Peters' loss large on left side for Eagles

After a four-game win streak to end the season, the Philadelphia Eagles were poised to enter to 2012 among the favorites in the NFC.

Jason PetersPetersBut after Friday’s news that left tackle Jason Peters will miss half the season or more after rupturing his Achilles tendon, an Eagles rushing attack that could have had the Eagles atop the conference looks far less formidable.

Peters has been one of the primary reasons the Eagles have finished fifth in the league in rushing in each of the last two seasons. Over that span, no team has run the ball around left tackle more than Philadelphia and few have run it more efficiently.

Since 2010, the Eagles are second in the league in rushing yards (1,052), yards per rush (6.9) and rushing first downs on carries over left tackle. In 2008, the year before Peters joined Philadelphia, the Eagles averaged just 4.3 yards per carry on rushes off left tackle, the 25th-best rate in the league.

Selected to Pro Bowl
Every Season Since 2007

Peters earned his fifth career Pro Bowl selection in 2011 and joined Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas on the first-team AP All-Pro team, Peters’ first career selection.

He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of his three seasons in Philadelphia and also in 2007 and 2008 with the Buffalo Bills before being traded to the Eagles for first-, fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2009.

As noted in the chart on the right, Peters is one of just four offensive players to reach the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons.

At the moment, the Eagles options to replace Peters appear limited. As Andy Reid noted in announcing Peters’ injury, Philadelphia recently agreed to a one-year deal with King Dunlap, who has started three games at left tackle over the last two seasons.

In addition to Peters, Dunlap and Todd Herremans, the presumed starter at right tackle prior to Friday, the only other offensive tackle on the roster is D.J. Jones, who has never played in an NFL game.

Andy Reid could be forced to draft an offensive tackle early in April’s draft, something he’s been reluctant to do since taking over the Eagles in 1999.

Since then, Philadelphia has drafted just two offensive tackles in the first three rounds (Shawn Andrews in 2004, Winston Justice in 2006). The Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans (both one) are the only teams to have drafted fewer offensive tackles in the first three rounds in that span.