Eagles' offensive line looks to regroup after rare poor performance

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O-line looks to regroup after rare poor performance originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The standards are so high on the Eagles’ offensive line that a really bad week just seems almost bizarre.

And Sunday was a bad week.

The vaunted o-line – considered by many the NFL’s best – allowed six sacks and committed six penalties in the Eagles’ ungainly 20-10 loss to the Saints.

The six sacks are the most the Eagles have allowed since they gave up seven to the Packers at Lambeau late in the 2020 season. Last time they allowed more at home was in a 2003 loss to the Patriots.

It was the first time in 17 years the Eagles have allowed six sacks and the o-line has committed six penalties in the same game.

On Dec. 11, 2005, in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Giants at the Linc, Mike McMahon was sacked six times and Jamaal Jackson, Artis Hicks, Todd Herremans, Shawn Andrews and Jon Runyan combined for seven penalties.

All in all, it was a miserable performance by the offense, which went 3-and-out on its first four drives, managed just 21 yards in the game’s first 29 ½ minutes and never ran a play inside the Saints’ 25-yard-line.

“When things don’t go well you can either take accountability for the mistakes that you made and the things you need to improve on or you can point fingers at other guys and say that mistake really happened because of this or that or whatever,” Jason Kelce said.

“You take an honest assessment, you approach it as a team, as a group, as an individual, as to what can I do to do my job better, to be more consistent, to help my teammates out, to take more ownership, and I think that’s where we’re at and that’s the vibe I get from the entire building.”

It wouldn’t be fair to say all six sacks were on the offensive line.

Gardner Minshew certainly held the ball too long a few times, and the matchup between Saints edge rusher Cameron Jordan and Eagles backup right tackle Jack Driscoll was a mismatch.

Jordan had three sacks, the most by one player against the Eagles since Olivier Vernon of the Browns had 3.0 in 2000, late in Doug Pederson’s final year. (Jordan also had a 3.0-sack game against the Eagles in 2012 and is now the only player in history with 3.0-sack games against the Eagles 10 year apart).

Nick Sirianni was quick to point out that the sacks weren’t all on the offensive line.

“Obviously, you never want to give up that many sacks,” he said. “So there's plenty of blame to go around for those sacks. On a couple of the sacks there wasn't anybody open, and we just didn't do a good job helping the guys get open. Or a tight end didn't get open on a play or a running back missed the block.

“It’s the best team game there is, and so it truly takes all 11 to do it, and it takes us as coaches to put them in the right spot. So a ton of blame to go around for that, and it starts with us as coaches.”

Despite the offensive dud Sunday, the Eagles still have the No. 2 offense in the NFL in both yards per game and points per game, behind only the Chiefs.

Their 48 combined holding and false start penalties on the offensive line are 2nd-most in the league, behind the Cards’ 49, and they’re a surprising 24th in sacks allowed per pass play. A lot of that is a product of Jalen Hurts' playing style, but Kelce will tell you this o-line expects more from itself.

“We’ve just got to keep working, keep improving,” he said. “We’re obviously not playing the way we want to right now, so I think this is a good week and a good opportunity to iron out a lot of these mistakes and get better going into the playoffs.

“False starts are really bad. That’s a lot of it. I’ve got to be better at communicating things and being more locked in, quite frankly.”

The Eagles face the Giants Sunday afternoon at the Linc with a 1st-round bye hanging in the balance. Kelce said the line’s approach this week is no different than coming off their best game of the year.

“There’s not much that’s honestly changed for us,” he said. “There’s just a little bit more that we need to get fixed.

“The past week was not very smooth, but there are always things you try to work out, you try to improve on. You strive for perfection. You realize that’s unattainable but you try to get as close as possible.”