Jump to content

How a couple lineup changes rejuvenated an entire Eagles unit


Recommended Posts

How a couple lineup changes rejuvenated an entire Eagles unit 

The new second-team offensive line debuted Tuesday.

By Reuben Frank, Eagles Insider  Published August 10, 2023


It’s no secret the Eagles’ second offensive unit was struggling the first handful of training camp practices.

Marcus Mariota looked shaky, receiver Olamide Zaccheaus was struggling, center Brett Toth was having a hard time getting his snaps cleanly to the quarterback and the whole second group looked ineffective and overmatched.

It's not fair to blame Toth for all of those issues. But his errant snaps were becoming a problem.

"There have been some more snaps on the ground than we would like, and so it's always a little bit harder (for a quarterback) to handle that,” Nick Sirianni said before practice Thursday. "He has to do so many different things, looking at defenses, checking plays, all those different things. So we're working hard with the backup centers to continue to perfect their snapping.”

Something had to change. And it did.

On Friday, the Eagles learned interior lineman Josh Sills had been acquitted of rape and kidnapping charges in his native Ohio and would be returning to the team. And on Sunday, they signed interior lineman Josh Andrews, a 10-year veteran who began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Eagles in 2014. 

And after a day off on Monday, they debuted their new second-team offensive line on Tuesday: Rookie Tyler Steen was at left tackle after moving from right guard late last week, Sills was at left guard replacing Dennis Kelly, Andrews was at center replacing Toth, Sua Opeta was at right guard for Steen (who still plays right guard with the 1’s when Jason Kelce is out and Cam Jurgens moves to center) and Jack Driscoll was still at right tackle.

Just like that, the second offense looked different. Better. Cleaner. And that gave the entire operation a fair chance.

"I would just say anytime a snap is off it makes it harder to play quarterback,” Sirianni said. "That's just the way it is. They have a lot of things going on. Trying to read a defense and catch a snap is obviously tough.”

Toth is a great story. He played in a run-only offense at Army and over the last few years learned enough at Stoutland U. to challenge for a roster spot. But this hasn’t been a strong training camp for him, and he’s now with the third team at left guard. So he’s not even taking reps at center at all. Cameron Tom currently looks like the third-team center, having replaced Julian Good-Jones on Thursday.

Mariota immediately began looking sharper once the Eagles made the switch at center. And the crazy thing is that Andrews wasn’t even in a camp this summer, but he was able to help solidify the operation. And Sills – who obviously also wasn’t in a camp – has been an upgrade at left guard. And Steen has looked really good at left tackle.

With the o-line bolstered, the entire 2nd-team offense has looked smoother. Remember, these guys are going up against some pretty talented defensive linemen – guys who will be major parts of the defensive rotation during the regular season.

Mariota and Zaccheaus have been the major beneficiaries of the reshaped second-team offensive line. 

Mariota was just not very good the first week of camp, and it wasn’t all Toth’s snaps. He’s also with his fourth team in five years and learning a new offense once again. But he’s looked like a different guy the past few days, delivering the ball more accurately, taking off scrambling less often and doing a better job finding positive matchups.

And Zaccheaus – Mariota’s teammate with the Falcons last year – has also turned things around. He looks more comfortable and more confident and has been making a lot more plays.

This is important because a lot of the guys on the second offense are going to make the team and are going to play. Some may start at some point. And the better the product over the summer, the more prepared they’ll all be for whatever happens next.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...