PHILADELPHIA -- They've got two rookies in the middle, one player who's never been a tackle at tackle and another guy who is with his fourth team in five years.
That's an unusual recipe for one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
"We've got a journeyman in there at left guard, two rookies at center and right guard, a tackle who's supposedly playing out of position ... on paper, it was scary," left guard Evan Mathis said. "There were a lot of guys in new positions, so you can understand why people were thinking we weren't going to be any good."
Philadelphia ranks No. 1 in the league in offense at 449 yards per game, which puts them on pace for an NFL-record 7,188 yards. The Eagles are No. 1 in rushing offense, No. 3 in first downs and No. 9 in sacks allowed.
Seven games into the season, the Eagles have a quarterback on pace to throw for 4,200 yards, three receivers on pace for 900 yards and a running back on pace for 1,700 yards.
And they all credit this newly assembled line.
"People are starting to see how good the O-line really is," said LeSean McCoy, who is second in the NFL in rushing with 754 yards, 44 yards behind Adrian Peterson in one fewer game. "They're athletic, they're strong and they're fast and they can get out on blocks so quick. I'm hitting the hole, and I'm not getting touched till I'm four yards down the field.
"None of this stuff would be possible if those guys weren't blocking for me."
After a preseason of constant change under new offensive line coach Howard Mudd, the Eagles opened the season with Mathis at left guard, rookie Jason Kelce at center, free-agent pickup Kyle Devan at right guard and Herremans at right tackle.
"We're a very talented group up front," Herremans said. "With this scheme that Howard's given us, we have a chance of being a lot better, too. Things are finally started to pick up and click with all the new people."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press