When Jason Peters, one of the top offensive tackles in the league, tore his Achilles in March, the Eagles signed Demetress Bell to replace him at left tackle, paying him 3.25 million to do so. Bell is a talented left tackle when healthy, but has only made it through more than 8 games once in his 4 year career, but in a weak offensive tackle class, he was the best option.
However, according to comments made by Head Coach Andy Reid today, Bell is not guaranteed of a starting job even if healthy. Reid says that Bell will have to compete with King Dunlap, their top reserve at the position last season, for the starting job. Bell figures to be the heavy favorite, based off of his salary and experience, but the fact that Dunlap is in the discussion says a lot about how unsure the Eagles are about the position.
Even if Bell wins the starting job, Dunlap could have to start at least a few games this season because Bell will probably get injured. He figures to be one of the league’s worst at the position if that happens. The good news is that starting quarterback Michael Vick is left handed so the right tackle is actually the blindside protector and right tackle Todd Herremans did well in that role last season. The bad news is that Vick is often injured as well and all of his backups are right handed, which would make the left side the blind side again.