Jeff Stoutland has a name he uses to describe the naysayers of the world. There were quite a few members of this so-called fraternity who predicted doom when the Eagles offensive line lost one starter after another and inexperienced backups were pushed to the fore.
"I don't live in a world of the 'Fellowship of the Miserable,' " the Eagles' offensive line coach said Thursday. "I never think that way. I'm always thinking that this group is going to be a solid group. We're going to work our butts off to get them ready to play, and they'll be ready if they're called upon."
Despite some bumps along the way - and at least one more game before the Eagles have their full complement of linemen - Stoutland's unit has weathered a patch of six games without the starting five together for a single play.
Last year, all five were together for 92 percent of offensive snaps and no one missed a start. But even before this season began, Lane Johnson was lost for the first four games to a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Then his replacement at right tackle, Allen Barbre, suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the opener. Left guard Evan Mathis sprained his knee in the same game. And center Jason Kelce injured his groin in Week 3 and underwent sports hernia surgery.
Five backups were called upon, and the four primary ones who were used - center David Molk, guards Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly, and tackle Andrew Gardner - had only 10 career starts among them. But Stoutland refused to let his linemen join the Fellowship - "complainers," Stoutland called the group - even after a miserable outing in the Week 4 loss to the 49ers.