Eagles

Jason Kelce weighs in on Eagles' left tackle situation with Jason Peters and Andre Dillard

Jason Kelce weighs in on Eagles' left tackle situation with Jason Peters and Andre Dillard

Jason Kelce isn’t going to lie. He’d love to play with Jason Peters again. 

That doen’t mean he doesn’t think Andre Dillard can become a pretty good left tackle.  

Kelce talked recently about both Dillard and Peters and what to expect from the Eagles' left tackle position in the 2020 season.

“It is hard to imagine potentially playing without Jason Peters and the personality and the guy that he’s been to this organization,” Kelce said. “But at some point it’s going to be the end for all of us, and I don’t know if that’s this year, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’d love to play with the guy again, but obviously this is in the hands of people who are making important decisions and cap decisions that are way over my head.”

Peters is a future Hall of Famer that’s been here since Donovan McNabb was leading the Eagles to the playoffs. 

Dillard is the 2019 first-round pick who is supposedly the heir apparent.

Peters, now 38 years old, remains unsigned amid whispers that he could be rejoining the Eagles at some point.

What all of this means for Dillard remains a mystery.

“Obviously, Jason Peters has had an unbelievable career and is the best player I’ve ever played with, so I’d love to play with Jason Peters,” Kelce said. “I think that regardless of who’s out there, we’re in a good situation from an offensive line standpoint. We’ve got great coaches, and I’m fired up to play some football.”

It’s important to remember that Peters wasn’t even an offensive lineman until his second NFL season. He wasn’t a full-time starter until his third. He wasn’t a Pro Bowler until his fifth.

Dillard started three games at left tackle last year and the Eagles went 2-1.

“He had the fortune to learn from a guy that played forever and has every trick in the book in Jason Peters,” Kelce said. “But there’s no way you’re going to get that amount of knowledge, that amount of repertoire this year, next year, the year after that. That takes a lifetime to acquire. That’s something that will constantly be improving as he goes and as he gets reps.”

The Eagles have had a very busy offseason, and the biggest remaining question for Howie Roseman is what to do with Peters.

And that has everything to do with how the Eagles feel about Dillard, the 22nd pick in last year’s draft.

Kelce was honest assessing both Dillard’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Andre’s a guy who’s got incredible physical abilities,” Kelce said. “He’s very quick-twitched, he can move his feet really well, he’s athletic, he’s smart, he’s got a lot of the things that are hard to get if you don’t have them. If there was one weakness to his game last year it was power, and I think he knows that, I think everybody knows that, and that wasn’t even that big of a weakness that we couldn’t go out there and win games with him, because we did at times.”

The Eagles lost 37-10 to the Cowboys in Dallas in Dillard’s first start, but nobody played well in that game.

Then they beat the Bills in Buffalo 31-13 — one of their best wins of the year — and the Bears at the Linc, 22-14, in his third and final start at left tackle. The less we say about his late-season start at right tackle the better.

What Kelce saw in Dillard was a young rookie who needs to get better but has a lot going for him.

Now he gets a whole offseason to … get in the weight room, add some weight, add some muscle, add power,” Kelce said. “He can get better at that, whether it’s from playing with better technique, adding some weight, adding strength, that will all get better. He already has the things that you can’t necessarily get better at. You want to make a guy quicker? It’s hard to do that. You want to make a guy faster? It’s hard to do that. As long as he’s got a big frame — and Andre’s got a frame to add plenty of weight — he’ll be able to correct on those little weaknesses from a year ago, and the other stuff is just more experience.

The way Kelce sees it, the Eagles will have a capable left tackle no matter what happens. 

One who’s already an established superstar or one who’s trying to get there.

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NFL rumors: LeSean McCoy says Eagles had interest before he signed with Bucs 

NFL rumors: LeSean McCoy says Eagles had interest before he signed with Bucs 

For months — well, years really — LeSean McCoy seemed excited about the possibility of returning to Philadelphia, where his No. 25 has remained available. But that didn’t happen. 

Shady signed with the Buccaneers and will join Tom Brady in Tampa (Tompa) Bay. 

But on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday, Shady said the Eagles were showing him interest even just before he signed with the Bucs. 

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles had expressed some interest in veteran running backs and the three they were linked with most were Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman and McCoy. The only one of the three that remains available is Freeman. 

The Eagles feel pretty comfortable with the running back group they have right now and are ready to roll with some younger players. Their top two running backs are Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. After that, they have Corey Clement, Elijah Holyfield, Mike Warren and Adrian Killins. 

Coming into training camp, the Eagles wanted to get an extended look at some of those younger players. For instance, they had a draft able grade on Holyfield last year and had a draftable grade on Warren this year. 

McCoy is 32 now and it seems like his best days are behind him. Even though he was with the Chiefs last year, he didn’t play in the Super Bowl. 

But he’ll always be remembered as an Eagle. The Birds drafted him at No. 53 in 2009 and he played six seasons in Philly before Chip Kelly traded him to Buffalo. McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher. 

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4 new roster rule changes that could affect Eagles in 2020

4 new roster rule changes that could affect Eagles in 2020

As a part of the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA for the upcoming 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few important roster rule changes that could affect the Eagles. 

With the pandemic, the league has found ways to create new roster rules aimed to help teams as players might either test positive or come into contact with those who have. 

In either case, the league wants to be better prepared. 

Here are four changes for the 2020 season: 

1. Practice squad expanded to 16 players 

In the original collective bargaining agreement, the practice squad was limited to 12 players in 2020 and 2021 and would expand to 14 in 2022. But with the pandemic, the league and the players union agreed to expand the practice squad immediately to 16 players for the upcoming season. And if there are still COVID-19 protocols in effect for 2021, the practice squad will remain at 16 players. 

Six of those 16 players on the practice squads have no limit of accrued seasons, meaning the team can keep six veterans on the practice squad. 

Think about how the Eagles have used their practice squad in recent seasons. Heck, last year, the Eagles called up multiple players from their practice squad, including Greg Ward Jr. and Boston Scott, who played a ton down the stretch. 

2. Practice squad protected list 

Each Tuesday after 4 p.m. before a Sunday game — so not during the bye week — the Eagles will be allowed to protect up to four members of their practice squad. Typically, practice squad players are allowed to sign to any team’s 53-man roster at any time. 

In the past, the only way to protect a player on your practice squad was to sign them to the active roster. The Eagles have done that in recent seasons with QB Nate Sudfeld and OL Sua Opeta. 

3. IR designated for return 

Beginning on Sept. 6 at 4 p.m., teams are allowed to bring back an unlimited amount of players from Injured Reserve as long as those players have missed three regular season games. 

Once a player has been designated to return to practice, teams have 21 days to activate that player. 

Previously, the NFL capped the number of players allowed to return from IR and players were forced to miss a minimum of eight games. 

4. COVID-19 corresponding exemptions 

There’s an addition roster designation of Reserve/COVID-19, which we’ve already seen get used. The Eagles placed three players — Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Nathan Gerry — on the list earlier this training camp. 

There’s no definite amount of time players spend on the Reserve/COVID-19 list but they have to clear protocols before return. 

- If a player gets put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list before 4 p.m. on Saturday before a Sunday game, the team can replace that player with any free agent or practice squad player. 

- If a player gets put on the list after 4 p.m. on Saturday, they have until up to 90 minutes before kickoff to promote a player from their practice squad. 

That last part is a big change from the previous rule. In other years, teams had to call up practice squad players by 4 p.m. the day before a game. There are added protections because of COVID-19 this year. 

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