The Eagles thought they’d be starting three rookies this weekend in their season opener against the St Louis Rams, but as it turns out, only two will take the field. It was revealed today that newly signed veteran guard Kyle DeVan will start at RG in place of rookie first round pick Danny Watkins. DeVan has started for the Colts under now Eagles O-line coach Howard Mudd, so he understands the system and has the coaches’ trust already. The Eagles will however be starting another rookie on the offensive line, center Jason Kelce who says he’s excited for his first real NFL action.
"I mean, it is a business, but I think we all know that playing football is fun" Kelce said. "And to be able to do that at the highest level and to be put in an opportunity to play against the best of the best, no question there’s some excitement."
The center is the man who make the offensive line calls for the Eagles, which Kelce knows will be a challenge in the noisy dome in St Louis.
"For the most part guards are going to be able to hear what I’m saying, tackles maybe not, but we have to echo the calls across the whole offensive line and make sure that everybody’s on the same page. If we get some big plays happen that’s a good way to silence the crowd a little bit. So I really think we’ve been doing a good job in practice simulating a very loud environment and we’ve done a good job so far."
Middle linebacker Casey Matthews also gets his first start in the family business and says he looking forward to playing in games that count.
"I’m really excited and obviously looking forward to the opportunity. Playing in a game that really matters, and obviously the preseason matters as well, but these are the ones that count. I’m looking forward to seeing how well we can perform out there. Obviously, we know what we’re capable of doing and it’s just a matter of executing."
Matthews made a big improvement in the third preseason game after his rough outing against the Steelers in preseason week two. But he says he still has learning to do after such an abbreviated offseason.
"I feel I’ve progressed pretty well through camp. Obviously, we didn’t have any OTAs and offseason mini-camps, it was tough coming in day one and trying to run the defense. I feel more comfortable, and obviously you’re going to feel more comfortable the more reps you get. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed is that things are starting to slow down and I’m starting to learn what other people do out there other than my position. I feel like it’s coming along, and I can only get better."