For quite some time, one of the major talking points in the Philadelphia Eagles fan base and among the media has been this. Everyone from the general public to the media has been pretty critical about this team’s thought process on more than half of the decisions that we’ve seen lately.
Here’s one that didn’t cause any friction though. During the most recent coach and player overhaul, Philly’s new staff elected to hold on to the offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
That’s a game-changer. He’s been some of the glue that’s kept the Eagles’ offense together, and even though it’s common knowledge that Philly’s offensive line was one of this team’s weak links in 2020, none of that can be blamed on ‘Stout’. He was dealt a losing hand and played fairly well with it.
Recently, he sat with several members of the Philly media for about 25 minutes, but the highlight of that one was something that we already knew. The starters along the offensive line are set with the exception of the left tackle position, but we all know who the candidates are there.
Dillard and Mailata will, indeed, battle for the Philadelphia Eagles LT position.
What’s sad is one was a first-rounder in 2019 that was seen as one of the top three prospects in the class at his position. The other is a former seventh-rounder that’s still a baby in terms of football years. Why are they even that close in terms of their development?
Oh well, what can you do? Here’s what Stout had to say on the subject.
"There is definitely (a battle). I think anytime there is competition like that, and it is that close, it brings the best out of both players. Both players have to be on every day, all day because it is (a) competition. Whoever is the most productive, whoever does the best, who has the best value going into the season will be the starter."
So far, that’s been Mr. Mailata, the aforementioned seventh-rounder. He’s been much better than Dillard over the past two seasons. He took over for left tackle Jason Peters and played admirably.
Dillard, on the other hand, spent some of his rookie season playing as the third tight end in goal-line sets and gave us an all-time bad metaphor about being right-handed and being forced to do things with one’s left before having to man the right tackle spot in relief of Lane Johnson once. Or was it the other way around? Whatever, it doesn’t matter. As you might imagine, he didn’t look too good when the game started.
Dillard’s second season was short-circuited by injury before it even began, so here we are. It’s year four for Mailata and year three for Dillard. Place your bets.
We know the Philadelphia Eagles are stubborn, so they may give Dillard the job not because he’s better, but because of what they’ve invested. Why do you think JJ Arcega Whiteside is still here? Still, even before we even get there, we have to ask the question.
Again, how is it even possible that these guys are so close in their development? Is Jordan Mailata better than we thought, or is Andre Dillard just a stinker? Buckle up. There’s a lot to figure out come the end of July.