Six snaps in, Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata injured his shoulder. In the fourth quarter, right guard Isaac Seumalo hurt his ankle.
With the game against the Jaguars on the line, the Eagles had two of their elite offensive linemen on the sidelines.
Ready to crisis-manage the situation was offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who also is the run game coordinator. He sent in Jack Driscoll to replace Mailata, and Sua Opeta to replace Seumalo.
“We had to play some guys today and you can see what a good job that Coach Stout does of developing guys and getting guys ready to play that might not play,” head coach Nick Sirianni said.
“Jack Driscoll, Sua — those guys stepped in and did a really nice job.”
The offensive line led the way for Eagles runners to gain 210 yards on 50 attempts in their 29-21 victory in windy, wet conditions — ideal weather to control the ball on the ground.
In this week’s coaches’ critique — where we look at the performance of Eagles’ coaches, good and bad — we sing the praises of Stoutland.
- “We have a next-man-up mentality,” said running back Miles Sanders, who set career highs with 27 carries and 134 yards.
- “We got the best offensive line coach in the league coaching these guys. Whoever is next man up is going to produce in there, no matter who’s in there.”
Stoutland, in his 10th season with the Eagles, often is the center of attention, receiving universal praise for his offensive line. His assistant offensive line coach is Roy Istvan, who has coached for 33 years and has been with the Eagles since 2019.
Last year, the Eagles led the NFL in rushing. This year, they are ranked fifth in rushing and second in total offense.
Stoutland’s unit is considered the NFL’s best. And evidently, his backups are pretty good, too.
- “Well, we have a lot of confidence in the back-ups, and Jack stepped in, and credit to him, the work he’s put in, and Stout does an unbelievable job getting those guys ready,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said.
- “Anytime your number is going to get called, you’ve got to be ready to go in and execute at a high level. I think Sua and Jack did a hell of a job coming in there and doing what we needed to win that football game.”
KELCE ON STOUTLAND
One of Stoutland’s charges is a future Hall of Famer, Jason Kelce, one of the acknowledged leaders of the team. When Kelce talks, it carries a lot of weight.
- “Stout’s hard to describe because, man, you can’t fully comprehend it until you’re in there with him and being coached by him,” Kelce said.
- “Obviously, he’s extremely knowledgeable, experienced and strategic and able to build a game plan and something that’s conducive to the players.
- “He tells us all week, ‘Everything I do is to try and put you guys in good positions to succeed,’ and he does a phenomenal job of that, and that’s one of his strengths.
- “Then another one of his strengths is he’s an outstanding technician who understands how to hit run blocks, understands how to teach pass blocking and footwork and all of that.
- “But I think probably his greatest strength is his intensity, his passion and his energy … Sometimes you’re in awe of how much energy he brings every single day. He just never stops coaching.
- “Guys will joke about it, other coaches will joke about it, because it’s just so jaw dropping, the amount of endurance he has to coach people, and I think that’s why you see backups go in the game and play well.
- “He just can’t help himself. It’s just kind of like he was made to be an offensive line coach.”
Stoutland has coached for 39 years. He started in 1984, coaching linebackers at his alma mater Southern Connecticut State. He also coached at Syracuse, Cornell, Michigan State, Miami and Alabama.
He won national championships at Alabama in 2011 and 2012.
He joined the Eagles in 2013, hired by Chip Kelly.
Stoutland has had Pro Bowlers in nine consecutive seasons with the same team— the fifth coach to do so since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. His players have earned 17 Pro Bowl berths.
- “When you’re in the meeting room with him, you better be [mentally] there because if you’re not there, he’s going to ask you a question cold calling,” Kelce said.
- “It’s like his signature, he’s gonna just spot up, and if you don’t have [the correct answer] on your tongue ready to go, he’s going to be ripping you.
- “I think he gets the most out of every player who has ever played for him. And that’s usually a mark of a pretty darn good coach.”