Philadelphia Eagles debates: Is Jordan Mailata better than Andre Dillard?

Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

Philadelphia Eagles fans are joining Mailata’s hype train heading in Week 6.

If you read Inside The Iggles often, you’ve, no doubt, read, on more than one occasion, that the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jordan Mailata experiment needed to end. Every reader that joined our staff in that sentiment may need to join us in another. This may need to serve as some sort of retraction.

No one denies that young quarterbacks need coaching. Russell Wilson struggled early in his career. Jared Goff looks much better with Sean McVay than he ever did with Jeff Fisher. Carson Wentz hasn’t been the same guy since Frank Reich and John DeFilippo left.

Often, we forget that the other positions on the field need coaching too, especially offensive linemen. The NFL game is a much different brand of football than these guys played in college. Mailata looked like a mess in camp and had Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks stayed healthy, the chances that Mailata wouldn’t have made the team might have been high, but necessity is the mother of invention. Here we are. Thanks to a bevy of injuries, Mailata is the Eagles’ starting left tackle for the foreseeable future.

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland is one of Philadelphia’s assistants that is earning his money (Jim Schwartz, Ken Flajole, and Aaron Moorehead sure aren’t), and despite a rough training camp where any and everybody got around Mailata (he was described as a turnstile once), it appears that the experiment is working. The Aussie made his second start ever in Week 5. We’re talking about his second start at any level of football folks. The results have been as good as anyone could hope for. With that being said, there’s only one question that needs to be asked.

Is Mailata a better option for the Philadelphia Eagles, long-term than Andre Dillard?

Yes, the improvement has been that significant. After a nice debut as the Philadelphia Eagles starting left tackle versus the San Francisco 49ers, there wasn’t much to complain about with this young man, minus that false start penalty, but objectively, we had to ask a question.

How much of that was because Nick Bosa wasn’t available? Surely, he would have seen some snaps opposite of Mailata, right? Week 5, so far, has been the best illustration of how far Jordan Mailata has come. In camp, he was no match for Joe Ostman, Josh Sweat, or Casey Toohill. In his second start ever, he was matched against Bud Dupree.

How did that go? Mailata’s name wasn’t mentioned all game long, and if you’re an offensive lineman, that’s a good thing. That usually means there were no penalties and you didn’t give up a ton of sacks. As good as Dupree is, Mailata was better. ’68’ gave up one-half sack, which isn’t a bad day at the office when you’re asked to protect your quarterback’s blindside from a star-quality pass rusher.

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Everyone wanted to see Mailata take the next step and build on a good first game, and he did that. No one has ever said the same thing about Andre Dillard or knows if he can do the same thing. We all know that Jason Peters has nothing left, so here’s the question that’s on a lot of minds. Is Jordan Mailata Philly’s future at left tackle? Don’t look now but Dillard’s stock is falling. Don’t look now, but there are a lot of ‘Birds’ fans that would rather see Dillard out there. The debate table is open.