Jason Peters will be the Eagles’ right guard on Monday and for the rest of the season…or will he?
Peters is struggling with turf toe and is listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles have already shut down right tackle Lane Johnson.
Could Peters be far behind?
It was fairly obvious Peters was playing through pain against Cleveland, but the move inside to right guard is supposed to limit the negative impact of a turf toe since quick sets are not as necessary as they are on the outside.
According to line coach Jeff Stoutland, Peters was all-in on the move inside, allowing former seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata to return to the lineup at left tackle.
“The conversation he and I had, he was outstanding,” said Stoutland on Saturday afternoon, referring to Peters. “He said, ‘Coach, whatever you need me to do to get the best five guys on the field, I’m all in.’”
Peters was signed on July 14 with the idea he would play right guard. That was until left tackle Andre Dillard suffered a season-ending biceps injury in August, necessitating Peters’ move back to left tackle, a switch that came with a substantial pay raise.
Now, with six games left in the season, Peters will attempt to be a guard on the fly, depending on how the turf toe feels.
Stoutland said Peters and center Jason Kelce were working on combination blocks during practice earlier in the week and Peters impressed.
“I’m just amazed how he sees angles,” said Stoutland. “He’s almost like an artist. It doesn’t matter what position he plays, he understands, visually he gets it. Kelce and him were trying to talk through the block and he was just, ‘Come on, let’s go do it.’ He’s really just a natural.”
Mailata will likely be the left tackle for the remainder of the season, barring something unforeseen. He isn’t approaching it like that, however.
“I’m going to approach this game like I’ve been approaching the last couple games I’ve been playing,” he said on Saturday. “I’m always trying to do what I can for this team. I’m not trying to do me first, I’m trying to do what I can for this team, so that’s what I’m going to do this week.”
Mailata said that Peters is continuing to coach him up at left tackle, even while Peters makes the transition to right guard.
“Jason Peters looks great at right guard,” said Mailata. “It’s actually incredible how a guy can just go from tackle to right guard in such a short amount of time and look really smooth at the position. Tremendous respect for JP, and it just makes you realize how incredibly lucky I am to have mentors like Jason Kelce and Jason Peters in the room because even at right guard, JP’s still coaching me up on my technique.”
If Peters cannot play on Monday night, it’s likely that Nate Herbig could return to the lineup. Unless the Eagles decide to go with Pryor at right guard and put rookie Jack Driscoll in at left tackle, a position Driscoll has already started for two games in place of Johnson at various points in the season.
It won’t be Sua Opeta, who started two games this season but was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday.
After starting the first eight games of the season, Herbig has been out for the last two games. An injured hand or finger may have been a reason or some struggles in his last couple of starts could be part of it, too.
Stoutland seemed to indicate it was injury.
“Nate Herbig did nothing wrong,” said Stoutland. “Every player, during the course of the season, gets banged up here, banged up there. Then you have to assess whether that player at that point is still capable of performing the task at hand. At that point in time, and I had a conversation with Nate, and he totally understood.
“…Nate Herbig is a valuable part of our offensive line. I think having some time to feel better is going to help him.”
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