Falcons HC Dan Quinn compliments Eagles rookie LT Andre Dillard

Andre Dillard, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andre Dillard, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Philly media spoke with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn recently in preparation for Sunday night. One of the topics was Eagles rookie left tackle Andre Dillard.

Who knew Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Andre Dillard was so multi-faceted? In the blink of an eye, Philly’s first-round selection from the most recent NFL Draft has gone from being the heir apparent to Jason Peters to being one of the guys who have woken up that ‘mad scientist’ in head coach Doug Pederson and his assistants.

Dillard was a steal (it was figured he’d go higher as he was seen as the second-best left tackle available). It’s also been a joy for coaches and fans to watch him develop. Pederson had hinted a little over a week ago that the Eagles were tossing around the idea of using Dillard as the third tight end in short-yardage sets. This was after their initial 53-man roster only had two true tight ends on it, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

That idea seemed to lose steam after Philly promoted another tight end from the practice squad, Alex Ellis. Game one came, and the Eagles found themselves in said short-yardage situations, but something grabbed everyone’s attention immediately.

When they were, it was Dillard who was in as the third blocking tight end. It didn’t happen often. It wasn’t even five plays, but it was noticeable.

The decision worked out pretty well as Dillard paid dividends. Look no further than the first rushing touchdown of Alshon Jeffery’s career where Dillard helped lead the way. Shortly thereafter, Ellis was back on the practice squad.

The Eagles have depth along their offensive line that is good enough to make some other teams jealous (especially if theirs is struggling). Throw the Atlanta Falcons in that category. They just happen to be Philly’s opponent on Sunday, and in preparation for that one, their head coach, Dan Quinn spoke to some of the Philly media via phonecall.

It appears he’s a fan of Dillard’s and even gave them an extended look prior to the draft. Here’s a quote.

"We spent a lot of time with Andre. In fact, we had a visit with him here… We spent a lot of time looking at Miles (Sanders) and we also looked at JJ (Arcega-Whiteside)… What we saw, number one, (with Dillard) was at that position and playing left tackle, he’s got the quickness and the length to defeat the guys who can really fly off of the edge. That’s the trait we saw first, and then, we thought, in the system that it wouldn’t take long (for him) to get up to speed. We felt, probably like they did, that this is the guy who has the traits to play left tackle in our league."

These days, Quinn is probably thinking about what could have been. Atlanta would go with a guard, Chris Lindstrom, at pick 14. Unfortunately for them, he suffered a broken foot in a Week 1 loss, and he’s out for the foreseeable future as he’s been placed on their IR (injured reserve).

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Dillard was taken by Philly eight spots after Lindstrom was. Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews, had a really rough go in their season opener. The protection of Matt Ryan will have to improve in Week 2, or we all could be looking at a field day for the Eagles pass rush.

No one who cheers for ‘The Birds’ will complain if that happens.