In the two weeks since Jordan Mailata was reinserted into the Eagles’ starting lineup as the left tackle, he’s played very well.
He really seems to be settling into that position.
Just don’t tell him that.
“I don’t really call it settling. I call it just doing my job,” Mailata said last week. “I don’t really go out there to get settled or get comfy. I never stay comfy. I always look for an edge or a one up every day. I feel like I’ve come a long way, and so, I have that kind of in the back of my head. I just take every play by play. I don’t really like to overthink things. I don’t like to think, ‘Back-to-back games -- OK, I’m playing good.’
“I just take it game by game, play by play, and if I play good, I play good, I play bad, I play bad. Go back and correct some mistakes and that’s pretty much my mentality I’ve had over the last two weeks, but just the whole season in general. Just trying to get better every day. I’ve always had that saying since rookie year and I’ve stuck by it -- ‘One percent better every day.’ And that’s what I aim to do. Don’t like to settle down. I don’t feel like I’ve settled down just yet. Still got a lot to prove and work on.”
That’s probably the best attitude for Mailata to have.
But it doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t look at what he’s been able to accomplish in these last two games.
After giving up a sack in each of his previous five games, Mailata hasn’t given up a single sack in the last two weeks. According to ProFootballFocus, he’s given up just two total pressures in the last two games. Against the Packers, he was completely clean in pass protection; PFF didn’t charge a single pressure to him.
In Jason Peters’ last game at left tackle a few weeks ago, he gave up 3 sacks, 3 hits and 7 total pressures. So Mailata has been playing at a much higher level.
“I mean Jordan’s a dawg,” right guard Nate Herbig said. “He has been playing very well against some good players and I know he has been working his butt off and I'm really happy for him. He's (getting) what he deserves.”
None of this means Mailata will play at this level every game. It doesn’t mean he won’t have a bad game. There are going to be setbacks, especially for a guy with such limited overall football experience.
But if Mailata continues to play at this level the rest of the season, he should be given a legitimate chance to win the starting left tackle job for the 2021 season.
Sure, it’s a little tricky because former first-round pick Andre Dillard will be coming back from a torn biceps injury that kept him out all season. The Eagles expected Dillard to be their starter this season, after all. But there’s really no downside here. If Dillard comes back next season and wins the job … great.
And for Dillard it would be a shame to get hurt and never get his job back. But Mailata deserves a chance.
The biggest indicator of Mailata’s success is that when you see him on the field these days, you no longer think about his journey. You don’t see him as that giant rugby player trying to become a football player.
He’s just a football player these days. And a pretty good one.
“I think it’s a testament to how hard of a worker Jordan is,” Jack Driscoll said. “He’s always one of those guys working on his craft, asking questions and whatnot, really trying to become a leader and a great player and a valuable piece to this organization.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: