One Eagles Left Guard is Playing Better than the Other Left Guard

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s like an Oprah Winfrey giveaway at the Eagles’ left guard position.

You get some snaps!

And you get some snaps!

Everybody gets some snaps!

When’s the last time you heard of a rotation at any offensive line position?

The Patriots mixed and matched a few years back. Nothing Eagles-related comes to my mind, but that’s what they’re doing with Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack right now.

The season started with Isaac Seumalo at left guard, the second-year third round pick out of Oregon State who played 100% of the snaps in weeks one and two. There wasn’t much preseason competition in that spot and the Birds traded Allen Barbre to Denver for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Seumalo gave up several sacks in the Kansas City loss, which resulted in Warmack starting the Week 3 win against the Giants. But he didn’t play that entire game; he split reps with the veteran Wisniewski.

Here’s how they broke it up against New York:

Wisniewski: 44 snaps / 58% involvement

Warmack (starter): 32 snaps / 42% involvement

This Sunday, Wisniewski was the starter, but he still split time with Warmack, as it appeared the Eagles would play two offensive series, then rotate their guards:

Wisniewski (starter): 49 snaps / 62% involvement

Warmack: 30 snaps / 38% involvement

Neither player appeared in Week 1 or Week 2.

So it’s close to a 60/40 split with Wisniewski getting the edge over Warmack as we head into week five. The Eagles had nine drives in the Chargers win and 12 drives in the Giants win.

Here’s how it played out on Sunday:

Drive 1: Wisniewski (touchdown)

Drive 2: Wisniewski (field goal)

Drive 3: Warmack (field goal)

Drive 4: Warmack (field goal)

Drive 5: Wisniewski (punt)

Halftime

Drive 6: Wisniewski (punt)

Drive 7: Warmack (field goal)

Drive 8: Wisniewski (touchdown)

Drive 9: Wisniewski (victory formation)

Doug Pederson hasn’t said much about the rotation, at least nothing truly meaningful. He was asked about it on Monday, and mentioned that the left guard “plan” is discussed pregame with line coach Jeff Stoutland, who is then in charge of the rotation.

“…one man’s strength is another man’s weakness, and vice versa. You have the combination of a lot of good things there. So that’s worked out extremely well for us and we get the best of both worlds up front. And the timing is — they haven’t missed a beat up front.”

They certainly didn’t miss a beat in the running game, and Carson Wentz was only sacked once, so there weren’t any big issues to highlight.

After watching the condensed film, I felt like Wisniewski played better than Warmack, with the ability to hold his ground in the passing game and make some key blocks in the running game. Warmack was alright, and didn’t make any noticeable errors, but he didn’t standout either. If you’re into Pro Football Focus, they rated Warmack at 43.4 while Wisniewski was a 82.4.

Some clips to look at:

Wisniewski

This was a first quarter Chargers stunt that both Wisniewski and Jason Peters could have done better with. Wisniewski loses his balance and goes down, but Wentz stays in the pocket, takes the hit, and finds Nelson Agholor in stride for a big gain:

Wisniewski took a hands to the face penalty to start the second drive, which helped the Birds get some breathing room deep inside their half. Later in that drive, he rumbled downfield as one of the blockers on that successful fake end-around and screen play:

Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks make the key blocks there, but I think if Wendell Smallwood breaks that last tackle, then Wisniewski’s block on Trevor Williams is good enough to get Smallwood to the end zone.

In the second quarter, Wisniewski had a really nice double level block to move Corey Liuget and then crunch Jatavis Brown further up the field. LeGarrette Blount went for 10 yards and a first down on this play:

You saw the same thing on the Blount “beastmode” run, when Wisniewski was able to relocate Darius Philon and then reach Brown five or six yards past the line of scrimmage:

Wiz also took another hands to the face penalty on this drive, which gave the Eagles a new set of downs at the goal line.

He had a great block on the Smallwood touchdown plunge:

Warmack

The Birds ran it better behind Wisniewski than Warmack, who looked a little less sound in both phases of the game.

In this clip, the Eagles had to ditch a tight-end screen because Warmack wasn’t able to get enough of a bump to allow the play to develop. He basically whiffs on Damion Square and Wentz is under immediate pressure:

In the third quarter, Philon tries an outside rip move on Warmack, who does a nice job of keeping his balance, holding his ground, and keeping the defensive tackle in front of him. Wentz has four seconds in the pocket to pick his pass, which went for seven or eight yards:

He had some trouble with Square later on the drive, when the he was able to shed the block, forcing Warmack to haul him down in a sequence that could have easily been flagged.

I felt like I saw a lot of this, where Warmack was getting moved off the line of scrimmage about two to three yards on a number of plays:

That was a failed stretch play, which the Eagles really didn’t have a lot of success with on Sunday. Warmack certainly wasn’t the only lineman struggling to block on those calls.

So that’s only a sampling of what we saw on Sunday, and while there wasn’t a ton of drop off from Wisniewski to Warmack, I feel like the former stood out more than the latter.

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6 Responses

  1. O line is the most underrated part of the sport…

    StarCraft is the most underrated game of All Time

  2. So…go with Wisniewski right? It seems like he was half-decent last year when helping a depleted line and he’s been better than his fellow guards this year. Is it his age or some other reason that they don’t want to really commit to the guy as starter? Seems like the other guys have higher potential or higher draft pick but they haven’t been producing.

    1. I was thinking about that, then remembered that Jason Peters is 35. So I dunno, it feels like they wanted the younger guys to sort of take hold of the role and not give it back, but neither one of them was up to the task.

  3. Your article reinforced what I thought I saw, at least on a much smaller scale. Pederson should quit screwing around and make Wiz the starter. He’s got the experience and looked good, more athletic than Warmack. Good breakdown of film.

    1. I think the reason Wormack is getting playing time is because of his relationship with Jeff Stoutland. He obviously has underperformed when compared with Wiz. If we can see, so can the players and coaches. Peterson seems to let his coaches make his decisions for him. Here is an example when he should make the call, not leave it to Stoutland.
      Also, I was surprised when they gave him an extension. I doubt if he will be a “hot” commodity in the off season so why not wait until we can really see what he can do in a game. Pay people for performance, not potential. People always seem to think Wormack is better that he is because of his size. That is NOT visible in a game.

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