Jason Peters is one of those weird, “overrated-underrated” players. Buffalo picked him up as an undrafted TE out of college, and by his second year in the league he was a regular starter at LT. He excelled, and became one of those awesome players that nobody knew a thing about… underrated. As an unknown, it took until his fourth year to earn his first Pro Bowl trip in 2007, when he probably would have been there already if he were a 1st round pick… still sorta underrated. Then, in 2008 with the Bills and 2009 with the Eagles, he had down years, but still made it to Honolulu, perhaps undeservedly on the reputation he had built from scratch… overrated. And then last year, particularly in the second half of the season, Peters absolutely dominated, but a lot of folks that don’t actually watch OL play continued to give him the “overrated” label… underrated once again.
Make no mistake. Jason Peters is an elite talent. As Cris Collinsworth gushes in the following clip, “God didn’t make many people like him.”
And then you look at Peters’ brute strength. Look at what Peters did to poor Igor Olshansky while the Eagles were trying to bleed 4 minutes off the clock against the Cowboys last season. Just watch #71. This is pure and utter domination:
Last week Jason Peters was out, and King Dunlap filled in. While Dunlap played well, he’s a monumental downgrade from Peters. Now it appears Dunlap’s status for Sunday is in question, as he’s suffering from back spasms. Should Dunlap not be able to go, Todd Herremans will shift over from RT to LT, and Winston Justice will fill in at RT. Last year Herremans and Peters formed perhaps the best LT-LG combo in the league, but with Justice still banged up to start the season, Dunlap not really being a legitimate 16-game NFL starter, and free agent signing Ryan Harris not panning out, Herremans made the move to RT. Herremans would actually probably be an upgrade over Dunlap at LT, but the shuffle will create a potential major weakness on the right side, AKA Michael Vick’s blind side.
Justice, meanwhile, is a complete mystery. This is Justice’s 6th year in the league, and for the first 5, he has operated under former OL coach Juan Castillo’s system of vertical drops, as opposed to Howard Mudd’s more aggressive system of attacking the defense in pass protection. If we were to play word association, “aggressive” wouldn’t be my first choice if someone mentioned “Winston Justice.” It’ll be interesting to see how well Justice has adapted to Mudd’s new scheme, and if his knee is even healthy.
Here’s the Eagles OL shuffle, if King Dunlap is a no-go:
|Jason Peters||Evan Mathis||Jason Kelce||Kyle DeVan||Todd Herremans|
|Sunday in DC|
|Todd Herremans||Evan Mathis||Jason Kelce||Danny Watkins||Winston Justice|
As for the Giants, David Baas went down with a burner midway through the Cardinal game Week 4, and missed last week’s home loss to the Seahawks. In his absence, Kevin Boothe started at center, and from what I saw, didn’t play well. Baas is listed as questionable today against the Bills, but did practice some this week, and is speculated to be a go today. Chris Snee, meanwhile, is out. If it’s only Snee that can’t go, Kevin Boothe will fill in at RG. If Snee and Baas are out, it’ll likely be Boothe at C, and undrafted rookie free agent Jim Cordle will fill in at RG. An interior OL of David Diehl, Kevin Boothe, and Jim Cordle is obviously not ideal.