So much for competition. Isaac Seumalo is the Eagles' starting left guard, offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Wednesday morning.
Reich nonchalantly named Seumalo the starter for training camp when asked about the competition at the position.
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"Isaac's the starter and then it's just competition from there," Reich said. "That's the great thing about training camp, the great thing about this business: it's so stinking competitive. It's what the guys love about it. It's what we love about it. Again, it'll play itself out."
A few hours later, the team announced it had released veteran lineman Allen Barbre, but actually traded him (see story). Barbre started at left guard last year and split reps with Seumalo during the spring. Now Seumalo, the second-year lineman, begins camp as the starter between Jason Kelce and Jason Peters.
After reporting to training camp on Wednesday, Seumalo said the coaching staff hadn't even told him yet that he was the starter.
"I didn't [know]," said Seumalo, who still views camp as a competition. "But we still have training camp to go through, so we'll see what happens."
Still, it means something to him that he'll get the first crack at securing the left guard spot.
"It's awesome," he said, "but the football season is like a marathon, so just kind of go with the ups and downs and let the chips lie where they may."
So why does the coaching staff have confidence in the 23-year-old Seumalo?
"Very smart [player]," Reich said. "Understands what he's being coached. Understands fronts. Understands defensive schemes, what to anticipate. Very athletic, tough-minded player."
In the last two seasons, the 33-year-old Barbre started 28 games for the Eagles. He missed four in 2016.
The Eagles have plenty of depth along their interior offensive line. In addition to starters Seumalo, Kelce and Brandon Brooks, they'll have veterans Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack coming off the bench.
It seems likely that Seumalo, who was a third-round pick out of Oregon State last year, will eventually move to center for the Eagles. That was his position in college and the Eagles have been working to get him snaps at center since his arrival. But for now, Kelce is in the way, so Seumalo will bide his time as the Eagles' starting at left guard.