With the news that center Jamaal Jackson is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, the Eagles' offense moves forward toward the playoffs facing another re-tooling along the offensive line.
With Jackson out, right tackle Winston Justice, in all likelihood, will be the only offensive lineman to have started in all 16 games for the Eagles this season at the same position. The Eagles have already had four different starting lineups along the offensive line in the 2009 season, with a fifth upcoming this Sunday in Dallas.
Nick Cole is expected to start at center, with Max Jean-Gilles filling in at right guard. Cole has also started the first 15 games for the Eagles, but he's split time between left guard and right guard.
"It's too bad for Jamaal," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "He's a heck of a football player, but we'll be alright. We'll be just fine but this week of practice will be important.
"Nick and Max are both good football players and I know they expect themselves to play at a high level so it'll be an interesting game coming up here on Sunday against the Cowboys."
The Eagles' current six-game winning streak has coincided with the health of the offensive line. In the November 22 win over the Chicago Bears, Jason Peters returned from a one-game absence at left tackle, and lined up alongside Todd Herremans, Jackson, Cole and Justice for the first of six straight games.
Luckily Jean-Gilles has starting experience, having already started four games at right guard this season.
"When somebody goes down the next man steps up," Jean-Gilles said. "Our O-line coach (Juan Castillo) prepares us for the worst. When one man goes down, he prepares us as if we're the starters.
"It's what I do."
Furthermore, Cole and Jean-Gilles have plenty of experience working alongside each other, having both come to the Eagles as rookies in 2006.
"Me and Nick have been playing together since we got here," Jean-Gilles said, "so it's nothing new."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:45 p.m., December 28