By Annie Ross
Okay, Eagles fans:
This is going to hurt:
The Birds — and big boss Howie Boy Roseman in particular — are delusional if they think left tackle Jason Peters will all of a sudden get young and healthy and play 16 games this season.
Or, really, even half of that total!
The 34-year-old Peters, once the best player on the team and one of the best in the league, has become a health liability in the later stages of his career. That’s what playing 153 NFL games while weighing over 300 pounds, will do to an athlete.
The veteran offensive lineman returned to practice on Saturday after being sidelined since August 4 with a quad injury. Peters additionally missed two games last season due to injury, with lower back spasms.
If Peters goes down with an injury in 2016, the Eagles offensive line situation will be very bleak. With what the team hoped would be their left guard, Allan Barbre, now filling in for Lane Johnson at right tackle, their replacement options are limited.
Andrew Gardner or Matt Tobin would be likely options in a situation where Peters is injured, and that doesn’t bode well for the offense. When Gardner went down last season, Tobin filled in for him at guard. It did not go well for Tobin.
Tobin earned the worst pass protection grade for a guard from PFF since 2007, with a grade of 30.9 out of 100. He gave up eight sacks, 11 hits, and 31 hurries.
Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai is another option, as he played both tackle positions at TCU, but it wouldn’t be ideal to put him in a starting position this early in his career. Though Vaitai certainly has potential, he needs to refine his overall game before making that leap.
The Birds already have rookie Isaac Seumalo projected to start at left guard. One rookie on the offensive line is a liability, two would be a risk no team hopes to take.