The Eagles think they will be more or less OK with Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle. Also, nothing more exciting was available at Tuesday's trade deadline.

Belief in Vaitai was implicit in the decision to go after a difference-making running back, Jay Ajayi, instead of blocking help. Sure, Howie Roseman talked about how there wasn't "a tree that you just pick tackles off of," but there had to be a little low-hanging fruit out there, perhaps judged overripe or too expensive.

Had the Eagles really been in a panic about Vaitai playing in place of Jason Peters the rest of the season, they would have found someone, from somewhere.

"We draft and develop players, and 'V' was probably one of the most improved players on our football team during training camp," Roseman said. "You draft those guys, you develop them, you put them through the program so that they get opportunities like this. We have a lot of confidence in him, and the rest of the offensive line is intact, and we have some veteran players that have started games and been successful in the National Football League."

Vaitai gave up one sack and took a holding penalty in Sunday's victory over San Francisco, in which the entire o-line seemed a bit off key.

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Vaitai did "a solid job" against "a good front … a formidable defense."

Pointed humor

Jalen Mills said after the game Sunday that his 37-yard interception return for a touchdown grew out of kidding he'd taken about his supposed lack of return skills. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked about that Tuesday.

"We want to score on defense, for sure," Schwartz said. "Part of a guy's skill set is being able to get in the end zone and things like that. He had a couple interceptions this year where he didn't have the greatest runback of all time. Sometimes there's a lot of ways to get messages to players … sometimes you can kid around and make light of it and guys get the message.

"Jalen is a very, very prideful player. He wants to be the guy to make the play for us … that one in particular was a huge play in that game. We had battled bad field position pretty much the whole time. It had been back and forth. We had been fortunate to get some stops. I think that was probably the play of the game, get that touchdown. Jalen is playing good, consistent ball for us.


Jim Schwartz said he didn't know if he would have corner Patrick Robinson (concussion) this week … New running back Jay Ajayi arrived in Philadelphia Tuesday evening and is expected to practice Wednesday.

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