CLEVELAND – It is a true competition. King Dunlap and Demetress Bell each got their shot against the Cleveland Browns Friday night, as the two left tackles rotated series' with the Eagles' offense into the second half. It was an honest rotation that disregarded the amount of snaps each drive took. After Nick Foles tossed a deep interception two plays into the opening drive that featured Dunlap as the starter, Bell trotted out for the second series. And then it Dunlap's turn in drive three, Bell's in drive four, and on and on.
The two players are fully aware of their head-to-head battle, and what they need to do to win the job.
"Competition is good," said Bell. "It brings out the best in the players. So whenever you've got competition, somebody's got to rise to the occasion."
From a novice perspective, Dunlap was the steadier of the two against the Browns. He's no Jason Peters from a run-blocking point of view, but who is? Rather, Dunlap kept the quarterback clean as the blindside protector on a consistent basis. Head coach Andy Reid confirmed as much following the game when he said Dunlap is "a little bit ahead" at the moment. Does that proclamation by Reid affect Dunlap at all?
"No," Dunlap said, "I just go out with the same mentality every day - work hard, get better and don't make the same mistake twice.
"There's always room to get better and improve. I'll probably never be completely satisfied with the way I played, because I always feel like there's something I can get better at. There's no such thing as a perfect game."
Bell, meanwhile, had his struggles in the running game, allowing a tackle for loss of LeSean McCoy on his first series in the game. He did settle down as the game wore on, as the former Buffalo Bill searches for consistency.
"I just have to take the necessary steps to get to the number one," said Bell, "Consistency, being consistent every play, and learning the system. That's about it."
And then there's this: What if there's a third contestant in the left tackle search? Getting the call to start at right tackle in place of Todd Herremans, Dennis Kelly impressed in his own right. He allowed a few quarterback pressures and one sack, courtesy of former Eagle Juqua Parker, but the 6-8, 321-pounder did not seem overwhelmed by the speed of a first-team defense. At that towering height, Kelly formed a Twin Towers set of tackles with Dunlap.
"I mess with him all the time, I tell him how big he is," Dunlap joked, "We've kind of gone through the same pains of being taller than everybody else, but it's fun."
Kelly has been working primarily at right tackle throughout the preseason, but he played exclusively on the left side at Purdue. For now, though, Dunlap is in the lead, with Bell close behind.
"I just work hard, try to get better every, every week and just try to improve," Dunlap said. "Hopefully, I've done enough to solidify the job."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.