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The 4 Most Overlooked Stories of the 2011 NFL Preseason:
1. The Philadelphia Eagles are starting two rookies on the offensive line.
I find it amazing how we get caught up in NFL stories that mean absolutely nothing – Terrelle Pryor to Oakland, Aaron Maybin to the Jets – but important nuggets like this one are like trees falling in the forest. The first rookie, RG Danny Watkins, was not a big surprise. They drafted him 23rd overall and even though Mel Kiper thought it was a slight reach he praised his size and versatility. Watkins better be versatile because he didn’t even play guard at Baylor – he was the left tackle. Rookie #2 is C Jason Kelce, their sixth-round pick. He’s undersized at 6’3” and 282 lbs and I saw him get plowed over by Browns rookie DT Phil Taylor a couple weeks ago. The biggest camp battle in Philly was Kelce vs. 9-year vet Jamaal Jackson. The old man wasn’t happy about it. “You call it competition if you want,” Jackson said. “I don’t. If he needs help, I’ll help him, but competition? There’s no competition. Whoever the coaches feel as though can get the job done, they’ll put that person in there. And right now, that’s not me.” Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd has overseen a dramatic reshuffling of this line and it’s not just the rookies. With Winston Justice hurt and Ryan Harris cut, they’ve moved LG Todd Herremans to RT, then inserted journeyman Evan Mathis in at Herremans’ old spot. Mathis is on his fourth team in five years and couldn’t even start for Cincinnati last year. What are the Eagles seeing that other teams did not? The bottom line is: On opening day only LT Jason Peters returns from 2010 to his original spot.
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