After a rough start to his rookie season, there’s some good news about Eagles’ second-round pick Landon Dickerson.
He seems to be settling into his role as the starting left guard.
“I think so,” Dickerson said this week. “I mean, you still have to be able to play wherever the coaches need you to play if anything happens. I feel like the more reps you get, the more practices you have, you settle into it.”
Dickerson, 23, missed all offseason as he recovered from a torn ACL and then he was thrust into game action in Week 2 against the 49ers at right guard. He then made his first start the following week at the same position in Dallas.
It didn’t go well.
But after Isaac Seumalo suffered a Lisfranc injury, the Eagles’ shuffled their line and Dickerson ended up at left guard. With Seumalo out for the season, Dickerson is expected to start the rest of the way in that spot. That gives him a chance to improve … and he has.
Earlier this season, Dickerson was really critical of his play. He still isn’t making excuses for it and he still thinks he has a long way to go, but Dickerson seems to be encouraged by the improvement he’s shown. Over the extra few days off this weekend, Dickerson got to have some extra conversations with his coaches and teammates to really figure out where he’s improving and where he needs more work.
This break gave him a chance to take a step back and look at what he’s done so far.
“I think it’s important to kind of have a 30,000-foot view of what you’re doing,” Dickerson said. “A lot of times, especially offensive line, we get very keen on being in the moment. Taking a step back and realizing, am I fixing the things that I need to fix? What are my issues now? What is persistent, what’s staying with me? What are the major things that I need to fix?”
The Eagles took DeVonta Smith with their first-round pick in the spring and then doubled-down on Alabama products by taking Dickerson with the No. 37 pick. Given Dickerson’s lengthy injury history, it was a risk.
But the Eagles were willing to take that risk because if Dickerson can stay healthy — it’s a big if — they believe they got a first-round talent and a Pro Bowl-potential interior lineman in the second round. Time will tell on that.
With Lane Johnson’s return, the Eagles are about to put together a starting lineup they hope will last for a while. That’s been a struggle the last couple years. But it means that Dickerson will be next to Jordan Mailata — and not Andre Dillard — going forward.
So practices this week were about learning how to play next to Mailata. There’s one big difference.
“Jordan is a large human, as you know,” Dickerson said. “Takes up a little more space. Fitting things closely. There’s less space there.”
Last Thursday against the Bucs, Dickerson had his best game in pass protection yet. In his first four games, Dickerson had given up 16 pressures, 11 hurries, 4 QB hits and a sack, according to ProFootballFocus. Against the Bucs, he gave up just 1 pressure and 1 hurry.
Dickerson doesn’t yet look like an All-Pro but after a pretty rough start, he’s showing improvement.
And that’s encouraging.
“I think I’ve done an OK job of correcting the things that my teammates and coaches say I need to work on,” Dickerson said. “There’s still a ton of work to be done. I don’t feel great [about] how I’ve played so far. But the key thing and the thing we preach around here is trying to get 1% better every day and fixing the little things.”
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