Eagles Andre Dillard Slams Critics After Cody Kessler Concussion

Andre Dillard

Getty Former first-round pick Andre Dillard is returning from a season-ending biceps injury in 2021.

There was much debate over which player was to blame for the nasty hit on Cody Kessler. Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones came in off the edge unblocked and knocked the quarterback out of Thursday’s game. On first glance, it looked like Andre Dillard missed his assignment. Not so fast.

The rookie left tackle was doing what most offensive line coaches teach by blocking the interior pressure first. The Eagles were in “empty protection” on the play and there were not enough linemen to account for the Jaguars’ sixth pass-rusher. Jones was free and clear to annihilate Kessler. Which he did.

The blame for the unfortunate breakdown should actually be pinned on Kessler himself. With no running back in the backfield or tight end on the edge, the quarterback should have checked down to beat the blitz. Or Kessler should have just thrown the ball away. Dillard attempted to silence his many trolls and explain the basics of the play in an Instagram story when he said: “A lot of folks must not know what empty protection is.”

Andre Dillard

Dillard Explains Fight with Derek Barnett

It was a rough week for Andre Dillard after he got a small lecture from head coach Doug Pederson and GM Howie Roseman following an on-field fight with defensive end Derek Barnett. The rookie left tackle was visibly emotional and appeared to be in tears when reporters approached his locker stall after Monday’s practice.

He had taken issue with Barnett running into quarterback Carson Wentz during team drills, leading to a heated scuffle in the middle of practice. Three days later, Dillard still didn’t want to address the incident.

“I think it’s a good idea to dismiss that at this point, not make it a bigger deal than it is,” Dillard told The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. “It’s football.”

Earlier in the week, veteran left tackle Jason Peters had given the first-round pick a huge vote of confidence when he chalked the fight up to competitiveness.

“That’s football man,” Peters told 94WIP. “You’re going to have days like that. It’s good to have practices like that. You’re gonna fight your brother some days and love them some days too. It’s good to have days like this.”

Dillard Excited About Transformers Mask

Andre Dillard recently shared a photo of a creative face mask that a talented Eagles fan designed for him. The 23-year-old from Washington State donned the mask, an ode to Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots from the hugely popular Transformers movies. It was spot on.

Was Dillard trying to earn himself an appropriate nickname for the season? That part isn’t clear, but we’ll be referring to him as Optimus Prime — or maybe Optimus Dill? — from now on. (Interesting to note that the first Tranformers episode aired in 1985, or a full decade before Dillard was born.) The more you know!

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