Eagles

Jeff Stoutland staunchly defends Jason Peters; Eagles won't switch to Andre Dillard

Jeff Stoutland staunchly defends Jason Peters; Eagles won't switch to Andre Dillard

Before the Eagles broke for the bye week, Doug Pederson confirmed that Jason Peters would take back his left tackle position from rookie Andre Dillard as soon as he was healthy enough to return from a knee injury. 

That wasn’t much of a surprise. Pederson is a loyal guy and Peters is a future Hall of Famer and is perhaps the most respected player in the Eagles’ locker room. 

While Pederson’s answer a week before wasn’t surprising, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland on Monday made it clear the Eagles didn’t even contemplate a change at left tackle. 

Stoutland took about 50 seconds to answer the question. His volume and intensity level rose as he did: 

I think that if you walked into our meeting room right now … I’m not in the room, the players are in the room. You say, ‘hey’ … I mean, Jason Peters is unbelievable. Since I’ve been here, since 2013, all I’ve ever heard, ‘ahh, he’s too old, he can’t do it, he’s not going to make it’ and he’s proved everybody wrong, every single year, every single year. 

This is an unbelievable … you might never see another Jason Peters again! I’m being honest with you now. This man is an absolute incredible, incredible player, who still shows … before he got hurt, OK, and he actually played a little bit while he was hurt, playing at an extremely high level. Now that he got that thing (the knee injury) taken care of, I expect him to be back playing at even a better level. And so I’m excited about that. When is that time? I don’t know. I can’t tell you that.”

But the reason the question was even asked of Pederson on Nov. 4 was because Dillard, the first-round pick, has been playing better in each of his three starts. And Peters, 37, hasn’t been able to stay on the field for complete games. 

In his three starts, Dillard has played every snap. In six starts this season, Peters has done that just twice. And this comes after he struggled to play complete games last year too. 

A healthy Peters is probably still the Eagles’ best option, but reliability is an obvious concern. 

So we’re probably looking at a scenario very soon — perhaps even this week — were Peters is the starter at left tackle and Dillard will have to be on the sideline ready to enter the game at a moment’s notice. The good news here is that even before Peters’ knee injury, Dillard was already splitting first-team reps. The Eagles for the last few years have managed Peters during the week to limit his wear and tear. 

And now, after three consecutive starts, Dillard and left guard Isaac Seumalo have been able to build an in-game rapport that they should be able to recall when Dillard has to inevitably step in at a moment’s notice again this season. 

At some point, eventually, Dillard is expected to take over the left tackle position permanently. The Eagles are adamant that time hasn’t yet arrived.

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Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson said he hopes to get recently re-acquired running back Jay Ajayi more involved in the offense as the Eagles head into the stretch run.

Ajayi has eight carries for 25 yards and a 3.1 average in two games since returning to the Eagles following a year layoff. 

A Pro Bowler in 2016 with the Dolphins and a stud down the stretch during the Super Bowl season, Ajayi suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 last year and didn’t play from Oct. 7, 2018, until Nov. 24, 2019, when he made his 2019 debut against the Seahawks.

Ajayi didn't have OTAs or a training camp and didn't even practice until the Wednesday before the Seattle game. 

It's a process with him, but we understand who he is and the injury that he's coming off of, so we're careful with that,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, he's a bigger, powerful guy that we can use in spots.

With Jordan Howard missing the last three games with nerve damage in his shoulder, rookie Miles Sanders has essentially been the entire running attack. But the Eagles are so hesitant to increase his workload significantly that it’s created a situation in which the Eagles just haven’t run the ball very much during their three-game losing streak because they haven’t had a viable second option.

During these last three games, Sanders has 40 carries, Ajayi eight and Boston Scott seven.

This is the first time the Eagles have leaned this heavily on one back in a three-game stretch since 2012. 

During a late-season three-game stretch in which LeSean McCoy was hurt, Bryce Brown got 52 carries and Dion Lewis had four.

The Eagles ran 45 percent of the time in the nine games Howard played and 31 percent since he got hurt. They’re 0-3 without him.

Miles has done a great job,” Pederson said Saturday. “I’d love to get Jay a few more touches and get Boston in the mix so we're not obviously wearing Miles down here this last month of the season.

The current stretch is the first in franchise history that the Eagles have thrown at least 40 times and run the ball 23 or fewer times in three straight games.

Howard hasn’t played since before the bye week and is out for the Eagles’ game Monday night against the Giants. 

Pederson said earlier in the week he doesn’t expect this to be a season-ending injury, but will Howard be able to pick up where he left off after such a long layoff even if he does return?

The Eagles began the season with Howard, Sanders, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles in what looked to be a deep running back rotation. 

Sanders is the only one of that group left. Can Ajayi make a difference after such a long layoff? Sounds like Pederson wants to find out.

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Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Updated: 3:39 p.m.

Derek Barnett and Nelson Agholor will likely be game-time decisions for Monday Night Football, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday morning. 

Barnett (ankle) and Agholor (knee) both missed all three days of practice this week and are listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He was just placed in protocol on Thursday and won't play Monday night. 

And Jordan Howard (shoulder) has still not been cleared for contact; he can’t play until he is and that’s not happening before Monday. He's officially questionable. 

Lane Johnson also missed practice on Friday and Saturday for a non-injury reason but is expected to play on Monday. 

If Agholor is unable to play, the Eagles would be left with just three healthy receivers on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

“We’re very comfortable, obviously, with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “So if it’s three, it’s three. We brought up [Josh Perkins] a week ago to help us there, so it’s an addition there. We go and we go play. We’ll discuss those over the next couple of days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision we will. We feel good with the guys we have in that receiver role.” 

If the Eagles do decide to make a roster move, they have three wide receivers on their practice squad: Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Marken Michel. 

While Agholor had his knee injury before last week’s game, Barnett got hurt during the loss in Miami, but was still able to play through the injury and play 50 snaps. Barnett has played the third-most defensive snaps on the team this year, so losing him for this game wouldn’t be insignificant. 

If Barnett can’t play, expect Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry to get more reps. After that, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall and even Shareef Miller could see a few snaps. 

For the Giants: 

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