Everyone knows the stat — for 17 games last year the Birds started the same five offensive linemen.
This year through six games, they've played 10. And it could be 11 if newly reacquired Julian Vandervelde gets on the field. So how is it possible that a rag-tag, makeshift offensive line has been able to keep Nick Foles protected so well?
The Eagles have allowed just seven total sacks this season and just three over the last five games (after five against Jacksonville in the opener).
Last year’s success, Kelly says, is due to the continuity and familiarity the line had, and the confidence they formed together. This time, it’s just grit, hard work and football knowledge helping guys like David Molk, Andrew Gardiner and Dennis Kelly prevail.
“If it’s a new guy next to you, [it’s about] how in tune are you to each other’s calls and making sure that you’re making the right decisions,” Kelly said. “How many times have you gotten reps at it in practice. But for those guys, I think it’s really a credit to them that they’ve been able to do, on a consistent basis.”
Jason Peters and Todd Herrimans have stayed healthy, Lane Johnson returned in Week 5 after a suspension and Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis are on the mend.
“The guys that were in there battled,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “A lot of times when you drop back to the pass it’s not very clean. As we get our guys back — I think a couple weeks ago [we] talked about executing a little smoother — hopefully it will all come together.