There are few ways to measure the performance of an offensive line for the layman. For pass protection, there are sacks and pressures allowed. On a grander scale, points scored and the offense's production in general provide a fair glimpse of how successful the line is. But for the linemen themselves, the biggest source of pride often comes simply from the production of the running game.
Considering that LeSean McCoy is the league's leading rusher after topping 1,000 yards on the season in only 11 games, it's safe to say that the Eagles' unit of big men up front have done their jobs.
"We take a lot of pride in that," said left tackle Jason Peters. "Any time you have a running back and he's leading the league in rushing, you just have to set the bar high and every week you have to reach that challenge. You have to come in every week and try to get him more yards and more yards, make sure he stays on top."
Listed as questionable with a quadriceps and pectoral injury coming into the game, Peters said that he felt about 70 percent in pre-game warm-ups. After missing all of the 2012 season with a torn Achilles, Peters wasn't going to let a 30-percent difference keep him out of the lineup.
"I was about 70 percent right before the game and I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to go,'" said Peters. "I'm going to be out there. If I don't have anything broke or torn, I'm out there on the field."
Heading into the season, the group headlined by Peters was expected to be one of the team's strengths. The import of first-round pick Lane Johnson at right tackle, paired with the return of center Jason Kelce and the continued steadiness of guards Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis promised a big year for the big uglies.
"The whole offensive line this year is playing excellent," said McCoy. "They are giving me lanes, giving me one-on-one opportunities. They are rolling and I am just running behind them."
Even as a rookie, Johnson has enough sense to return the credit right back to the man with the ball.
"It's pretty easy when you have a back like that," Johnson said. "You just make some blocks and he's so good at cutting, making guys miss. Once he gets past the line of scrimmage, good things are going to happen when the ball's in his hands."
With five games left in the season, though, Kelce wants to make sure the offensive line and the rest of the team stick with what has kept them successful.
"It's definitely a positive thing," Kelce said of McCoy's production. "But we say this all the time, you can't really get caught up in that. You just try and get caught up in improving each and every week. Even though we have run the ball pretty effectively this season, it could be better. As long as we take care of it, he'll do a good job."
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