Andre Dillard Facing Another Challenge
Eagles rookie first-round draft pick Andre Dillard has stood tall against the challenges of the likes of Chicago’s Khalil Mack, Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes, and Dallas’ Robert Quinn already this season.
That was as a left tackle.
Now comes a greater challenge, greater even perhaps than that of Jadeveon Clowney, who will be at Lincoln Financial Field with his Seattle Seahawks teammates for a 1p.m. game on Sunday.
Dillard will play right tackle. He will move from left tackle to right tackle because Lane Johnson’s was ruled out on Friday as he continues to recoever from a concussion he suffered last Sunday in the in the second quarter of a 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Dillard said on Friday that he has never played right tackle in his whole life.
“Ever since I started playing at 14, I was a left tackle,” said Dillard, who then pointed out the degree of difficulty in making that move with a very good analogy.
He asked a reporter, “What hand do you write with?”
The reporter responded: “My right.”
“Try doing it with your left and doing it perfectly legibly in a week,” Dillard said.
Dillard then got even more detailed.
“It takes a lot of repetitions,” he said. “It’s a big muscle memory thing more than anything. Your eyes, your brain, your entire body really. You go your whole life doing one thing one way then you suddenly flip it on a week’s notice, your brain’s kind of like, ‘Whoa, this doesn’t feel right.’ Like when you cross your fingers, you put your right thumb over your left. It feels weird putting your other thumb over.”
Dillard said he wasn’t surprised the Eagles asked him to make the move.
“I’m a backup, have to play more than one spot here,” he said.
If head coach Doug Pederson is concerned about Dillard sliding to the other side of the line, he doesn’t sound it.
“One of the things we loved about Andre is not only his durability but flexibility, his versatility to play both left and right,” said Pederson, earlier in the week. “He'll do a great job this week. He'll prepare and it's just a matter of, honestly, you're playing on the right side.
“Movement skill is kind of the opposite from the left; you’re more to the right, unless you have to step down, things like that. But he'll pick up on it quickly and be fine.”
Clowney and the rest of the Seahawks’ defense will be the judge of that.