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Jordan Mailata Said he Protected his Family Against the "Dirty" Saints

The Eagles LT said New Orleans' Marcus Davenport was taking late hits against Jalen Hurts in Sunday's win, recalled dirty plays after whistle when Philly beat the Saints last year, too
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PHILADELPHIA – Jordan Mailata wasn’t holding back any punches, kind of like the wrestling match the Eagles’ left tackle engaged in with Marcus Davenport during the Eagles’ 40-29 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The two men got into a scrum after the whistle late in the first half, with the 6-8, 380-pound Mailata ending up on top of the Saints’ defensive end. It led to some pushing and shoving between the two and even on the periphery, where teammates on each side got into the act.

There were no flags, but plenty of hard feelings and even some fun, with Mailata switching the location of his Instagram account to IHOP, the International House of Pancakes after the game.

“I was being cheeky, that’s all that was,” said Mailata on Wednesday as the Eagles prepare for the Frank Sinatra portion of their schedule – New York, New York – with a trip to the MetLife to play the Giants on Sunday then a week later, back up the New Jersey Turnpike to play the Jets.

Then Mailata got serious and talked about his match with Davenport.

It stemmed, he said, from the Saints engaging in dirty plays when the teams met last year on Dec. 13, which was a 24-21 Eagles win.

It also had to do with what Mailata believed were late hits against quarterback Jalen Hurts.

“The biggest thing for me was all the extra stuff (Davenport) was doing to Jalen,” said Mailata. “I’m a big boy, I can handle myself, but I think seeing him getting pushed out of bounds and even when Jalen’s breaking the pockets and he’s throwing the ball, he’s getting hit late by No. 92, Davenport, sorry.

“So, for me it kind of built up. The frustration was, once I get an opportunity, I’m going to do something to this dude. It just so happened that play he lined up against me, I got the right footwork, got the right leverage, and just kind of wanted to finish him into the ground.”

Jordan Mailata taking some coaching from Eagles OL coach Jeff Stoutland

Jordan Mailata

Then Mailata recalled last year’s game.

“I just remember them being so dirty after plays last year,” he said. “For me, I wanted to set the tone early and that’s why I was the way I was on Sunday because I wasn’t going to let that fly again this year.”

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“For me, it’s protecting my family,” he said. “I told you guys this last week, all these guys on the team are my family. So, for me, protecting my family is what made me do that…seeing my brother get hit, getting pushed out of bounds late, it didn’t roll with me right.”

The job of an enforcer on the Eagles’ offensive line fell to left tackle Jason Peters for more than a decade.

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Mailata and Peters overlapped in Philadelphia for three years, after Mailata was drafted in the seventh round in 2018 despite never having played football in his entire life, and the former Australian rugby player is fine taking over that role as needed.

“I’m just trying to be my own person and watching JP for the last three years kind of helped me just understand what kind of role that left tackle has,” said Mailata. “…My family knows I can play with nastiness. But for me, it’s been a confidence thing.

"Knowing the game plan has helped me a lot with my confidence. Knowing the right techniques and just keeping the repetitions coming every day and every week, just kind of provided me with that edge on Sunday.”

What the Eagles are doing right now is winning with physicality. 

And now it has added nastiness.

The result has been a devastating running game, led of course by the O-line, with Mailata, rookie Landon Dickerson, veteran Jason Kelce, Jack Driscoll, and Lane Johnson.

The Eagles possess the league’s No. 2 ranked rushing attack. It has posted back-to-back games with more than 200 yards on the ground for the first time since 1978. They have topped 200-yards rushing in three of the last four games.

“Every week we’re trying to be the more physical team, we’re trying to play nasty,” said Mailata. “Nasty as you guys say. Nasty. 

"We’re just trying to be the most dominant O-line out there on the field...I truly believe now games are won up front, the O-line and D-line, they set the tone. If we can set the tone that we’re the most dominant team, I think we’re going to come away with a good victory.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.