Before training camp started, it was expected that Mike McGlynn and Jamaal Jackson would battle it out for the starting center position. But based on the first team reps this morning at Lehigh, you now have to add Jason Kelce to the list of players competing to start on opening day.
Kelce took a lot of snaps with the starting unit today, and looked impressive doing it. New offensive line coach Howard Mudd does not seem to have settled on a starter yet, as players have been shuffled in and out of that position all camp. While Jackson was the starter before he got injured, McGlynn stepped in last season and played well in his absence.
While Kelce is a rookie, head coach Andy Reid said that experience will not play a role in who starts. “I see guys battling it out,” said Reid after practice.
“We’ve got three, really four guys that can play in their. What [offensive line coach] Howard [Mudd] is doing is he’s looking for the five best guys, and its no different at that position. So if it ends up being a veteran player or a rookie player, we don’t rally care. We just want the best guys.”
Could Kelce end up being that guy? Their is still a lot of camp left, but so far, Coach Reid likes what he’s seen out of the former Cincinnatti star.
“I think physically you see he’s a good athlete, he’s tough- but theirs more to it then that,” said Reid. “He’s got to learn. He’s a smart kid, he’s picking things up, but he’s got to continue to learn. Howard is asking him to do a lot of things and you’ve got to see where he ends up. But so far he’s handling the load pretty good.”
Would Reid trust a rookie to protect Michael Vick? It’s unlikely, especially one drafted as far down as Kelce. But if Jackson is unable to return to the player he used to be, you may seen Kelce on the field sooner then expected.