This is a big year for Eagles’ second-year left tackle Andre Dillard, but he emphasized on Wednesday that he’s the guy for the position. He spoke with the media after training camp practice about adding strength this offseason, the return of Jason Peters, and his role as a starter.
Here’s what the left tackle had to say:
On his offseason
Several players had mentioned that Dillard needed to add some strength this offseason, and he did. Bulking up was a big goal for him, and he added about 20 pounds while keeping his body fat percentage the same, if not a bit lower than last season. He’s been pushing a lot more weight, and does feel more solid and stronger early on in training camp.
In high school and college when he bulked up, he didn’t know what to do and would just eat at night and wake up to drink shakes. Last year, he was in contact with the Eagles’ strength coaches a lot and started paying more attention to the nutritional aspect.
On Jason Peters’ return
“I’m happy that he’s back. It’s unfortunate that [Brandon Brooks] went down, but having a familiar face back — a guy that’s legendary, has a lot of knowledge — it’s good to have him on board, because he’s one of the greatest lineman ever. He just bolsters our group, and I’m excited to keep learning from him this year.”
On being the starting left tackle
Taking over for Peters at left tackle comes with more pressure and responsibility naturally, Dillard explained, but he is confident in his ability to take over that role.
“I’m the guy for the position, I’m going to keep proving that I’m the guy for the position.”
He said it’s like night and day from last year with his confidence, and the game has slowed down a lot for him. As his rookie season went on things slowed down, and at the end of the year, he understood a lot more about the game and his opponents.
The tackle is excited to be working along Isaac Seumalo, someone Dillard names as one of the smartest people he’s ever met. He likes playing next to Seumalo, and they gel well on the field.
- Dillard said that he and Coach Stoutland are a lot more familiar with each other this year and click with their personalities, but how he’s being coached in Year 2 hasn’t changed.
- The OT was asked about the fans reaction to his play last season:
“From my perspective, I don’t really take to heart what fans say. They’re not on our practice field or in our meeting rooms. The only opinions that matter are coaches and players, so I just keep my head down and every day my goal is to keep improving.”