Offensive linemen make no excuses

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Sep 132010

Eagles RT Winston Justice, #74

September 13 Philadelphia Inquirer

“After that last offensive play, when the Eagles were driving and somehow still had a shot – fourth and one, Michael Vick at the controls – there were no alibis from the offensive line.

“That definitely wasn’t Vick’s fault,” offensive tackle Winston Justice said after the 27-20 loss to Green Bay and after Vick got stuffed by a Packers linebacker. “That was the offensive line. They knew it was a run. We knew it was a run. They won.”

For the Eagles’ line, this was an especially brutal loss. One of their leaders, center Jamaal Jackson, their steadiest veteran, had come back earlier than expected from a torn knee ligament suffered last December. Before halftime, Jackson was gone, out with a torn biceps in his right arm. If an MRI Monday confirms that prognosis, he’ll be out for the year.

“That’s really disheartening, especially when you work that hard to come back,” Justice said at his locker. “It’s going to be tough. The thing is, the NFL is always tough. It’s a tough sport. That’s what we sign up for. It’s a brutal game. Any play could be your last play.”

For a third-quarter series, left tackle Jason Peters was out with a right knee sprain. The Eagles were down to their last five offensive linemen. This isn’t a sport in which you can bring in Roy Oswalt to play left field.

“We knew, when Jason went down, that’s all we had out there,” Justice said.

King Dunlap played for a series before Peters returned. It’s not like the line was running on all cylinders before the injuries. Their first play, there was a flag for not having enough players at the line of scrimmage. Peters was flagged for holding on a first-down play in the second quarter, negating Mike Bell’s first rush, a 6-yard gain. In the third quarter, Peters also was called for a false start.

Down at the O-line’s end of the locker room, there was a lot of talk about getting back in the film room.

Mike McGlynn, who played for Jackson in the preseason, took over at center again. “It looked like he did a decent job,” said Eagles coach Andy Reid. “It actually looked like a he did a very nice job.”

Before the game, there had been headlines about Jackson’s return being crucial to the Eagles offense. Reid had talked about being cautious with Jackson, that he’d be keeping “a close eye” on the center and wouldn’t hesitate to put McGlynn in.”

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