With Bodyguard Down, Mailata Steps Into Starting Role
Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata, who has played 20 career snaps, will be in charge of protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside Sunday night as the Eagles try to get their offense recharged and snap their three-game winless streak.
Eagles left tackle Jason Peters went on Injured Reserve on Saturday from a toe injury, according to the NFL Network. Peters will have to miss at least three games. The earliest he can return is Oct. 20, a Thursday night game against the Giants.
Mailata, per a league source, will make his starting debut at left tackle as opposed to the Eagles moving Lane Johnson to left tackle and rookie Jack Driscoll making his second start at right tackle.
Mailata, a native of Australia, had never played American football when the Eagles drafted the former rugby star in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. The 6-foot-8, 346-pound prospect came with tantalizing athleticism and projected upside but spent his first two seasons on IR with back injuries, neither of which required surgery.
He made his debut in the opener against Washington, playing 18 snaps at right tackle after Driscoll exited with an injury, and two more last Sunday against the Bengals when Peters exited the game for what appeared to be a lower-leg injury but was described by Pederson as “fatigue.”
Peters missed practice Wednesday and Thursday from an illness, per the team’s injury report, and was limited in Friday’s practice by a foot injury, according to the injury report. He was deemed questionable to play against the 49ers but reports surfaced Saturday just before the team boarded its flight for California that Peters would be placed on IR.
Mailata took all the first-team reps at left tackle in practice this week, a source told ITB’s Adam Caplan. This Eagles will have their fourth different offensive line combination for their fourth game.
For more on Mailata, check out Tra Thomas’ breakdown of Mailata’s preseason tape on his YouTube channel, “In The Trenches with Tra Thomas.”
The team lost Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks to an Achilles tear in the offseason. Johnson missed the opener because he wasn’t yet recovered from ankle surgery late in training camp. Left guard Isaac Seumalo went on IR after the team’s Week 2 loss to the Rams, forcing Nate Herbig to move from right guard to left guard against the Bengals with Matt Pryor starting at right guard.
Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce is the only Eagles offensive lineman this year to take every snap at his natural position.
The Eagles, once again, have been bitten hard by the injury bug. They were already expected to play without wide receiver DeSean Jackson, tight end Dallas Goedert and without cornerback Trevor Williams, who was expected to fill in for already injured starting cornerback Avonte Maddox.
The team signed wide receiver Travis Fulgham, center Luke Juriga, and running back Adrian Killins from the practice squad while placing Peters and Williams on injured reserve.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the Inside the Birds podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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