Eagles Notebook: For Barbre, it's a start

Posted: August 09, 2013

YOU MIGHT have heard, the Eagles fielded a hapless, injury-ravaged offensive line last season.

At one point, the team worked out journeyman guard-tackle Allen Barbre. Didn't sign him. Barbre spent the rest of the 2012 season at home.

Tonight Barbre, the guy last year's coaching staff felt couldn't help one of the worst offensive lines in recent memory, will start at left tackle for the Eagles, who begin the Chip Kelly era - or at least, the dress rehearsals for the Chip Kelly era - with a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field.

"Allen was a tackle in college [at Missouri Southern] and has really 'shown' every day," Kelly said yesterday. Jason Peters, the left tackle anchor of Kelly's 2013 offensive line, is sidelined with a hamstring pull. "He deserved a shot to be put in the first group, and we'll see. I thought he competed very well the last 2 days against a pretty good front for the Patriots" in joint practices.

Kelly could have just moved Todd Herremans from right guard back to tackle, and played Danny Watkins, the team's 2011 first-round pick, at guard. Watkins seems to be having a pretty good camp, but a starter is down and he isn't the first guy off the bench.

Kelly said that wasn't the way to look at it, that with second-year tackle Dennis Kelly out for the preseason following lower-back disk surgery Monday, "It's about developing depth at tackle. We know Todd Herremans can start at tackle. With Dennis being out, behind Jason and Lane [Johnson, the rookie right tackle], that was a concern for us."

Barbre said when he worked out for the Eagles last year, he thought they were in the market for a center, following the loss of Jason Kelce to an ACL tear in the second game. Barbre has played guard and tackle, not center. The Birds eventually signed another journeyman o-lineman, guard Jake Scott, who started the final seven games of the season but wasn't brought back. He's with Detroit now.

Watkins lost his starting job to Scott. Then the Eagles drafted Johnson fourth overall, pushing Watkins out of the starting unit again.

"Big opportunity," said Barbre, a 29-year-old former Packer, Dolphin and Seahawk. listed generously at 6-4, 305. He is not tall for a left tackle, and has mostly been a guard in the NFL. "Just go out and prove myself . . . show that I can play with the 'ones'."

In the spring of 2012, Barbre was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The Seahawks eventually released him, and after the Eagles' workout, there was little interest.

"I thought I'd try to give it 1 more year before I gave up," Barbre said. The Birds, whose offensive line plays an entirely different style under new o-line coach Jeff Stoutland, called early in the offseason, he said.

Help needed

The Eagles have three open roster spots and several limping receivers as they head into tonight's preseason opener. Chip Kelly didn't detail yesterday who will or won't play, but obviously, Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn are down for the season, on injured reserve. General manager Howie Roseman confirmed that the Eagles aren't eager to add a wideout right now, with rosters across the league at 90 and the open market barren.

Roseman said tonight's game will give the team a chance to see what some of the young guys can do, and after that, who knows.

"It's important for us to get an evaluation of those guys and understand what they're about. We brought them here for a reason. We haven't had a game situation with any of them. Obviously, some of them are flashing in practice, and we're excited to see them in more live situations," Roseman said.


Offensive lineman Dennis Kelly said he hopes to return from back surgery for the regular-season opener, just a month away. Kelly said he'd had a disk problem since last season that wasn't getting better . . . With Cary Williams sidelined by a hamstring injury, corners Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher are scheduled to start. Boykin, probably the best Eagles corner so far in camp, will get a chance to show he can play outside despite being 5-10 . . . Patrick Chung and Nate Allen are the starting safeties.

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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