July 8, 2020   6 MIN READ

The Buzz: Andre Dillard vs. Jason Peters


Welcome to the “The Buzz,” a creative new way for Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher to give thoughts on hot topics involving the Eagles or NFL using email as a discussion platform. “The Buzz” will be a series of emails back and forth between Mosher and Caplan on a specific topic.

Given the potential of no preseason games, this week’s “The Buzz” debates the merits of sticking with Andre Dillard or bringing back Jason Peters before the start of camp.

From: Adam Caplan

To: Geoff Mosher

Geoff: We’re getting closer to training camp (or so we think) and as we all know, every NFL team has some questions remaining from their offseason.

The Eagles are no different.

But their challenges are a bit different.

You wouldn’t think that a team that is coming off its 3rd straight playoff appearance would have a lot of questions.

However, some of the coaches were not brought back, some players are coming off of serious injuries, and the team needed to get younger.

And let’s not forget the coaching staff didn’t have an offseason to evaluate the players from practices.

So it’s going to be a challenging season to say the least, but as you said on our last Inside the Birds podcast quite well, every team has the same challenge in terms of not having an offseason on the field.

To me, the top challenge or issue is how to deal with the left tackle position.

Second-year left tackle Andre Dillard.

Second-year left tackle Andre Dillard.

We discussed this situation a bit on our last show, but there’s more here than meets the eye.

There’s no question that Andre Dillard is the future at LT. He was drafted to be that guy and he will be.

But is there harm in backing up one more time since he didn’t have an offseason with the coaches?

Ordinarily, I would side with you here (to play him and not re-sign Jason Peters), but we’re not under normal circumstances.

Keep in mind the Eagles have Dillard under contract through 2022 and they have two franchise or transition tags to use. So, if they want, they can keep him through 2024 without extending his contract.

If you and I were running the Eagles personnel office, this would be a long discussion with HC Doug Pederson and OL coach Jeff Stoutland at the very least.

From: Geoff Mosher
To: Adam Caplan

You make plenty of sense, Adam. Left tackle is a premier position. Jason Peters is a known commodity. Covid-19 has thrown a curveball into the way teams can prepare for the season.

And it’s just July…

But we aren’t talking about a rookie free agent or Day 2/3 prospect here. The Eagles traded up in the first round for Andre Dillard because they believed Dillard’s talent and acumen would translate to the NFL level and that he’d develop into the kind of cornerstone left tackle every team covets.

If they were in their evaluation of Dillard – which is possible – then they have much bigger issues over the long term to be concerned about. Time will tell.

Future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters.

But Dillard isn’t a rookie and he didn’t sit for his entire rookie season. He has NFL experience. His weight is up. He needs to play to get the coaching and development needed to mature into a starter.

I’m more concerned about right guard, and depth at running back, safety and linebacker – especially if rosters are trimmed. The Eagles need a veteran backup swing lineman who can play tackle and guard, not just one position – someone to take the role Big V handled the past few years.

They need that kind of lineman now more than ever, especially if Matt Pryor is the starter at right guard.

Who else could handle that backup role at the moment?

In my view, a versatile backup has to be the priority.

From: Adam Caplan
To: Geoff Mosher

You make fair points, counselor, but let’s settle this.

And you talked about a versatile backup. I’d rather have an experienced swing tackle or a veteran LT who can start in a pinch if needed.

Someone like Kelvin Beachum, who has started 99 games in his career (most at LT), makes a lot of sense for insurance. He’s only 31 and is going to be a backup when he signs with a team.

You’ll notice a trend with my concerns with the roster–it’s mostly “insurance” based.

Next up is for RG: But I’m less concerned. While the loss of starter Brandon Brooks is big, the position doesn’t have the same importance as LT.

I’d still look for at least some insurance behind Matt Pryor. I know the Eagles want to get younger, but again, gotta be wise here. Larry Warford would likely cost starter money and there’s no reason to pay $7m+ for this season when you have a younger player who you believe is ready to step in. I’d go with Pryor and sign an insurance policy.

I know we don’t agree on the Peters/Dillard situation, but where are you on the RG job?

From: Geoff Mosher

To: Adam Caplan

We’re in lock step about the right guard situation.

The Brooks injury really hurts, but options on the street aren’t ideal and it’s doubtful that Howie Roseman trades for Joe Thuney given the team’s financial situation.

Unfortunately, Jeff Stoutland must play the hand he was dealt. But that’s why I’m still more bullish on the Eagles finding a veteran swing linemen who can step in and play if more injuries amount.

If Pryor were to get injured, next man up at right guard would be … who? Nate Herbig? Jack Driscoll?

There are plenty of options on the market who’d be open to signing a 1-year deal for the veteran minimum and could help add some depth where the Eagles need it most.

Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher are co-hosts of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writers for InsideTheBirds.com.

Listen to the latest “Inside the Birds” podcast here:

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