PHILADELPHIA - Jason Peters is in the conversation to move back to left tackle.
That’s it for now, though. Just the conversation.
The Eagles have to do something at that position after Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that second-year lineman Andre Dillard suffered a biceps injury that will “at some point” land him on season-ending injured reserve.
“It’s unfortunate, he had a tremendous offseason, and was having a really good camp for us, coming in healthy, strong,” said Pederson about Dillard, last year’s first-round draft pick. “It’s unfortunate, but he’ll get better, he’ll heal from this and be ready to go.”
Peters, 38, is one of the best to ever play that spot in the history of the game, but Pederson isn’t going to make a knee-jerk reaction just yet and blow up the experiment that has Peters taking reps at right guard in place of Brandon Brooks, who tore his Achilles in early June and expected to join Dillard in missing the season.
“We’ve got a couple of guys now including Jason Peters we want to look at over at the left side,” said Pederson, prior to a Saturday morning practice that was moved indoors due to rain.
“JP has done an outstanding job coming in playing the right guard spot. We’re going to continue to look at him there as well. We have some options. We have a couple days before one, roster cuts but obviously getting into the regular season.”
The candidates to play left tackle, in addition to Peters and per Pederson, are Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, and Jack Driscoll, a rookie fifth-round pick from Auburn.
The Eagles kick off the season in two weeks against a Washington defensive line that could be one of the best in the NFC.
It was in Washington where Halapoulivaati Vaitai, now with the Lions, made his first career start as a rookie, and it didn’t go well. So, the Eagles must figure out what their line will look like because it will be challenged early not just by Washington, but the Rams come in for the home opener a week later with Aaron Donald then the Bengals come to town with Geno Atkins.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of experience coming in as a head coach for the first time,” said Pederson. “You get it by doing it. … You learn and gain valuable experience that way. It’s unfortunate for Andre, his injury, but we can bring somebody in here to help, if it’s a veteran player, we’ll look that way, too.”
Mailata has had good days and bad days during camp and never played any organized football when the Eagles drafted him in the seventh round in 2018. He had been a star rugby player in Australia until deciding he’d give football a try and, at 6-8, 350 pounds, why not?
Driscoll, who is 6-5, 315 pounds, has opened some eyes in camp. Two weeks ago, defensive end Brandon Graham talked about Driscoll, though he couldn’t quite remember his name then.
“You got (number) 63, Jack, I forgot his last name,” said Graham. “I like him a lot. He’s a younger guy. I love his attitude so far, just on how he tries to finish blocks and you really have to work the edge on him because he’s a big body.”
Pryor got some reps last year, including starting against the Seahawks in the playoffs, but they were at right guard.
If Peters is moved to left tackle, Pryor would likely be inserted at guard.
Of course, the issue with Peters no matter where he plays is his inability to stay healthy both during the week and even during a game.
Who slides in when that happens, either at right guard or left tackle?
“At some point, we have to trust our players,” said Pederson. “As coaches, we trust our guys. It’s our job to coach them up and get them prepared, to help them not only in practice but game situations and that’s what we’re going to do.”
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