November 23, 2016
Once upon a time, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce was a fan favorite. In more recent years, he has become more of a polarizing player. While he is as athletic as any offensive lineman in the NFL, he will also struggle against much bigger defensive tackles.
The Eagles love Kelce's smarts and have credited him with making life easier on Carson Wentz by making correct line calls before the snap. However, it is unknown whether they would prefer a bulkier center who can move defenders in the run game, or if they prefer Kelce's skill set which allows him to get to the edges on screens and sweeps. Against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, Kelce had a great game.
Let's review some of the plays he made, in chronological order:
1) Outstanding reach block springs Ryan Mathews for a big gain:
2) Kelce doubles on the DT, then picks up the LB who otherwise has a lane to the runner on a key 3rd and 3:
3) We've talked in the past about how the Eagles likely don't try QB sneaks because Kelce is small. Here he gets low and drives the pile along with Stefen Wisniewski (who may have actually gotten away with a false start):
4) This one is OL highlight reel material. This is the long screen play that went for a touchdown that was called back because Nelson Agholor can't line up correctly. Kelce is way out in front of the play and is able to keep Kam Chancellor away from Ertz all the way down the field. This is awesome:
5) Here he's able to lock onto Bobby Wagner in space (not easy), and watch the finish:
6) Another highly difficult reach block gives the back a chance around the edge:
7) Yet another difficult reach block opens up a sizable hole for the back:
8) Here Kelce absorbs the initial blow on a run play, holds his ground, and then finishes:
While he has committed a somewhat alarming number of penalties and will struggle against bigger DTs, Kelce has yet to allow a sack all season long, and he certainly has his good moments, like the ones shown above.
If the Eagles were to cut or trade Kelce next offseason, they would save $3,800,000 of his $6,200,000 cap number in 2017. I don't see that happening.
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