Nick Sirianni on the Left Tackle Battle: ‘They are Both Embracing it’
Entering the 2020 NFL season, Andre Dillard would have been the team’s starting left tackle if he didn't suffer a season-ending torn biceps injury before the season started.
Without Dillard, the team turned to veteran Jason Peters, who was also lost to injury, paving the way for former seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata to get his first NFL opportunity.
Now Philadelphia finds itself with a position battle on its hands for the left tackle position opposite Lane Johnson.
Mailata started 10 games and performed well last year, leaving some to believe he is in fact the favorite to win the position.
“They’re going to both be given an opportunity," Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said back in June. "Both players will have to be on, every day.”
Neither player has experience on their side, but with 10 career starts, Mailata suddenly has an advantage, which could make him the favorite to join an offensive line that returns Brandon Brooks, who missed the entire 2020 season and Lane Johnson, who missed most of 2020 with an injured ankle.
Expect Dillard, who has four career starts, to provide plenty of competition.
"I know they are both embracing it, and I see them both playing at a good level right now," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni stated. "They can both be better. But I see them both playing at a good level right now and again, they just know what this program stands for: Connecting, competing, accountability, football IQ and fundamentals. I just see them attacking that every single day."
"It's too early to tell, particularly with offensive linemen as far as that because that position and this whole game is played with those pads on. So when we get those pads on, it's going to start to shake out and it will play itself out."
While Sirianni didn't tip his hand when asked about the left tackle competition, he did admitted that Mailata has impressed.
"I think Jordan came back in phenomenal shape," Sirianni noticed. "He had a target weight that he was trying to come back at and he came back at that weight. He came back lighter, he came back more fit and it's showing out there. And so he's just a big man that can move like a little man, right. And so I'm really, really happy with the way and happy for Jordan that he came back in the shape that he did because, you know, that's the key, right, going against those athletes that he's going against on the other side on the defensive line, he's going to have to be in the best shape of his life. I think right now he did come back -- I've only known him for a short time but he said to me, and the strength staff have said, he is in the best shape of his life."
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