After a tumultuous season along the offensive line, the Eagles appear to have found something that works over the last two weeks. With Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans out for the year, the mishmash crew has excelled the last two games, paving the way for Bryce Brown's breakout on the ground and protecting Nick Foles well enough that the rookie's only been sacked twice during that time.
Herremans, who went on injured reserve after injuring his foot against the New Orleans Saints a month ago, has been paying close attention and he's been impressed with what he's seen – especially from fifth-round rookie Dennis Kelly, who's been manning Herremans' right tackle position.
"If you try to take anything from this year, you can see the emergence of some of the younger players and how successful they've been," Herremans said Thursday. "If anything, it'll just give us more and more depth for next year.
"Once we get three of us back next year on the line and then all the guys that have been going through playing almost a whole season this year, that'll be a great amount of depth that we'll have next year."
Kelly in particular is an interesting point of reference for Herremans. Aside from both playing right tackle, Herremans can relate to Kelly in other ways. Herremans, 6-6, was a fourth-round pick in 2005 while Kelly, 6-8, was taken in the fifth round last April. Herremans, too, was unexpectedly forced into a starting role as a rookie, playing four games at left tackle in place of an injured Tra Thomas. Herremans can see the similarities (though Herremans did point out that Kelly is "not quite as handsome"), and he thinks Kelly actually comes off well in the comparison.
"I think he's playing real well," Herremans said. "I think that the level of ball that he played against in college (at Purdue) was probably a lot higher than I did (at Saginaw Valley State). So I think he's probably adjusting quicker than I did when I was a rookie. He looks good. He looks strong in the run game and his pass (protection) is coming along. He doesn't look uncomfortable out there at all."
Though it's obviously a long time away and much can happen in the offseason, there now stands a possibility that the Eagles will have a surplus of starting-caliber offensive linemen next season. If that's the case, would Herremans be willing to move back inside to guard?
"We'll see," he said. "I don't care where I play. I want our best five on the field."
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