Round and round it goes...
The Eagles signed Demetress Bell in April to fill in for Jason Peters while he recovered from a ruptured Achilles that in all likelihood cost him the 2012 season. King Dunlap was retained as insurance, a policy from which the team had already drawn from after just one preseason game. Then a hamstring injury forced Dunlap from the lineup in Week 2, but now that he's ready to return, it appears the offense will stick with Bell.
Where it will stop, no one knows.
Per the Inquirer's Jeff McLane, it looks like the Eagles will stay with Bell for the time being, even if Andy Reid ain't seen nothing. But as McLane observes, the Reid's reasoning for sticking with Bell may be as simple as, "He played very well," as the head coach admitted after the victory over the Giants. Well, that settles it then.
Bell appeared to struggle early on, much the same way he did in his relief performance against Baltimore, and throughout in Arizona in weeks prior, but this time he improved as the game wore on. It helped the Eagles adjusted their game plan to help both tackles, using more chip blocks from tight ends, backs, and even receivers to slow down the pass rush -- and running the ball, of course. It was clearly effective, as protection improved in the second half, and Michael Vick had his least stressful performance this season.
It is admittedly difficult to put the same faith in Bell as Reid suddenly has found after one outing, especially when some were praying Dunlap would make it back for Sunday night (imagine that). That said, there is an aspect of sticking with Bell that I really like.
Continuity. If Dunlap had been far superior to Bell up to this point, then to hell with that, but I can't honestly say with any authority that's been the case. Sure, he has been consistently better, but only marginally so. But if Bell is in fact beginning to come along, he could continue improving next week, the week after, and so on. Remember, Howard Mudd's system was new to him when he arrived in Buffalo, whereas Dunlap already had a year under his belt. And if Bell stinks it up next week, simply replace him then, mid-game if necessary.
Of course, with Reid's refusal to be forthcoming about who is the actual starter -- and why should he be when he can keep the Steelers guessing? -- there is still a chance Dunlap will be in there this Sunday. As of right now though, it appears Bell may have worked his way back into the Eagles' good graces.
>> Looks like Bell supplanted Dunlap at left tackle [Birds' Eye View]