No one is sure where Jordan Mailata will line up on Sunday night. He’s turned in a string of solid outings at left tackle in recent weeks but the return of Jason Peters might push him over to right tackle. That is where he’s been taking the most reps. The young Aussie doesn’t really care where the Eagles put him on the offensive line — just as long as the team puts him in with the ones.
Mailata said he’s “licking his fingers” and ready to go. Right side or left side, no matter.
“I’m telling you, anytime I can get into the game, I’m licking my fingers, licking my lips, ready to go,” Mailata told reporters on Thursday. “It’s such a great feeling to be out there. I understand why people play so long, and why they love the sport. Once I got the taste, I want more.”
But the former rugby standout is learning that life in the NFL can take a vicious toll on a person’s body. The 23-year-old has been coming into the NovaCare Complex at around 6:30 a.m. every day to start the recovery process, doing maintenance things like stretching and hitting the ice tub.
He made his professional debut on Oct. 4 in San Francisco and went on to start in four straight games, including last Thursday night’s comeback win over New York on a short turnaround. His body is worse for wear.
“Mate, my body is crook. Crook, mate. It is so sore,” Mailata said. “I have to come in every day to do recovery, that’s how I stay on top of things. It’s something that’s making me feel better every day and that’s how I’m staying on top of my fitness.”
Crook, by the way, is an Aussie slang term meaning ill or sick, not up to standard.
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Eagles O-Line: ‘Nothing Set in Stone’
The Eagles’ offensive line has been shuffled more times than a deck of cards in Deadwood. And continuity doesn’t appear to be around the corner. Starting right tackle is dealing with two serious injuries to his knee and ankle while rookie tackle Jack Driscoll remains out with his own ankle issue.
And there have been very few updates on Isaac Seumalo who was placed on IR with a knee injury back on Sept. 21. It’s been up to guys like Mailata and Matt Pryor and Nate Herbig to pick up the slack. Sua Opeta got his first start last week.
For the most part, the Eagles’ offensive line has surprisingly held up. Credit the leadership of All-Pro center Jason Kelce and the tutelage of Jeff Stoutland, one of the best offensive line coaches in football, for keeping everyone on task. The Eagles trotted out a starting unit of LT Jason Peters, LG Nate Herbig, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Pryor, RT Jordan Mailata at Wednesday’s practice.
“I just try to prepare the best I can at any position, whatever the team needs,” Mailata said. “As for this week, I don’t really know yet. Nothing’s set in stone.”
Pryor Talks Being on Reserve/COVID-19 List
Pryor suited up in a backup role against the Giants after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He saw 22 offensive snaps in fill-in duty at right tackle for Johnson who had to sit out a few series. The 25-year-old didn’t get enough reps at practice to draw the start at right guard so the Eagles flip-flopped Herbig over there and plugged Opeta in at left guard.
“If you don’t practice, you don’t play, so I was expecting that,” Pryor told reporters. “With the mental reps, watching the film, and getting that little bit of practice on Wednesday allowed me to pick up on what was going on.”
Of course, Pryor had a lot on his mind as he found himself indirectly dealing with the novel coronavirus. He spent five days in self-isolation after being in close contact with a friend who had tested positive. Pryor didn’t end up contracting the virus, but his biggest fear was being the person who inadvertently infected the Eagles’ locker room.
“Nobody wants to have that on their shoulders,” Pryor said. “That’s why they are so adamant whether it is a little cough or you are feeling under the weather, that you report it to the team, that way you could avoid any situation to spread it and having the facility close down like some of the other teams it has happened to in the league.”
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