Philadelphia Eagles: A Lisfranc break dashes Isaac Seumalo’s strong start

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Isaac Seumalo has long been the (bad) goat of the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line.

He isn’t a larger-than-life personality like Jason Kelce, an advanced analytics darling like Brandon Brooks, or a former top-five pick like Lane Johnson. One could argue that Jordan Mailata has rapidly grown a following in South Philly faster than Seumalo once he took the field, even if that took a little longer than your typical draftee.

But, much like that band who keeps toiling away in the trenches while their peers ascend to stardom, Seumalo has quietly become increasingly competent on the interior since cracking the starting lineup on a close to full-time basis back in 2018.

While his 2020 season wasn’t quite what some would have hoped for, as he suffered a knee injury in September that cost him the entire month of October and then some, Seumalo looked fully healthy when he returned to the field in 2021 and was playing like a new man with a new number on his jersey.

The keyword in that sentence? Was. After suffering a Lisfranc injury in the Philadelphia Eagles’ brutal loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Isaac Seumalo’s 2021 season is over before it even had a chance to begin.

Isaac Seumalo was off to his best start with the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are 68 guards in the NFL who have received enough snaps through the first three weeks of the 2021 NFL season to qualify for a positional ranking in the Pro Football Focus system. Through 168 offensive snaps, Isaac Seumalo ranked 15th among those 68, higher than Nate Herbig, Landon Dickerson, and even Brandon Brooks, who won the Matthews Award from PFF for the best offensive lineman in the league in 2020.

Sure, Seumalo recorded four penalties in less than three games, which is tied with Lane Johnson for the worst mark in the NFL, but he didn’t allow a single sack over 109 pass-blocking snaps, which, unsurprisingly, is tied for the best mark in the league.

Seumalo looked good in pass coverage, opened holes well in the run game – you know, for the handful of times the team actually ran the ball in any given game – and exhibited the sort of athleticism Jeff Stoutland looks for in starting lineman. When Andre Dillard was inserted into the starting five in place of Jordan Mailata, Seumalo’s steadiness kept the Eagles’ offensive line fairly reputable in the first portion of the Dallas game, even if Jalen Hurts took a pair of sacks at the hands of Osa Odighizuwa and Micah Parsons.

Mind you, Seumalo wasn’t responsible for either of those sacks. They belong to Dickerson and Herbig.

Unfortunately, the fate of the Eagles interior line now falls on those two players, as with both Seumalo and Brooks on IR, some combination of Dickerson and Herbig will be sandwiching Kelce come Week 4, even if it may not look like it did in Week 3.

My advice? Shift Dickerson over to left guard and play Herbig on the right side. With Seumalo gone for the remainder of the regular season, Dickerson has a 14 game runway to play left guard without having to worry about when Brooks will be back. Considering Herbig actually played well at right guard last season, this would likely give the team their best option to remain offensively viable over the immediate future, even if the situation is far from ideal.

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Make no mistake about it; losing Isaac Seumalo is a big one for the Philadelphia Eagles. We all saw in 2020 just how rapidly a team’s offensive attack can corrode sans a solid offensive line, and the prospects of seeing that situation pan out once more a season later feels like a cruel joke from the football gods. While having Landon Dickerson and Nate Herbig on the roster certainly makes things easier, Seumalo’s absence will be noticed for the duration of the season. *sigh* maybe Seumalo’s absence will make the hearts of fans throughout the City of Brotherly Love and beyond grow fonder?