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Eagles' Andre Dillard opens up about the unusual return of Jason Peters


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Eagles' Andre Dillard opens up about the unusual return of Jason Peters

 When the Eagles brought Jason Peters back to play right guard, one of the big questions it raised was what means for Andre Dillard.

Would Dillard feel threatened by the the guy who manned left tackle at an astronomical level for the Eagles for the last decade? 

Never easy to follow a legend. It's got to be even harder when that legend is in the same meeting room as you, on the same practice field as you.

Dillard spoke Wednesday about following in Peters' footsteps, and he handled the question exactly the way he should have.


"There’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, naturally, but you can’t really dwell on that,” he said. "I’m the guy for the position, I’m going to keep proving that I’m the guy for the spot.”

Safe to say that sounds like a different guy than a year ago.

"I’m happy he’s back,” Dillard said. "It’s unfortunate that (Brandon) Brooks went down, but having a familiar face back, a guy that’s legendary, has a lot of knowledge, it’s good to have him on board. Because he’s one of the greatest linemen ever and he just bolsters our group. I’m excited to keep learning from him this year"

It could have been a tricky situation.

When the Eagles drafted Dillard in the 1st round last year, it was clear that at some point soon the Eagles would make the switch from Peters to Dillard. 

And Dillard did OK in his three starts last year when Peters was hurt.

We all realize Peters is better than Dillard, but he’s also 38, and the Eagles made it a clean break in March when they cut ties with Peters, clearing the way for Dillard to take ownership of left tackle.

Then Brooks ruptured his Achilles, the Eagles needed a right guard, and back came Peters.

We won’t really know if the bigger, stronger, bulkier, more confident Dillard is really any different than the 2019 version, but he said all the right thing.

And without confidence, an NFL left tackle has no shot.

"This time around it’s basically night and day in terms of my confidence in myself,” he said. "The game has slowed down a lot for me this time around compared to last year.”

We all know what’s going to happen the first time Dillard gives up a sack:

"Get J.P. back in there!”

And there’s certainly precedent for Dillard getting benched. The Eagles gave him a start at right tackle in the first Seattle game last year when Lane Johnson was out with a concussion, and it was such a disaster they had to move Big V from right guard to right tackle at halftime and stick Matt Pryor in at right guard.

This is a different year, a different position and seemingly a different Dillard.

At least it seems that way so far.

Dillard is a sensitive kid who grew up in Woodinville, Wash. – population 12,815 - and played college football far from the spotlight at Washington State in Pullman, Wash.

The adjustment to big-city high-intensity East Coast NFL football was a lot.

And the fans jumped on him. 

"I don’t really take to heart what the fans say,” he said. "They’re not on our practice field or in our meeting rooms. The only opinion that matters is the coaches and players. I just keep my head down and every day my goal is to just keep improving.“

How much has truly changed for Dillard?

The early returns are encouraging, but we won’t know if anything really has changed until we see how he holds up facing guys like Everson Griffen and Chase Young.

Because one of the greatest left tackles in the history of the game is no longer just a phone call away. Now he’s just a few feet away.


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I like his attitude. And I am sure he is thankful for Peters being back. All the tips Peters can give him regarding opposing players is priceless. 

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"The game has slowed down a lot for me this time around compared to last year.”

Happy to see the confidence he has in himself, but statements like this are a bit premature since they haven't played any games yet (and have barely had any live practice sessions by which to come to that kind of conclusion).  

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Not great reviews for practice Thursday & Friday for him or the entire Oline.  Hopefully better next week

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