Jeff Stoutland believes Jason Peters will Succeed at Right Guard
Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland remembers one walkthrough practice a few years ago when he looked over at Jason Peters and saw the left tackle snapping footballs as if he was a center auditioning for Jason Kelce’s job.
“I said, ‘What are you doing?’” recalled Stoutland during a Friday morning videoconference call. “He said, ‘I’m going to play center one day. I’m going to come back as a long snapper.’ I don’t think he was joking, either.”
First things first.
Peters is returning as a right guard. The long snapping duties are going to have to wait. Maybe that’ll be a thing when Peters turns 40, which will happen in less than two years.
Right now, he will learn to become a guard and fill in for injured Brandon Brooks.
“I believe everybody in the O-line meeting room, I think they look at Jason Peters like, ‘This guy can do anything,’” said Stoutland. “This is going to be great for Jason Peters, it’s just another challenge for him.
“He’s had the play the toughest position on the O-line, maybe the whole offense, for a lot of years at left tackle. Blindside. Being out there on his own. On an island, one-on-one blocking all day. So that’s a hard job.”
Stoutland believes that the organization’s decision to bring back Peters was the correct one for a number of reasons, including that Peters knows how Stoutland coaches, is familiar with the terminology and understands what the job of a guard is after playing next to one is entire career.
Still, there will be challenges, but Stoutland has no doubt Peters will be able to handle them.
“The biggest adjustment, to me, is he’s not going to have to block a guy in a giant space,” said Stoutland. “The player is going to be right in front of him. To me, that’s the biggest adjustment … Maybe surfacing some of the blocks with the run fits, the way I teach them.
“Being on the right side, I think that again, I really believe that JP, he embraces these things. He likes a new challenge.
“I just think in his mind, it’s something that’s going to be new. It’s something that’s going to be challenging. But I absolutely think he has the critical factors to be very productive at the position.”
The Eagles decided to bring Peters back in mid-July, even though, Stoutland said, third-year man Matt Pryor, who had been tabbed to replace Brooks in 2020, was coming off a solid offseason.
The addition of Peters to start at right guard makes Pryor perhaps even more valuable, however, since he can become a swing player that can play either guard or tackle.
Last year, Pryor played a preseason game at left tackle against Jacksonville then during the season he stepped in a couple of times at right guard.
And with the ultimate swing lineman, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who played both tackle spots and learned guard last year, gone to Detroit in free agency, Pryor could be just what Stoutland needs.
“I think Matt Pryor has made the biggest jump, just in his development, his training, pushing himself and getting into great shape,” said Stoutland. “… I think Matt is extremely valuable because he can play a lot of positions. … To have that swing value, to me, is extremely important. I think he’s right there. I look at him like he is a starter in my eyes, just like I did Vaitai last year.”
Someday, perhaps, the Eagles and Stoutland will look at Peters as their long snapper.
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