's almost easy to take Jason Peters and the responsibility he has for granted. Make no mistake, though. Having Peters on board could very well be the most important move the Eagles made in the off-season, and he plays as well as the Eagles think he will play, the offensive line could very well live up to the hype.
As the Eagles pause in their time before training camp begins, they do so with a working knowledge of Peters, all 340, 350 or however many pounds of him are in that incredible package of athletic ability, power and smarts. Peters made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo, and now he has to make the transition to the NFC, to a new way of doing things, of learning a unique technique.
Will the transition from Tra Thomas to Peters be as seamless as it appears it is going? Time will tell. Peters has an ultra-important job, of protecting Donovan McNabb's blind side and of giving the Eagles an anchor for the next decade that they enjoyed with Thomas from the time he was drafted in 1998.
That the Eagles were able to add Peters was, at the time and in retrospect, remarkable. Instead of having a huge, unproven question mark replacing Thomas, the Eagles have a player who has had great success in the league. Peters needs to be better than he was in Buffalo the last year, as reports go, and the Eagles intend to make him the best he can be.
What did the team see from Peters in the post-draft practices? They saw a player with amazing feet and a powerful punch, and a player who is working hard on his technique and his understanding of the Eagles offense. Having Peters step in and step up as a star left tackle is not going to be an overnight transition, but the Eagles need him to be great from the first game of the season when they are on the road in a hostile environment in Carolina, when they are facing one of the best pressure defenses in the league.
Peters is a quiet man by nature, not one to seek out the media, so maybe it is because of his demeanor off the field that he hasn't gotten a whole lot of conversation started since his signing. Certainly, all eyes are going to be on his one-on-one battles against Trent Cole in camp, and those two are expected to wage a great football war. Maybe then the Peters talk will escalate.
To this point, it seems like everyone expects Peters to walk in and be a star. Maybe that will be the case. It won't happen, though, until after Peters has gone through the exhaustive process of Juan Castillo's methods for his offensive linemen. Castillo works his men hard, stays on them, and demands the best every day.
We all think that Peters is going to rise to the occasion. He has all the tools. You watch him in practice -- even when there are no pads and no contact in the spring -- and you see the extraordinary skills -- the feet, the hand placement, the balance, the intelligence.
It is, however, rather interesting to me that the Eagles have had this generational handoff at left tackle -- from Thomas to Peters -- and we're not blinking an eye about it. Castillo inspires that confidence, doesn't he? If there is any coach to bring out the best in his players, it's Castillo. The best of Peters is the best of the best, and it is an exciting prospect to consider that the Eagles have something that could be very, very special at left tackle this year, and for many years to come.