Eagles

Eagles

There’s no doubt about how much pressure Andre Dillard will be facing as he enters his second NFL season. 

After one year as a backup, the former first-round pick is taking over at left tackle for a future Hall of Famer who will be playing just a few feet away. 

The Eagles are putting a ton of trust in Dillard after limited game action as a rookie. They were always going to go with Dillard at left tackle; they didn’t bring back Jason Peters until Brandon Brooks went down with an injury. Dillard is their future and that future starts in 2020. 

This offseason, Dillard’s biggest goal was to put on more weight and he has. Brooks said earlier this offseason that Dillard is up to 335 pounds. 

I absolutely have identified with him the areas that we need to improve on,” offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said recently. “And I would say that the one thing that he has done a great job of is his strength. I think he has absolutely improved in the strength department and he needed to.

It was obvious that the Eagles decision to put Dillard at right tackle last year was a complete disaster. He lasted just one half until the Eagles pulled the plug on an experiment that seemed doomed from the beginning. But the Eagles didn’t draft Dillard to play right tackle and they’re not going to ask him to again. 

While it wasn’t a great sign that he struggled so much on the right side of the line, the Eagles saw much more positive signs when he started three games for Peters at left tackle as a rookie. 

 

“When you look at the installation tapes, which we’re using right now to teach the players. The installation each day, here’s how you go about it: You go about it by clipping out the best teaching film or clips for that concept,” Stoutland said. “You might have 300 of these but you can’t use 300. You don’t have that much time. For the group meeting, maybe you use three or four clips. When you go to your position meeting, you might have 30 clips. 

“To make a long story short, my point is, when you go back and you really analyze, you go back and you watch these specific concepts one at a time. And then you start to notice Andre’s in a lot of these. I think he played over 400, 500 plays, something like that. You see the change of direction, you see the foot and body quickness.”

The Eagles look back at his 2019 tape and see all the reasons they drafted him. Dillard is athletic, he’s quick, he has solid technique. He just very obviously needed to get stronger and put it all together. 

We’ll find out soon enough if that happens. 

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