Eagles coach Doug Pederson confirmed Saturday that left tackle Andre Dillard will go on injured reserve at some point soon, probably ending his season. Dillard suffered a right biceps tear in Thursday’s practice. He watched Saturday’s indoor workout with a blue sling dangling from his right arm.
Pederson said that moving Jason Peters from right guard back to left tackle is not the only option being considered as the Eagles deal with the second major injury to a starting offensive lineman in less than three months. Peters returned to the team at age 38 after right guard Brandon Brooks tore his left Achilles in June.
“It’s unfortunate. He had a tremendous offseason. He was having a really good camp for us,” Pederson said of Dillard, 24, the team’s 2019 first-round draft pick. “Jason Peters is obviously in the conversation. We do have some young players, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor. Jack Driscoll, who’s a [fourth-round] rookie, obviously, but has been playing some tackle for us.”
Moving Peters back to the spot where he has been a nine-time Pro Bowl selection seems like the obvious move, especially given that of the three younger possibilities, only Pryor has played in a regular-season NFL game, and his experience is limited to 79 snaps last season, 7% of the team’s offensive snaps.
One complication here is that league sources say Peters wants more money to play left tackle again. He took less guaranteed money to play right guard than he would have accepted had the Eagles wanted to bring him back to start 16 games at left tackle. He’s only guaranteed a little over $3 million, with a chance to make another $12,500 for each game he is active. Peters made $6 million to play left tackle last season.
Also, in offensive line injury situations, the Eagles under Pederson have preferred to make one move rather than two — replace the injured player with a sub, rather than move a starter and have to sub for that player as well. So, while Pederson might have just been trying to encourage the younger O-linemen with his words Saturday, it is conceivable that Peters might stay at right guard. Pederson made a brief nod toward possibly bringing in a veteran in some role, which seems pretty likely, given the lack of experience of the backups at every offensive line position. If Pryor moves into a starting role, at guard or tackle, the Eagles won’t have a backup with NFL experience.
“JP’s done an outstanding job, coming in and playing the right guard spot. We’re going to continue to look at him there as well. But we have some options. We’ve got a couple of days here before roster cuts and getting into the regular season,” Pederson said.