Landon Dickerson could have made excuses.
The Eagles’ second-round pick was thrown into the fire for his first NFL action on Sunday against the 49ers. After missing all of training camp as he recovered from a torn ACL, Dickerson only started practicing a few weeks ago. Sunday was his first game active. And he got just a few practice reps at right guard during the week after splitting his time at center and guard.
He didn’t bring up any of that.
“I could sit here and give you excuses all day, but I believe excuses breed mediocrity,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson, 22, wasn’t happy with the way he played in Sunday’s 17-11 loss and has vowed to correct his mistakes going forward. That’s good news for the Eagles, who will be starting Dickerson going forward in place of Brandon Brooks, who is now on IR.
On Monday night on the road against the Cowboys, Dickerson will make his first career start.
Dickerson played the final 33 offensive snaps of Sunday’s game and struggled in pass protection. He had 20 snaps on passing plays and gave up 5 pressures, 4 hurries and 1 quarterback hit, according to ProFootballFocus.
“Honestly, my play was not up to the standard that we’ve set here,” Dickerson said. “I wasn’t happy with the way I played. That’s been the focus this week, correcting all the mistakes I had and what I need to work on.”
Since the game, Dickerson watched the tape to see the areas he thought needed improvement. Then he asked his coaches and teammates for their feedback too. He seemed pleased with how helpful and detailed their responses were.
So as the Eagles began their practice week for Monday Night Football against the Cowboys, Dickerson was officially named the starter, which means he’ll get all the first-team reps at right guard this week.
That’s a big deal.
“I think communication is key,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “I think we can accomplish a lot just from having really nothing to a full week of practice, so that will be big. We’ll be a little more settled down this week going into the game.”
Johnson and Brooks have played together for years and have a very tight bond. It won’t be possible for Johnson and Dickerson to duplicate that in a week, but they can get a lot accomplished as they learn how to play next to one another.
That also goes for Dickerson and Jason Kelce in the middle.
“It’s really just a process of getting to know them and them getting to know me,” Dickerson said, “and making that combination works.”
The Eagles used the No. 37 overall pick on Dickerson this spring despite his lengthy injury history while at Alabama. It was clearly a high-risk, high-reward pick. The risk is that Dickerson’s injury-prone career will continue in the pros. The reward is that the Eagles might have landed a first-round talent and a cornerstone of their franchise for the next decade in the second round.
Over the next month or so, we might start to get a hint. If nothing else, this should be a chance to see where Dickerson’s long-term fit might be. He has center-guard flexibility and has taken reps at both positions in the last few weeks.
Dickerson wouldn’t specifically name the areas in which he thinks he needs the most improvement but even after missing all of training camp, he said he doesn’t think conditioning is an issue. That’s a good sign.
As he transitions into a starting role, Dickerson will be leaning on his veteran teammates, including the guy he’s replacing. Dickerson said Brooks is like an “encyclopedia,” but he can also ask questions to Johnson, Kelce and Isaac Seumalo too.
“It’s a great opportunity for him, man,” Jalen Hurts said. “Another Bama guy in there. Landon’s a great player. He came in in a situation where no one expected him to come in and play like that. I think he handled it right. I’m excited to see him prepare and get a full opportunity this week.”
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