Peters says Eagles' offense will be shockingly good

Posted: August 23, 2013

JASON PETERS was asked how the NFL would react to the Eagles' new offense. The questioner offered up two possibilities, just as a for-instance - "surprised" and "shocked."

Peters went for "shocked."

"As the year goes on, people are going to try to game plan for it and get adjusted to it," he said. "But they're going to be shocked the first couple weeks, coming at them quick, fast."

With that pronouncement, the Eagles' best player returns. That is what Jason Peters is - the Eagles' best player, when he is healthy. He is so good a left tackle that offensive-line coach Jeff Stoutland used to teach his Alabama players using Jason Peters video as a guide. Now Stoutland coaches him in person.

But Peters was gone all of last year with an Achilles' injury and he has been gone for much of this summer with a hamstring problem. He says the two are not related, and that the hamstring isn't a big deal, and that he's ready. So far, he has not played in any part of the Eagles' first two exhibition games, has not experienced the live-action rush to the line of scrimmage of this new offense, play after play after play.

Saturday night, Peters says he will play three quarters against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said he has been able to keep up his cardio work on a bicycle and on an elliptical machine and in the pool and whatnot, but now he will get the first extended test - of both how physically taxing new coach Chip Kelly's offense can be for a lineman and how gratifying it can be to see how fatigue and speed can wilt a defender, too.

If you look at it one way, the traditional way, you want to see the five starting linemen together before the opener - and, so, Peters' ability to play this weekend is vital. But there is another view - that any risk to that hamstring is not a risk worth taking in a meaningless game, and continuity be damned.

Peters says there is no risk, that the hamstring wasn't that bad to start with. So he is back. And he has some opinions.

On running back LeSean McCoy:

"He is definitely going to be over 1,000 yards," Peters said. "Early. Earlier than he has been. The defensive line and linebackers are going to be winded, and we're still going to be pushing on the d-line. He's going to break out early this year."

And on quarterback Michael Vick:

"I view Mike as a Pro Bowler," Peters said. "You saw what he did when he had his offensive line [prior to the injuries up and down the line last season]. He got the big contract, went to the Pro Bowl. When you don't have your offensive line as a quarterback, your play is going to drop. That's what happened. He was fumbling the ball, also. That all comes from not having your starters. If we give him time, he's going to make plays."

They have all bought into this thing. They have seen some initial results in the two preseason games, and the Eagles' players are believers. They know, though, that the real test will come in the regular season, when defenses begin to do some real whiteboard work of their own.

No one knows for sure, but the suspicion is that teams will blitz the Eagles like crazy in an attempt to disrupt their rhythm and batter their quarterback. Peters says they'll be ready - because that is his expectation, too.

"Because we're in such a fast-paced offense, the d-line tends not to rush as hard," Peters said. "[Defenses] will start off blitzing us, but once we start executing plays and getting back to the line of scrimmage, they won't blitz as much - but we're going to have to get out there and see."

He talked some more, about trying to give up the fewest sacks in Eagles history, and winning a championship, and being the best. You're allowed to talk like that when you are as good a player as Jason Peters is - and people tend to listen a little more attentively.

If you look at the line, Todd Herremans is gimping around a little these days, but it does not seem serious. Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis are healthy again. And if rookie right tackle Lane Johnson is as solid as his early work suggests, Peters' optimism will have an honest foundation.

And, so, he said, "If we come together, we're going to win some games because it starts with us."

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