This Sunday will mark just the third time in seven games that the Eagles offensive line will start the same five guys up front in back-to-back weeks. Continuity, the often overlooked aspect of a successful offensive line, is something that the Eagles are just getting used to.
"Well that's always a big factor," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Thursday. "It's not the one individual lineman; each of them can play pretty well individually. The key is playing well as a unit. The tight ends come into play on that and the fullbacks in many cases as well. Playing at a high level on a consistent basis as a unit is the key."
Just getting time to practice together has been a challenge for this offensive line. Out of the five opening-day starters up front, only two will start this weekend in Nashville (left guard Todd Herremans and right tackle Winston Justice). Center Mike McGlynn has stepped in since Jamaal Jackson's Week 1 triceps injury that ended his season, and 6-4, 315-pound center has improved weekly at one of the most crucial positions on the field.
"He's done such a good job mentally, and he's done really a fine job physically as well," Mornhinweg said. "The whole line, I thought, could possibly be meshing together pretty good there. So that's a good thing. But now the challenge for everybody is to get better every day."
A guy doing just that is guard Max Jean-Gilles. Another player who started the year on the bench, Jean-Gilles has made the most of his opportunity and is starting to play at a high level.
"I would say my technique and my fundamentals (have improved the most)," Jean-Gilles said. "Every day my coach (Juan Castillo) and I work before, during and after practice on staying square and moving my feet and my hands, so that's the biggest thing.
"Every time they call my name up when someone went down, I have to take advantage of the situation."
He certainly has this time around, as Jean-Gilles has solidified a right guard position that was very much in flux just a few weeks ago. King Dunlap, who filled in admirably for an injured Jason Peters last week against Atlanta, shut down one of the game's most feared pass rushers in John Abraham.
"I can't say enough about how well King played last week with just a week of prep time," said veteran left guard Todd Herremans. "He really did a good job. He pretty much came out and locked John Abraham down, and that was good to see out of King."
The Eagles are showing off their depth at offensive line this season, with three backups now starting and all performing well. But this week, a great challenge awaits in Tennessee, and that newfound confidence will be tested. The Titans lead the NFL with 24 sacks this season.
There is one thing the Eagles linemen know for sure. If they respond and play well, the players behind them can put up points in a hurry.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 1:35 p.m., October 21