The Eagles drafted Andre Dillard to be Jason Peters’ eventual replacement at left tackle, but head coach Doug Pederson isn’t ready for the changing of the guard — well, tackle — just yet.
Dillard, the Eagles’ first-round pick, has performed well in the three starts since Peters has been out with a knee injury. But when asked about a possible change, Pederson on Monday first said it was something the Eagles would evaluate, but then quickly dismissed that.
“I do think when J.P. is healthy and when he comes back, I still think it’s J.P.’s position moving forward,” Pederson said Monday.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Throughout his years as head coach in Philly, Pederson has been a loyal guy, sometimes to a fault. This could end up being one of those situations.
Peters is 37 now and simply hasn’t been reliable this year or last. He’s started six games this season and has played every snap in just two of them. The Eagles were hoping to squeeze one more good season out of the future Hall of Famer but it hasn’t gone to plan. In fact, relying on Peters (37), Darren Sproles (36) and DeSean Jackson (32) so much has, so far, been a mistake.
Dillard, 24, has started the last three games and has played every snap: 223/223. And he’s played well.
“I’ve been real impressed with Andre, No. 1,” Pederson said. “Gosh, he had another good game yesterday with these two pass rushers, with Khalil (Mack) and Leonard Floyd.”
This is a tricky situation. Peters is the longest-tenured player on the Eagles’ roster and is a no-doubt-about-it all-time Eagle. This is a guy who will likely go to the Hall of Fame with five of his nine Pro Bowls coming as a member of the Eagles.
But Dillard is the future and it might be time.
Pederson wouldn’t commit to Peters’ being ready after the bye week against the Patriots, but if he is, we all know he’ll be at left tackle. From there, the question is for how long?
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