For the second time in as many days, first-round rookie Andre Dillard stood in the middle of an Eagles practice field, talking to coaches and front-office executives while his teammates got in extra drills after a training camp session.
The Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines have been banging pads for almost three weeks now, and Dillard has clashed with his new teammates as the two position groups’ hostility levels rise.
The offensive tackle out of Washington State got into a tussle with defensive end Derek Barnett during team drills Monday. He talked to Eagles coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman after practice, and was visibly upset during the conversation.
During lineman drills Tuesday, Dillard got into it with fourth-round rookie defensive end Shareef Miller.
Miller wasn’t available for comment after practice, and Dillard hasn’t spoken to the media in the last two days, but Pederson offered his perspective on what’s causing Dillard’s intensity this week.
“[With] young players, I mean, there’s pressure to play,” Pederson said. "You think about Carson [Wentz] in his first year, and there’s pressure to play. [Dillard is] doing an outstanding job. It’s a tough sport. Without getting into a ton of detail, I just think that he’s so passionate about what he does and how he plays, and he wants to be perfect.
“He wants to be right. He doesn’t want to make mistakes. I just reassured him after practice, he’s been doing an excellent job and playing really well.”
Dillard has primarily played with the second unit in practice, unless nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters has a day off.
With Peters, 37, sitting out the first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans last week, Dillard got the start, and he might be starting again when the Eagles play at Jacksonville on Thursday.
Eagles center Jason Kelce said that, while Dillard has been the one being noticed, he isn’t the only lineman getting chippy during the dog days of training camp.
“Obviously, everyone has been irritable recently. People are tired of hitting each other,” Kelce said. “It hasn’t just been Andre. I don’t need to talk to Andre about anything. Everybody’s tempers have been high. ... It’s that point in camp; it tends to always happen around this time.”
The Eagles have a walk-through practice scheduled for Wednesday, and next week’s sessions will be joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens before the two teams face off at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 22.
There’s a growing sentiment among the offensive linemen that hitting some purple jerseys will be a refreshing change.
“It’s getting pretty heated. I had to remember to tell myself, ‘These are your teammates. You’re not trying to start a fight or anything,’ ” tackle Jordan Mailata said, before echoing Pederson’s thoughts on Dillard.
“He’s going through a lot lately. He practices his [butt] off, man. ... I need to get with him and chat with him and see what’s going on.”