PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles know who four of their starting offensive linemen are. At right guard, however, there’s a different player in the starting lineup every day.
This week, Matt Tobin, John Moffitt and Andrew Gardner have lined up at right guard. Right tackle Lane Johnson, who needs to develop a rapport with the guy to his left, compared it to a game of “musical chairs.”
Coach Chip Kelly said he would like to get an idea who will start at right guard very soon.
“When? Today,” Kelly said Saturday. “It’s an ongoing battle. If it was today, we would have had one guy just jump out in the first four days of practice and we could set it. We’d love to have it done sooner than later, but we want to make sure it’s the right guy and the right fit.”
Last year, Johnson was suspended for the first four games of the season. When he returned for the fifth game, Todd Herremans was the starting right guard. Herremans started Johnson’s first four games before tearing his biceps and going on injured reserve.
Tobin started the next two games. Gardner replaced Tobin after that and started the final six games of the regular season.
So while Johnson said he would like to get time to work with the right guard, Kelly’s focus is on making sure Johnson doesn’t have to work with several guards during the course of the season.
“We’re giving everybody ample opportunities,” Kelly said. “There’s a huge difference between our training sessions and a game. You can get all jacked up about someone and say, 'Oh, my God' and then you go out against the Colts and he’s not as good as you thought he was.
“That evaluation won’t be made until we get at least a couple games under our belt.”
The Eagles open the preseason next Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. They play against Baltimore six days later, then travel to Green Bay for a game on Aug. 29. By then, Johnson said, he would like to have an idea who his linemate will be.
“It doesn’t matter [about] continuity if you have the wrong guy,” Kelly said. “That’s the bottom line. You’d love to have everything locked in right now. But if we did, and we’re locking in the wrong guy, that doesn’t help us as a football team.
“Our preseason is so long, it’s given a chance to express itself over that time. That game against the Colts isn’t counting in the standings. If it was Atlanta [the regular-season opener], we’d have to have it done by this weekend.”