We’re still hearing from Eagles’ players as they continue OTAs, including Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, and Boston Scott. Dillard and Mailata talked about rotating reps at left tackle and their competition for the starting role — with Dillard crediting a social media absence for a stronger mental state this offseason.
Here are some highlights from the players’ recent media availability:
Dillard opened up about how he learned a lot about himself last season, including how much the game means to him and how much he loves it. Losing a season to an injury put things in perspective for the lineman, but Dillard confirmed that he is back to 100 percent and fully cleared to return to the field. He later mentioned that as soon as he was injured he turned his attention to the things he could work on for 2021 including leg days in the gym, diet and sleep regimens, and reading self-help books.
On competing with Jordan Mailata for the left tackle position:
“I welcome all competition, I never shy away from it. I’m glad that it’s happening and it makes sense that it’s happening. Jordan [Mailata] came in and filled in last year, played most of the season and he played really well, so it only makes sense for the coaches to give it a little competition and not just give somebody the spot coming back from injury. We’re really good friends, sit next to each other in the locker room, and we always pal around.”
He went on to say that if he did lose the starting job to Mailata, Dillard said that he’d just work really hard to earn it back.
Dillard also noted that he wasn’t aware of the trade rumors circulating this offseason because he’s been off of social media since last year. Aside from fans and reports coming from social media, Dillard admitted he stepped away mostly because he was using it too often and was wasting time scrolling through things that didn’t matter.
The tackle was asked about Jalen Hurts now that he’s the QB1, and Mailata said that his confidence stands out and his attempts at being a leader and leading by example. He also pointed out Hurts’ attention to detail and his energy, as well as working with the OL to make sure they understand his cadence.
When asked about his development, Mailata emphasized that nothing has changed despite his experience last season and that he’s always coming to work and competing. His focus is getting one percent better every day, and it’s not whether he’s earned the left tackle spot or not, it always comes down to who is the best man for the job.
“I’m very proud of Dill [Andre Dillard], he’s come with a lot of confidence this year, which coming off the season he had, that injury, I think it’s important for him to come in and show that he has confidence. Just for the rest of the room to see, it’s great. We have a great friendship and a great rivalry as well when it comes to just pushing each other. Iron sharpens iron, so Dillard and I have some good competition. If I feel like he’s doing like 100 percent at practice, I feel like I have to go 110. Even in the gym as well, we’re always competing. We know that there’s a competition going on, and we’re just going to keep going at it until judgement day comes and they choose one.”
As far as the coaching staff goes, Mailata admitted he was relieved when Jeff Stoutland confirmed that he would be returning to the Eagles this season, and he noted that Nick Sirianni’s energy is through the roof. He went on to say that they can tell Sirianni cares for each of them and that he has passion and is trying to build genuine rapport with all the players.
The running back said that there’s a lot of competitors in the RB room and they all consider themselves starters, which is the mentality they all need to have to be successful. As far as Coach Jemal Singleton, Scott said that he’s been doing a great job creating relationships and comradery within the room and he’s a great teacher.
“There’s a shot to be a really good offense. Right now what we’re doing is just learning the terminology — learning what this means, learning what that means — so, we’re installing the playbook day-by-day. As a whole, we’re still learning, but I’m definitely excited about Coach Nick [Sirianni] and his philosophy on creating mismatches, whatever that may be.”
Scott was asked about Jalen Hurts and his demeanor as QB1, and the running back noted that Hurts is level-headed, noting that he may be young but he loves to teach. For example, after they do a play, he’ll take off his helmet and run the route to show his teammates what he was thinking or seeing — so, not only does Hurts take care of his individual business, he’s also focused on making those around him better.