The Philadelphia Eagles has a catastrophic season in 2011. The team entered the season with more hype than any in Eagles history, even more than in 2004 with Terrell Owens’ arrival.
After such a colossal failure, the team has handled the road to 2012 with such aplomb that fans seem to have already put last year’s 4-8 start behind them. Everyone is pleased with the care shown to the team’s current players and gearing up for the draft.
Well, one of the few bright spots from 2011, left tackle Jason Peters, has just thrown a 340-pound monkey wrench into the team’s plans.
It was announced this afternoon that the All-Pro Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles in his right leg. What is it with the Achilles in Philadelphia? There is absolutely no chance Peters will be available to start the season and every chance he misses it altogether.
Peters was a dominant force last year but the Eagles need to find some way to cope with the loss. The first thing anyone will think of is that the Eagles will need to draft a tackle or find a free agent to replace him. But before we get into that, there is a silver lining.
With Michael Vick being a left handed quarterback, the left tackle isn’t the blind side in Philadelphia. As great as Peters is and was expected to be, it means the position isn’t quite as vital as it is for most teams.
My immediate thought was to move Todd Herremans over, but really, he did a good job in his first year protecting Vick’s back. The Eagles need to find a better replacement than Winston Justice, but they can find a way to handle this situation without expending a first-round pick like many are assuming.
One of the available free agent offensive tackles is Demetrius Bell, Peters’ replacement in Buffalo. He may not be an All-Pro, but in seven games at left tackle last season, he allowed just one hit on the quarterback.
Also, while he had a season-ending injury, the Bills’ collapse coincided with his absence. Bell doesn’t have the reputation, but he is a good blocker in both the run and pass game. No one can replace the best left tackle in the game, but Bell can ensure a total breakdown at the position in 2012.
The Eagles could make offensive tackle the priority in the draft, but it would come at the expense of other needs, needs which need to be addressed.
On the other hand, assuming defensive tackle was the way to go early, they could switch to offensive tackle and still get a good defensive tackle prospect in round two.
Jason Peters’ injury is a crushing blow for the Eagles and an offensive line that really came on strong last year. However, it is not one they can’t overcome. There are options available to them.
2012 is a huge year for this franchise, so expect them to aggressively attack this problem. Don’t be surprised if a solution has been announced at the beginning of next week.