Eagles

Brandon Brooks says Andre Dillard is up to 335 pounds

Brandon Brooks says Andre Dillard is up to 335 pounds

When we last saw Andre Dillard in January, the Eagles’ offensive lineman had just finished his rookie season and vowed to hit the weight room in his first NFL offseason in anticipation of becoming a starter. 

Apparently, he hit the weight room hard. 

Brandon Brooks, a day after his Achilles surgery, appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Quick Slants on Friday and said Dillard now weighs 335 pounds!

None of that college body, that noodle body, none of that,” Brooks said. “He’s been hitting the weights, man, getting strong. I tried to push him every day. You know how it is playing O-line, there’s no excuses, you gotta get it done.

For reference, Dillard is listed at 315 pounds and said he was 320 at the end of last season. He spent most of his rookie year at 320 pounds but felt like he changed the composition of his body. In the five months since the end of the season, Dillard has been working on his body even more. 

That’s a good sign for the Eagles, who will be relying on Dillard to take over Jason Peters’ vacated left tackle spot. Peters is still available on the free agent market but the Eagles are committed to going forward with Dillard, their first-round pick from 2019. Earlier this offseason, Jason Kelce said Dillard had all the athleticism necessary to be a good tackle but just needed to get stronger. It sounds like Dillard has. 

“I’m sure he has a bar he wants to reach but I want it even higher,” Brooks said. “Every time I see him, I’m going to push him to make sure. He may never be JP, but s— he’ll be close. I can tell you that as long as we keep progressing the way he’s going. He’s really hitting it hard.”

Brooks said the offensive line got together this offseason and the guys have been helping Dillard and some of the younger players focus on the mental aspect of NFL football. Once the physical stuff is down, the mental stuff is what you have to stay after, Brooks said. He’s been pushing his younger teammate. 

“As a matter of fact,” Brooks said, “the day I tore my Achilles, I was pushing him because, s— I’m about to be 31, I’m beating him in sprints and it’s like, ‘Nah, Dre, you’re 22 years old, you should be smoking me every time.’” 

With the injury to Brooks this week, the Eagles will likely be relying on two young players on their offensive line. While Dillard is expected to play left tackle, third-year player Matt Pryor is the front-runner to take over for Brooks at right guard. 

Pryor started the playoff game against the Seahawks for Brooks in January. It would be unfair to expect Pryor to play at the Pro Bowl level Brooks has established, but that’s not what the Eagles are asking of him. 

“I had a conversation with [Pryor] Monday after I got the MRI to confirm (the Achilles tear),” Brooks said. “‘Hey man, you’re going to have to step up. Don’t look to be me. Look to be you. Whatever that takes for you to get ready from a mental standpoint, a physical standpoint, I’m here for you. Anything you need, I’m willing to help. When you get out there, do what you do.’ I have a whole bunch of faith in him.”

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Eagle Eye podcast: There goes half of the NFL preseason

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Eagle Eye podcast: There goes half of the NFL preseason

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Mercedes Benz of Fort Washington, West Chester and Atlantic City, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to reports about the NFL’s cutting the preseason in half. 

If rosters are reduced before training camp because of COVID-19, which players will be the first to go? The guys try to figure it out. 

And, would Doug Pederson really quarantine a quarterback in 2020, just in case? 

Recapping Nos. 10-5 on our list of most important Eagles. And Roob highlights some of the best and worst running back performances in team history. 

  • (2:03) — The NFL will shorten the preseason from four games to two.
  • (10:06) — Report of the NFL cutting down the size of rosters.
  • (22:22) — The idea of quarantining a quarterback to keep them healthy and available
  • (30:31) — Most important Eagles of 2020, 10-5.
  • (42:17) — The top 10 worst performances ever by Eagles running backs.
     

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NFL Rumors: George Kittle's rumored extension price is good news for Eagles

NFL Rumors: George Kittle's rumored extension price is good news for Eagles

Football's tight end position has changed considerably in the last decade. In 2020 we have a ton of game-changing pass catchers at the position.

Which means it's time for tight ends to start getting paid more, and soon.

One of the players leading the tight end revolution has been the Eagles' Zach Ertz, who is under contract through 2021 but will likely want an extension sooner. His next contract (in Philly, or elsewhere) will be influenced by contracts for 49ers tight end George Kittle and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. 

And now, we have some idea of what those deals could look like. 

Kittle has been looking for a huge contract, given his clear value in the passing game, but according to a report this week, it looks like the number will be a bit lower than some estimations.

Per The Athletic:

I recently spoke with someone in the know who said he thought Kittle ultimately would land a contract worth $13 million a year. That’s not the spectacular deal some were envisioning for the 49ers’ indispensable man, but it would still set the pace for all tight ends.

It's not mind-blowing money, but it would mark the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history. Right now, 14 wide receivers have a higher average annual salary higher than $13 million.

Does that mean an Ertz extension will land around the same place? And can the Eagles afford that? Let's investigate.

Here's a quick look at their respective numbers from last season:

Kittle: 85 receptions, 1053 yards, 5 TD

Ertz: 88 receptions, 916 yards, 6 TD

Ertz, who turns 30 this season, has reached three straight Pro Bowls and has been the Eagles' most relaible target during the Carson Wentz era. He's not getting younger, but he's still an elite tight end.

Kittle, who turns 27 this season, has reached two straight Pro Bowls, was named First Team All-Pro in 2019, and was the best receiving threat on a 49ers team that reached the Super Bowl.

The numbers put Ertz right around Kittle's neighborhood, but being three years older - and a potentially reduced role in the Eagles' offense with better wide receivers - could make it hard to argue he deserves an equal deal. 

I'd imagine, if the Eagles want to keep him around, he'll land a little lower than Kittle, but higher than Austin Hooper, who landed a four-year deal averaging $10.5 million earlier this year.

(Considering what Dallas Goedert has shown in his first two seasons, I wouldn't extend Ertz, but that's a conversation for another day.)

In any case, Ertz is still one of the most important members of the 2020 Eagles team, as NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro explained Thursday:

One main reason Ertz has been so important to the Eagles is because they haven’t had consistent play at the receiver position. He’s been the offense’s best and most consistent weapon in the last several seasons. In fact, he’s led the team in receiving for each of the last four years. 

While the Eagles have added some new receivers this offseason, my best guess is that as long as Ertz stays healthy, he’ll lead the team in receptions again in 2020.

And then we'll see what happens.

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