Back in the days when locker room access was allowed, Jason Peters never really talked to the media, always elsewhere inside the training facility but rarely, if ever, at his locker when the media was allowed in.
Mix in a global pandemic now, and the Eagles’ left tackle may as well be invisible off the field.
On the field, he can be seen plain as day, and on a rainy Sunday in Cleveland, the sight of Peters trying to block Olivier Vernon among other Browns pass rushers was ghastly. Peters looked every bit of his 38 years.
Monday night will need to be a bounce-back game for Peters against the Seattle Seahawks, and it won’t be easy.
Peters will see a familiar face in Carlos Dunlap, who played against the Eagles earlier this year when he was with the Bengals and recorded nine tackles from his defensive end spot. Dunlap could line up against Peters again.
Since Peters doesn’t talk to the media, it is left to his teammates to talk for him.
“One thing I can say about JP is he’s on to the next opponent,” said defensive end Brandon Graham on Wednesday. “He understands he had a bad game. He’s talked about it. If anything, it lit a fire up under him to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The microscope has been trained mostly on quarterback Carson Wentz and his struggles this season, but Peters hasn’t been far behind in terms of his struggles. Maybe the heat of performing badly isn’t as hot as it is for Wentz, but it’s there.
Center Jason Kelce alluded to the fact that there might be more going on with Peters than the trained eye can see on game days.
“I think JP, he’s played a lot of football,” said Kelce. “He’s an incredible teammate, an incredible player. I think there are a lot of things that are going on right now. Just like Carson takes a lot of criticism and blame that’s not solely on his shoulders, I think the same thing could be said for Jason Peters. I don’t want to make excuses for the guy. There are plenty of things that you can say.”
Kelce wasn’t about to say any of them.
“I’ll go out there and battle with him any day of the week,” said Kelce. “I feel very confident going into any game with him at any position, that we’ll go out there and be successful. I have no problem watching him play. As a matter of fact, I love watching him play.”
If Peters is still bothered by the injury or simply wearing down then the Eagles need to make a move back to Jordan Mailata, who the fan base is clamoring for after a mostly successful four-game run as the starting left tackle when Peters was on Injured Reserve with a foot injury.
Mailata may have been mechanical at times due to lack of football experience, but there is no question the skillset to be successful is there and presumably would rise to the surface with more playing time, which is something he won’t get with Peters keeping his job.
“The JP I know, man, just seeing him when I first got here, blocking three or four people on a play, JP has been great,” said Graham. “We all have our days, especially as we’re getting older where certain things don’t come as easy as it used to. I do know that JP still has a lot in the tank. But it’s tough when you have a day like he had. I know JP will definitely bounce back from that.”
If he doesn’t on Monday night, well, it may be time for Pederson to pull the plug on the veteran.
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