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Here’s how good Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Eagles’ offensive line have been this season | Breaking down ever-evolving star


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Here’s how good Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Eagles’ offensive line have been this season | Breaking down ever-evolving starting 5

Updated: Dec. 16, 2021, 6:30 a.m. | Published: Dec. 16, 2021, 6:30 a.m.

By Mike Kaye | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

As the Eagles come off their long-awaited bye week, they’ll look to rely on their bread and butter on offense: the line.

Despite suffering some notable injuries at guard — losing starters Isaac Seumalo and Brandon Brooks and even fill-in Jack Driscoll to injured reserve — Jeff Stoutland’s group has steadily produced at an elite level.

The Eagles lead the league in rushing yards and average 5.0 yards per carry, which ranks second in the NFL. That success is largely due to the blocking unit.

The line has also held up well in the passing game, allowing just 23 sacks this season, despite quarterback Jalen Hurts’ tendency to prolong plays with his legs. That total is the sixth-fewest sacks allowed by a team this season.

So, with the line surging, let’s look at the individual performances of the current starting group:

C Jason Kelce

The Numbers: 13 games (13 starts), 804 snaps, 1 sack allowed, 14 hurries, Pro Football Focus grade of 84.7 (2nd of 38 qualifying centers).

Kelce has been the ironman of the Eagles’ offensive line for years, but this season has been something else. Despite suffering a knee injury against the Giants in Week 12, Kelce returned to the game in the second half and had a terrific performance against the Jets the following week.

Kelce has been particularly dominant as a run blocker. His ability to get out in space and pull from the center position has been an asset for the offense all season. He has a 90.7 grade as a run blocker. He should be a lock for the Pro Bowl.

LT Jordan Mailata

The Numbers: 12 games (12 starts: 10 at LT, 2 at RT), 719 snaps, 2 sacks allowed, 1 QB hit, 15 hurries, Pro Football Focus grade of 82.8 (7th of 82 qualifying tackles).

Despite missing two games due to a knee injury, Mailata has been steady throughout the season. He’s also shown valuable versatility, transitioning to right tackle when needed.

While he had a major letdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7, he’s bounced back accordingly and had a stellar performance as a pass blocker ever since.

He has shown inconsistency as a run blocker but is still graded higher by PFF in that category (82.6) than pass blocking (79.1). He’s a legitimate Pro Bowl contender.

RT Lane Johnson

The Numbers: 9 games (9 starts), 633 snaps, 0 sacks allowed, 1 QB hit, 9 hurries, Pro Football Focus grade of 77.1 (19th of 82 qualifying tackles).

Johnson is one of two offensive tackles (Minnesota Vikings RT Brian O’Neil is the other) who have played 550 snaps and have yet to allow a sack, according to OlineStats.com. Johnson missed three games as he worked on mental health issues, but didn’t skip a beat when he returned to the field.

Johnson has been reliable as a pass blocker this season, but his work in the running game shouldn’t be ignored either. He has PFF grades of 78.5 as a pass blocker and 69.4 as a run blocker. Like Kelce and Mailata, Johnson has a strong case for another Pro Bowl nod.

LG Landon Dickerson

The Numbers: 11 games (10 starts: 9 at LG, 1 at RG), 735 snaps, 2 sacks allowed, 7 QB hits, 16 hurries, Pro Football Focus grade of 65.3 (34th out of 80 qualifying guards).

Dickerson got off to a very rough start this season. His first two games, which were at right guard, were a disaster, as he allowed a sack, two QB hits and six hurries. However, he has rebounded since moving to left guard.

In his nine games at left guard, Dickerson has allowed a sack, five QB hits and 10 hurries. Dickerson isn’t dominant, but he is developing at a strong pace. The second-round pick is in a good spot to evolve, and that’s a credit to him and Stoutland.

RG Nate Herbig

The Numbers: 7 games (2 starts: Both at RG), 295 snaps, 0 sacks allowed, 1 QB hit, 6 hurries, Pro Football Focus grade of 62.8 (45th out of 80 qualifying guards).

With Brooks and Driscoll sidelined on injured reserve, Herbig has taken on the mantle of starting right guard. He has had his issues with run blocking, but his pass blocking has improved throughout the season.

Herbig has served as the Eagles’ interior offensive line Swiss Army knife. He has played 211 snaps at right guard while working 31 snaps at left guard and 47 snaps at center. Perhaps some consistency at right guard will help him perform better at right guard over the next four weeks.

The Bench

The Eagles have four reserve offensive linemen on their bench heading into Week 15. All four have experience as fill-in starters.

Offensive tackles Andre Dillard, Le’Raven Clark and Brett Toth combine for 24 career starts as a trio. Dillard started four games at left tackle this season and has a respectable 69.5 overall grade from PFF, placing him as the 43rd-best tackle out of 82 qualifiers. Clark is a former swing tackle for the Indianapolis Colts, while Toth has filled in for injured linemen over the past two years and shown versatility at guard.

Sua Opeta, a third-year player, is the Eagles’ backup guard. He has started two games during his career and can play both interior positions. With Toth also able to play guard, the Eagles are in fine shape there.

The lone position of depth concern is center. If Kelce were to get hurt again, Herbig would move inside, where he has struggled a bit with snaps. That said, Herbig has played well at the position outside of that area and could be seen as a solid emergency option if called upon.


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