It looks like Matt Pryor will get the first crack at right guard, and Pryor turned to a pretty good former Eagle to help him prepare.
Pryor reached out to Tra Thomas, the Eagles’ three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, as he prepares for the 2020 season.
“I’ve seen that Tra Thomas did a video cut-up of me and I reached out to him,” Pryor said on a podcast with Dave Spadaro on the Eagles’ official web site. “Get some tips … just to pick his brain.”
Thomas, who spent the 1998 through 2008 seasons with the Eagles, put together a video cut-up of Pryor from his limited playing time this past season and posted it on YouTube.
Thomas appeared Tuesday on 94 WIP with Ike Reese and Jon Marks and explained why he believes Pryor can handle right guard.
When Reese asked Thomas why he thinks Pryor can handle right guard with Brandon Brooks out for the season, Thomas jokingly snapped at his teammate of seven years:
“Did you not look at the clips? Did you not see what this man was doing against starters?”
Pryor, a sixth-round pick in 2018, didn’t play as a rookie but got significant snaps in three games last year — 42 snaps in the first Seattle game after Halapoulivaati Vaitai moved from right guard to right tackle to replace Andre Dillard, 35 snaps after Brooks hurt his shoulder in the regular-season finale against the Giants and then all 64 snaps in the playoff loss to the Seahawks.
“He might not have a lot of film, but (for) someone that only came out there and played (three) games, he had a hell of a showing,” Thomas said. “I saw enough out of him that I would feel somewhat comfortable for him out there.”
Thomas raved about Pryor’s technique and suggested he just needs to be more aggressive to succeed as a full-time starter.
Which is exactly what he told Pryor.
“My first tip was, ‘Dog, you have to finish every time,’" Thomas told Reese and Marks. “I just feel like if he had that little extra dog in him, my God, he could be nasty. He’s extremely aggressive, he has a good understanding of when to shoot his hands, the timing of it, and he also understands how to set based on how this defensive tackle is attacking him. So you don’t see him over-set a lot of times.”
Pryor said he’s been working out with a group of offensive linemen at Lane Johnson’s home gym in South Jersey — The House of Lane.
There are other options for the Eagles. They could sign a veteran, and youngsters like Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig and Jack Driscoll will certainly get looks.
But right now, it seems like the job is Pryor’s to lose.
“Sadly, nobody ever wants their opportunity to come from an injury, but a lot of people say that’s where a lot of people build their legacy, it’s always off some random kind of thing happening,” Pryor said. “But everybody knows Brooks. Three back-to-back Pro Bowls, and I saw him work and I’ve seen how he transformed himself from the end of last year to now and that’s really pushing me to better myself and be prepared. Big shoes right there.”
Brooks tore his Achilles on Monday while running at the NovaCare Complex. This will be the third straight season he doesn’t finish because of an injury.
“I’m going to be ready to go,” Pryor said. “It's time to take my game to a new level. I know the opportunity is there. You don't like it to happen when somebody gets hurt. We all feel for Brandon. But he will be helping me, as he's done in the past, and I'm going to be at my best.”
With a little help from one of the greatest Eagles offensive linemen of all.
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