ANAHEIM, Calif. — Lane Johnson has some advice for teammate Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Use everything you can to motivate yourself. The bad games, the naysayers. All of it. Coming off a pretty bad game against the Seahawks last weekend, this would be the time for Vaitai to heed that advice.
"I think some of the games you don't perform well in, you can learn the most out of," Johnson said at Angel Stadium this week. "Just speaking for myself — suspensions, bad games. I use that as a huge motivator and I think he can too. That's the one thing Jason Peters has done in his career. He wasn't drafted, this, that and the other, and he's about to be in the Hall of Fame.
"So I think what he needs to do is just bottle up everything that's not right or has gone wrong and use it as a motivator for him. He'll do it, man. He's still young."
Against Seattle last Sunday, Vaitai had his worst game of the season since taking over for Peters at left tackle. He gave up two sacks, one quarterback hit and five quarterback hurries.
Johnson said he thought the one thing Vaitai had trouble with against the Seahawks was getting off the ball. Because of the crowd noise and silent count, that was a little more difficult, especially from the left tackle position, because right guard Brandon Brooks is the player who taps the center pre-snap.
That's tough enough, but then Vaitai had to deal with a pretty good and really quick pass rusher in Frank Clark.
On one particular occasion, Clark used what offensive coordinator Frank Reich called a "wicked pass rush move" to beat Vaitai for a sack. Reich didn't think many guys would have been able to stop it.
Even after a poor performance last week, Vaitai is still the Eagles' best option at left tackle. He's a fifth-rounder in his second year; there were bound to be hiccups. The only other backups on the team are Isaac Seumalo and Will Beatty.
Vaitai, who was not made available to reporters after repeated attempts this week, is a player who thrives on confidence. It's why we've seen him get stronger as games go on; he's able to prove to himself he can do it.
Now, it'll be up to him to figure out a way to regain that confidence this Sunday, when the Eagles face the Rams at the LA Coliseum.