The pads haven’t come on yet at Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp, but one position battle has a clear-cut leader. The left tackle spot appears to be Jordan Mailata’s to lose. He has simply won more reps than Andre Dillard after five days.
Mailata stated his case on Monday when he strong-armed summer standout Josh Sweat on one particularly telling play. After practice, the big Aussie detailed a new diet and conditioning routine he’s been adhering to this offseason. Mailata wouldn’t reveal his weight – the 6-foot-8 left tackle is listed at 346 pounds – or agree that he has the inside track on the starting job.
“Every year it’s been a competition for me, first thing for me is just to make this team, always been my approach and it always will be going forward and that’s the God’s honest truth,” Mailata told reporters on Monday. “The real competition starts tomorrow [Tuesday] when the pads come on. Every day we both come to work trying to give the best we can and I feel like we’re both giving each other a good bargain for our money, so it’s been a good comp so far between Dillard and I.”
But even as the competition heats up at camp, Mailata refuses to let the battle get personal. He and Dillard are having fun with it and keeping their friendship intact. What happens on the football field is strictly business.
“Nothing personal between Dillard and I,” Mailata said. “When I do take stuff personally, it’s because I’m trying to do my job against the defense or if I’ve missed a rep or mental assignment, that’s the only time I take it serious.”
The latest Eagles news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Eagles newsletter here!
Dillard Thinking About the Moment
Dillard is abiding by the same philosophy when it comes to fending off Mailata. He’s focused on winning the reps he gets and blocking out the noise. That’s all he can really do. It’s not like the two behemoths are physically going at each other mano a mano. They are competing against hulking pass rushers like Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, and Fletcher Cox.
“Don’t worry about the other guy, we’re not going against the other guy in practice,” Dillard said. “You can’t really focus too much on that, you focus on what you can do.”
The third-year left tackle seems more at peace this year than in previous camps. He told reporters back in the spring that he had ditched social media and concentrated on improving mentally. Dillard has been reading a lot of books, including “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. His new self-awareness has shown in early practices.
“I’m just thinking about the moment right now,” Dillard said. “What I can do to control the situation, focus on what I can control, not what anybody else thinks. Not what anybody else is doing unless they’re on the other side of the ball from me.”
Brandon Brooks Gives Health Update
Brandon Brooks also stopped by the media tent on Monday to update his injury situation. The starting right guard has sat out the beginning of camp with a minor right leg/hamstring injury. He’s officially listed day-to-day and the Eagles may choose to keep him out all summer as a precautionary measure.
But Brooks told reporters that he was “feeling good” and doesn’t expect to be at any disadvantage if he misses the entire preseason. The three-time Pro Bowler can slide right into his starting spot and not skip a beat. Remember, Brooks was the highest-graded guard (via Pro Football Focus) in 2019.
“When we’re healthy everybody has seen what we can do,” Brooks said of the Eagles’ offensive line. “What was it? Two years ago? We were the best offensive line in the league.”