This spring the Eagles released both starting guards Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. The Herremans release made sense because of his age and decline in performance, Kelly reassured fans and the media that Allen Barbre would be able to handle the job with ease. Mathis on the other hand was a pro bowl caliber guard and was argued by some as one of the best interior lineman in the league, his replacement… journeyman player Andrew Gardner.
Gardner won the starting job in training camp and proved to be a decent starter through the first couple of games, being ranked the 14th best guard it he league and best run blocker on the Eagles by Pro Football Focus. I have put together a couple of clips just from last week where Gardner had come up with big plays on the offensive line.
Here Gardner fires off the ball and pushes his opponent 2 yards back before eventually taking him to the ground. Although it was only a minimum gained it gave the Eagles breathing room while pinned deep in their own territory.
Here is another run play where without the solid level of play by Gardner this could have been another disappointing rush by Philadelphia.
And lastly, Gardner had really started to step in his pass blocking and for one game it seemed like the offensive line was start to play as unit.
The loss of Gardner will truly be set back for the Philadelphia Eagles as they continue to battle through injury are new personnel. Tobin will likely be the “next man up”, hopefully he can step in an play close to same level of Gardner. The Chip Kelly and the Eagles will have to address the Offensive Line next year as they are very limited as far as depth at the position.