This isn't exacting walking before you run, and it isn't like Stacy Andrews will get on the field in the next two weeks with a set of training wheels on, but the fact is that when Andrews practices for the first time as an Eagle -- today, we hope-- he will step onto the field as an unpolished diamond. There is work to be done here, and everybody knows it.
As Andrews revealed to PhiladelphiaEagles.com on Monday, he expects to line up as a guard, with brother Shawn Andrews the starter at right tackle for this last set of Organized Team Activities before the team breaks prior to the opening of training camp on July 26. Stacy Andrews understands the concepts of what Juan Castillo teaches, but he has thousands of repetitions to go in practice to have his hands fit properly on a defensive lineman, to have his feet positioned correctly as Castillo demands, and to be in concert with the linemen around him.
Andrews possesses great size and strength. We'll see how nimble he is on that surgically-repaired knee when the Eagles ask him to get out on the edge on a screen pass, and when they need him to pull and open a hole for Brian Westbrook. What you see now from Andrews isn't what you are going to see later, after he gains confidence in his leg, after Castillo molds his technique and modifies his approach to the game.
If, as Andrews indicated, he will take some of the work during the team's individual work, we can expect to see a young player learning the basics of the structure Castillo has in place for his line. Andrews has experience in this league, so he isn't a rookie, but he is a newcomer to this system and a great deal of patience is needed before he gets to the highest level at which the Eagles believe he can play.
The good news is that the Eagles have total confidence in Nick Cole, who came in last year as the team's third right guard and then played so well down the stretch and in the playoffs. Cole is a legitimate starter on this offensive line and in this league, even if it ends up that Stacy Andrews teams up with Shawn Andrews to give the Eagles potentially their most powerful right side of the line in years and years.
The goal here is not to judge Andrews by what he does now on the practice field. He is only going to take part in the warm up and then the individual part of the workouts, the part where Castillo meticulously works his players in the 1-2-3 mating ritual that offensive linemen have. The work they do as an offensive group borders on insanely monotonous, but it is necessary stuff.
Andrews has to work his way into the mix. He has to learn the offense. He has to get to know Castillo as well as his teammates on the line. It is an exciting prospect, that Andrews is going to take a very important step forward in his rehabilitation. What we see today, and through these two weeks, will be but a glimpse of the finished product.
Project Andrews is kicking into another gear, an extremely positive step for the Eagles and the much-anticipated offensive line this season.