It might be the end of an era in Philadelphia. The Eagles announced Wednesday that rookie Andre Dillard would get the start Sunday at left tackle.
Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed what many people feared when updating Jason Peters’ injury status. The long-time “Bodyguard” has a knee injury that is a “little more extensive” than originally anticipated. The 37-year-old has been in and out of the lineup over the past two seasons but still plays at a high level. His loss cannot be underestimated on a veteran team like the Eagles. Pederson labeled his status as “week-to-week.”
Dillard, who was taken 22nd overall in April’s draft, will draw this first career start Sunday in Dallas. He was forced into action last week and played 47 total snaps. Dillard was the eventual successor to Peters at left tackle, but this expedites his growth trajectory. Pederson expressed supreme confidence in the rookie.
“That’s why we drafted him. We have total confidence in Andre,” Pederson told reporters. “He is a tremendous athlete. He’s smart. We have a lot of confidence in Andre. The guys around him, he’s not on an island obviously, he’ll get a lot of help from the guys, starting with Jason Kelce and we go from there.”
Dillard’s performance against the Vikings graded out on an average level. He was beaten badly on a few plays but he also hung in there and made key blocks when he had to protect quarterback Carson Wentz. It’s all about getting more reps.
“He had some good plays. He had some bad plays, quite honestly,” Pederson said.
DeSean Jackson, Nigel Bradham Both Listed Day-to-Day
The Eagles updated the status of two other injured players: DeSean Jackson and Nigel Bradham. They are officially being listed as “day-to-day” and will miss Wednesday’s practice. However, head coach Doug Pederson did express hope that both guys could take the field Sunday in Dallas.
For Jackson, it’s more of a matter of how comfortable he feels in the days leading up to the game. The speedy receiver has been running without discomfort but his abdomen injury can flare up at any time. The Eagles won’t put him out there unless he’s 100 percent healthy.
“I feel comfortable and confident that he’s on the right track obviously to being healthy, and he becomes more day-to-day,” Pederson told reporters. “With receivers and these lower body deals, it’s all the twisting and turning, stopping and starting, the transition stuff.”
Tim Jernigan ‘Close’ to Returning to Defensive Line
Tim Jernigan has been out since breaking his foot in the Eagles’ Week 2 loss to Atlanta. He was originally thought to be lost for the season but that opinion has changed dramatically in the past several weeks as he continues to rehab. He’s another guy that won’t practice this week but there is optimism he can return sooner than expected.
Head coach Doug Pederson said Jernigan is “doing well” and “close” to rejoining the team. He wouldn’t put any exact timeline on Jernigan’s return, joking with reporters and saying “how about this year” when asked for a date.
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