Eagles’ offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland spoke to the media on Friday morning about doing everything right to keep the team healthy, his thoughts on bringing Jason Peters back and the rest of the offensive line.
On COVID precautions
Stoutland says he’s never felt more safe in his life. He lauded owner Jeff Lurie, saying that they know he cares about his team and coaches, and it shows based on the group he’s put together to organize the whole operation. The thought of every little thing, even down to the door handles, which lets the coaches and players just focus on their job.
He also admitted that he wears his mask on the field — they are mandatory inside the building, but optional on the field. But, he feels a sense of responsibility to do everything right across the board, because players and coaches have families and are all trying to be safe. Stoutland said he hopes that it becomes the new norm and they can just focus on what they have to do to be a good team.
His motto though, is to just take it one day at a time.
On the returning offensive line
Everyone in the offensive line meeting room, and throughout the roster, looks at Jason Peters as a guy who can do anything. Stoutland thinks Peters changing positions will be good for him, especially after years of playing one of the toughest positions on the field,and it’s a new challenge. The move will also be great for the team, and he brings a lot of value to the organization.
As far as Andre Dillard, when you go back and really analyze the film, he got a lot of experience last season and you can see his change of direction, and good things. But, Stoutland has identified the areas of concern that he needs to improve, and one thing that Dillard has worked on this offseason was his strength, which he needed to do.
When talking about Jason Peters and bringing him back at guard, Stoutland wanted to emphasize his appreciation for Brandon Brooks.
“Brandon Brooks is the best player at that position in the league, in my opinion. And that’s a tough loss for us.”
He went on to say that mentally, he’s probably taking the Brooks loss harder than the player, who is always positive and has a great outlook on getting back on the field.
“He’s an amazing guy to me.”
Stoutland said that he couldn’t currently say whether Mailata is still someone who needs a lot of development or if he’s a viable back-up at the moment because he hasn’t seen him on the field this offseason. Stoutland did say he was impressed by Mailata’s confidence during virtual meetings.
“I think that Matt Pryor has made the biggest jump, just in his development, his training, pushing himself to get in great shape, the meeting stuff we had — the virtual meetings in the spring.”
Both Pryor and Mailata are close in how they've developed this offseason. Stoutland can tell from knowing how they were training and how much time they put in during the offseason program.
Pryor is extremely valuable because he can play multiple positions, and Stoutland looks at him as though he is a starter already.
“Extremely valuable because he can play a lot of positions. […] To have that swing value to me is extremely important. […] I look at him like a starter, like I looked at [Halapoulivaati] Vaitai last year.”
On the OL rookies
The coach was asked about Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho, and he said they’re doing a really nice job, along with the rest of the young guys. Stoutland likes that these first few days they’ve been able to focus on just the rookies, and that it’s been fun and exciting.
“I’m very upbeat and energized about this group from a football intelligence standpoint to a physical standpoint.”
It’s not just the draft picks either, the undrafted free agents are doing a great job and he’s been impressed. The more he can get in and the more he can teach before the older guys get there, they’ll feel more acclimated and be able to get in the mix on the field.
Stoutland also said that the team must have done something right with their virtual offseason because there’s a lot of carryover, and the retention was incredible.