The Eagles Will Soar With The Return Of Jason Peters
By Scott Daniels
When Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon before the 2012 season, it was the beginning of a tumultuous year for the Philadelphia Eagles. Peters’ injury basically foreshadowed the team’s eventual downfall. The Eagles churned out a miserable product that resulted in 12 losses and a second consecutive year without even a shot at the playoffs. By the end of last season, the Eagles resembled a fallen empire whose leader was banished after years of ruling.
Was Peters to blame for the Eagles’ abysmal 2012 season? Of course not. And even if he stayed healthy, injuries to Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce crushed a promising offensive line that had very high expectations heading into 2012.
That being said, Peters was the star of this line and hands down one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Now that he's healthy, Peters is still is arguably the best tackle in the game.
If you really want to know how deeply missed Peters was, just ask Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy. In 2011, Peters gave up three sacks. That same year, McCoy averaged 4.8 yards a carry and reached the end zone 17 times. In 2012, McCoy saw his average drop to 4.2 yards per rush and only reached the end zone twice. His concussion problems last season made it feel like he missed a ton of games, but McCoy still played 12 games in 2012, compared to 15 in 2011. Peters was a major reason McCoy was so successful in 2011.
Entering the 2013 season, a healthy Peters brings hope and heavy expectations to a team with no real identity yet. At 6-foot-4, 340 pounds, Peters is a beast and will likely trim down to accommodate Chip Kelly’s speedy offense, but his impact will be felt immediately. He’ll be reclaiming his role at left tackle after King Dunlap and Demetress Bell embarrassed themselves on a weekly basis. Dunlap and Bell combined to give up seven sacks last year and more quarterback rushes than fraternity recruitment at Ohio State.
A healthy Peters, along with a fit Herremans and Kelce, should give whoever is playing quarterback for the Birds enough time to operate an offense. The Eagles appear to be going after an offensive lineman with their fourth selection in this year’s draft, but that shouldn’t affect Peters’ starting role. At 31 years old, Peters knows his career won’t last forever, but he still has a few solid years left.
It would actually be prudent for the Eagles to select a talented lineman because Peters’ impact on the Eagles transcends his ability on the field. Peters is a veteran in the NFL and plays his position at an extremely high level. He has phenomenal work ethic, and he’d be a tremendous mentor to a budding lineman.
Peters is slated to make $10.4 million this year and, assuming he stays healthy, he is pure value. A tenacious lineman with skill and athleticism like Peters is hard to come by. The Eagles are lucky to have him.