Scuffling Eagles set to give Dunlap a go at guard

King Dunlap isn’t one of those short, stocky, chubby guys that

usually play guard. But while he might not look the part, the

Eagles are fairly confident that the 6-foot-9 Dunlap can play


With Evan Mathis missing practice Thursday for a second straight

day, Dunlap is on target to start at left guard Sunday when the

Eagles (3-5) face the Cardinals (2-6) at Lincoln Financial


Dunlap, a seventh-round pick in 2008, has started six games for

the Eagles, three at left tackle, three at right.

And none at guard.

”It’ll be a new experience for me, my first time playing guard

in a game,” Dunlap said. ”I’m going to make the most of it. I did

it a little bit toward the end of last year in practice on scout

team, but scout team and taking reps with the starters is a little

bit different. I’ve done it a little bit in practice, but that’s

not like getting ready to do it now in a game.”

Dunlap is effectively the Eagles’ top backup at all four

offensive line positions other than center. Although he doesn’t

have a classic build for a guard, he’s quick, athletic and


”King does a good job of bending real well,” center Jason

Kelce said. ”And he’s got such long arms, he can snatch guys

before they even get out of their stance almost, so he’s got that

luxury going for him. I wish I had that.”

And both teams wish they had a few more wins. The Eagles have

lost five of their last seven, and the Cardinals have lost six of

their last seven.

Dunlap said the biggest challenge at guard as opposed to tackle

is staying low so opposing defensive linemen can’t get leverage by

getting under him.

”Normally you’ve got shorter, wider guys, a lot more power guys

inside, so I have to make sure I keep myself down lower in my

stance,” he said. ”I’ve just got to bend a little bit more.”

The Eagles had a couple other options at left guard. Veteran

Jamaal Jackson, the only player left from the 2004 Super Bowl team,

is primarily a backup center but can play guard. And rookie Julian

Vandervelde is listed as Mathis’s backup.

The Eagles could have moved right tackle Todd Herremans back to

left guard, where he played from 2006-2010, and used Dunlap or

Winston Justice at right tackle, their natural positions.

”We have several players who we have great confidence in to

play,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. ”I have a

high level of confidence in King Dunlap. I think he’s a good

football player. He’s (practiced) guard many times both recent past

history as well as past history. So I have great confidence in him

going in.”

So do his teammates.

”King is a football player, just like I am, and he’ll do fine

and will be able to make the switch back and forth,” Herremans

said. ”He’s going to be able to put his long arms to use.”

The Eagles have averaged 26 points in the six games Dunlap has

started – including five last year.

”The more you can do, the better,” Dunlap said. ”The more

reason to keep you around. It’ll be fun. A new challenge. Nothing

like trying something you’ve ever done.”