For Jason Kelce's entire career, he has played with Jason Peters on the Eagles' offensive line. And for all nine of those seasons, Kelce and Peters proved that they were among the best at their positions in the NFL – Kelce at center and Peters at left tackle.
But like everything else surrounding Training Camp in 2020, things are different heading into this season. Peters will be switching to right guard, replacing the injured Brandon Brooks (arguably the best at his position in the NFL as well), meaning that Kelce will be lining up next to Peters for the first time in his career.
On the surface, Peters may seem like a fish out of water at right guard, having spent his entire 11-year Eagles tenure at left tackle. However, Kelce believes Peters' football prowess on and off the field will make for a smooth transition.
"I don't know where you're going to find that wealth of knowledge, experience, leadership, ability to play the game," Kelce said of Peters on Tuesday during a video conference call with reporters. "I was hoping we were going to bring him back regardless of what happened to Brandon Brooks."
"The fact that he's playing right guard for us, and is still on the team, still able to bring the experience and leadership that he has, and just being the great teammate that he is, I think I can speak for everybody that we're really excited to see how this move goes," he added. "It's been really fun to work with him."
Although potentially smooth, the transition will still need time to fully process, as playing right next to each other will be much different than having someone in between them. Kelce admitted Tuesday that he and Peters will have to work on the fine details of footwork, attack angles for blocks, and fending off pass rush games from opposing defenses, just to name a few.
The lack of in-person meetings until Training Camp and no preseason games will hinder their construction of chemistry to a certain extent, but 27 combined years of NFL experience should make up for that. In the meantime, there will be many in-depth conversations between Kelce and Peters, where the two grizzled vets will learn as much as possible from each other in preparation for the season opener against Washington.
"It's been actually a really engaging and fun experience for both J.P. and I," Kelce said.
"(Peters has) got so much knowledge from playing the game for so long and the ability to try and now take all of that knowledge that he's had at left tackle and apply to a new position, he's not really starting from ground zero. He's not starting from a lack of reference," he later added. "He understands the game. He understands angles. He understands footwork."
While Kelce is just beginning to lay the groundwork with Peters, he is still building his chemistry with left guard Isaac Seumalo, who started all 16 regular-season games for the first time in 2019. For Kelce, the process of constructing cohesion really never ends.
"He's always been a versatile player. He's played tackle, guard, tight end in some of these big packages for us. I mean, he's played all over, and he's gotten very limited amount of time, up until last year, of just working at one position," Kelce said of Seumalo, who is entering his fifth NFL season. "You really saw him take that, especially throughout the season, and become even better and hone in on the little details that really take his game to the next level."
"He's got the full gamut," Kelce added. "He's smart. He's very intelligent. Understands the game extremely well. Physically, he's strong, he's athletic, he's quick. He's big.
"He's got pretty much every attribute that you want, and I'm really, really happy for the way he's progressed and the player has been for us, and I'm excited to continue to watch his career and for everybody else to finally take notice of the player that he is."
Get an inside look at the Eagles' workouts from the past week!