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
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.”