Eagles

Just what kind of challenge is Jason Peters facing at right guard?

Just what kind of challenge is Jason Peters facing at right guard?

The Eagles brought back Jason Peters on Monday with the plan to make the future Hall of Famer their right guard to replace the injured Brandon Brooks. 

We reached out to two former Eagles who have over two decades of combined NFL playing experience to figure out how hard this transition will be. Former Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas spoke to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark via Zoom and NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Barrett Brooks talked about Peters on the latest Eagle Eye podcast.

So just how hard will it be for Peters to move from left tackle to right guard? 

“That’s like telling Bryce Harper, because he’s a lefty, go out there and bat right-handed,” Thomas said. “You don’t see Bryce Harper get on the other side of that plate.”

OK, so maybe it won’t be easy.  

It’s important to remember that if this decision to sign Peters is as simple as plugging him into the right guard spot, he’s not just changing positions, but he’s also changing sides of the line. That shouldn’t be easy, especially not for a 38-year-old who has played almost all of his career at the same position. 

But with that said, Peters came into the NFL as an undrafted tight end, so he’s changed positions before. And Brooks is a little more bullish on Peters’ ability to transition to guard. 

“I think it’ll be a really easy transition for him,” Brooks said on Eagle Eye with Reuben Frank. “I’m going to tell you the truth, man. He might be one of the best guards in the league, him moving him it. The only thing he’ll have to do is be more aggressive and be more stout. When did you ever think that you’d have to tell Jason Peters to be more aggressive and be more stout? It’s a natural progression for him. 

“I did the same thing. I started tackle my whole entire career until the end of my career and then I made the progression of playing guard. I was the emergency tackle, I was the emergency guard, I even played center. I played all three in one game actually. It’s something that can be done and it’s an easy transition from a tackle to go inside.”

The interesting thing is that Brooks’ choice for the Eagles’ offensive line would be to keep Peters at left tackle and have a line that looks like this: Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor, Lane Johnson. Brooks said he likes that because it would be a more balanced line. 

But according to sources I’ve spoken to, the Eagles — at least for now — are planning to play Peters at right guard and want to keep Andre Dillard at left tackle. Peters would also offer an insurance policy at the tackle spots. 

As for playing guard, Thomas talked about the difficulty of switching sides of the line. He had to do it late in his career when he was in Jacksonville in 2009. The Jaguars put him at right tackle in an unbalanced line. 

“That defensive end put me on my ass so quick,” Thomas said. “Just because I was off-balance. It was just an unfamiliar feeling. The defensive end saw it and he just put his helmet in my chest and that was it.”

Two big hurdles for Peters, according to Thomas, will be his hands and footwork. His punching style will need to flip, as will his feet. If Peters opens too wide, he’ll give a lane to the quarterback. 

There’s no question that playing guard is a different animal, but Peters won’t be the first player to transition from tackle to guard late in his career. And it’s a switch he had talked about previously. 

“When you move to guard, it’s like fighting in a phone booth,” Brooks said. “Now, all that area is condensed between the center and the tackle. Now, you’re in that phone booth and it’s easier if you’re an aggressive player. And JP, we know he’s an aggressive player, he’s an explosive player.”

Another point Thomas brought up was the unusual offseason. We’re less than two months from the scheduled start of the 2020 season and the preseason has already been chopped in half. In recent years, Peters has taken about half of the team’s first-team practice reps at left tackle to preserve his body. Now, all of a sudden, he needs all the work at right guard that he can get. 

It’ll definitely be one of the biggest storylines when we get to training camp in a couple weeks. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

More on the Eagles

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Greg Ward Jr. became a great story for the Eagles last season, when he began the year on the practice squad and ended up being their best receiver down the stretch. 

But is he more than a good story? 

Doug Pederson seems to think so. 

The one thing now as he goes into this season, he's in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “It's just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson (Wentz) have a really good feel for one another.

“I think for him now it's just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.

In one year’s time, Ward has gone from practice squad player to being a leader in a wide receiver room that includes three draft picks, an undrafted rookie and a second-year draft pick. 

Ward, 25, is technically in Year 4 of his NFL career but he didn’t get a chance to play until the 2019 season and even then he didn’t play until November. 

Ward finished last season with 28 catches for 254 yards and a game-winning touchdown in a huge contest against Washington. 

Maybe Ward will never become a star player in the NFL, but he’s sure-handed, dependable and earned the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff last season. 

If you look at the Eagles’ group of receivers, Ward is probably the top candidate to win the slot job. DeSean Jackson is going to be the starting Z receiver and at the X the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Rookie 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor is learning both outside spots. 

Eventually, could Reagor play in the slot? Absolutely. In fact, I’d love to see him in there because he’d bring an explosiveness to the position that Ward probably can’t offer. 

But Ward is going to play a lot in 2020. He’s going to have a chance to become more than a great story. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

The entire Eagles roster will finally be back together on Thursday after the team activated Jordan Mailata from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Mailata was the last remaining player on the list. And head coach Doug Pederson also returned to the NovaCare Complex yesterday after his positive COVID-19 test. 

Back on July 29, the Eagles placed Lane Johnson, Nathan Gerry and Mailata on the list. The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive for the coronavirus or who have been exposed to someone who has. Only Johnson publicly announced he contracted the virus. 

Gerry was activated on Aug. 9, Johnson on Aug. 11 and Mailata today. 

The Eagles have not put any other players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since those original three back in July. 

This is a big season for Mailata, the 23-year-old former rugby player. He’s entering Year 3 in the NFL and has obviously been a project player. 

Earlier this offseason, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said he couldn’t give a real answer as to whether or not Mailata goes from project to legitimate backup in 2020, but he has seen some good signs. 

“I can say this: In the meetings that we have, the virtual meetings, he was a completely different guy in the meetings,” Stoutland said. “And, you’re going to say, ‘What do you mean by that?’ His confidence level. Because we require these guys to know a lot and to be able to convert blocking schemes and calls. Completely, completely different in the meeting. 

“Now, will that carry over to the field? Every morning when I come here I pray that’s what will happen. Do I think that will happen? Absolutely. But I can’t guarantee that. We’re going to find out, though. That’s what this is all about. And if it does carry over then we got action. We’re going to be in good shape.”

While Mailata missed over two weeks, he missed just one practice day. The Eagles were finally allowed to practice on Aug. 12. So Mailata will get the rest of the non-padded practices under his belt before the pads come on next Monday. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles