It’s been a few weeks now since the not-so-shocking release of Evan Mathis. While I majorly disagree with this move (and I’m sure most of you do as well), it’s time to move on. With Allen Barbre having all but locked up the Left Guard spot, lets take a look at some of the candidates to step up and earn a starting spot at Right Guard.
A likely candidate to earn the job, Tobin is now going into his third year with the Eagles. He started seven games for the Eagles last year during the rash of o-line injuries. His performance was decent, mainly lacking in pass protection. However the coaches are high on the Iowa product because of his potential. “I like him,” says Eagles Offensive Line coach Jeff Stoutland, “I think Matt is a good player. He needs to get some things corrected. But that’s the great part of this; you get to work on the things now that you need to get better. He knows exactly what he has to do.”
Days after the Eagles cut Mathis they signed Guard Jared Wheeler. Wheeler is mostly an unknown product, having gone undrafted out of Miami in 2014. He quickly signed with the Panthers after that, and was then released and signed by the Bills. However he was released during final cuts in preseason. Early this summer he signed with the Seahawks, but was cut shortly after the draft. An interesting fact to keep in mind here is that Wheeler was recruited to Miami by Jeff Stoutland, who is now the Eagles offensive line coach. With all that being said, it’d be surprising if Wheeler earned
Out of all the candidates, Gardner by far has the most NFL experience. At 29, Gardner’s coming into his fifth NFL season and second with the Eagles, Gardner has started 8 games in his career, all coming in 2014. An important fact here is that Gardner took over full-time in favor of Matt Tobin when Herremans went down for the year. Gardner has been one of the guys splitting reps with the first team o-line in mini-camp, and has experience to win himself a full-time starting job this august.
Kelly’s a guy that just never seems to go away. One of the few holdovers from the Reid era, the 25-year-old has started 13 games in his career, 3 coming last year. Kelly has played relatively well in his spare time, but always seems to get favored over guys like Gardner and Tobin. Maybe Chip just doesn’t like Reid guys too much? We’ll see how it all plays out in training camp.
Signed only a few days ago, Moffitt looks to be an interesting candidate for the starting job. He was drafted 75th overall in 2011 by the Seattle Seahawks and started nine games his rookie year before suffering an injury. He then started six more games in 2012, before he was suspended for four games due to illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. In 2013, Moffitt was traded to the Broncos, where he didn’t see the field at all. Moffitt decided to retire in the middle of 2013 due to his unhappiness with playing the game. He also had some personal issues that included trouble with the law and drug use.
However, Moffitt decided to give football another shot and has come out of retirement to sign with the Eagles. Moffitt is experienced, having started 15 total games in his career. He adds more quality competition to the Right Guard spot, and could very well work his way back into a starting role in the NFL come training camp.