The Philadelphia Eagles' struggles last season all started up front. When your offensive line is struggling, the entire offense is going to struggle. There's no way around it.
That's the main reason the Eagles finished 29th in the NFL in scoring offense by averaging just 17 points per game. Any time you lose three starters along the offensive line due to injury, it's going to be hard to replace those guys without seeing a major drop-off, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com
Before the season began, all-pro left tackle Jason Peters was lost for the year with a torn Achilles. In Week 3, starting center Jason Kelce tore his ACL. In Week 9, a third starting offensive lineman, Todd Herremans, suffered a season-ending injury.
That article goes on to say the Eagles started nine different players along the offensive line during the 2012 season. When you don't have continuity you're going to have problems. That's why you saw the Eagles finish fifth in the NFL in sacks allowed last year with 48.
Strictly looking at the players coming back from injury along the offensive line, the Eagles are already going to be better in 2013. That's not even including the addition of fourth overall pick Lane Johnson or head coach Chip Kelly. Obviously, much has been made of Kelly coming to the Eagles and changing things up from the previous 14-year tenure of Andy Reid, who's moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs. But even Kelly couldn't get an offense to function if the guys up front weren't doing their jobs.
One of the main benefactors of a healthy offensive line and the addition of Johnson will be running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy, who missed four games last season with a concussion, finished 2012 with 840 yards and averaged just 4.2 yards per carry. After picking up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010-11, McCoy struggled to make the same impact running behind a patchwork offensive line. We can all expect McCoy to have a bounce-back season under Chip Kelly and a healthy offensive line.
Regardless of who's starting at quarterback for the Eagles, be it Michael Vick or Nick Foles, there's no reason to think their offense will be as anemic as it was last season. The addition of the ultra-athletic Johnson should help McCoy break off those long game-breaking runs with his ability to get to the second level of a defense. McCoy's longest run in 2012 was just 34 yards.
The Eagles are looking to improve on the four-win total they had in 2012 and improved offensive line play is paramount in doing that. They look to be on the right track.
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