Dillard Back in Line of Fire Against Dallas
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Andre Dillard played only a handful snaps during the first five weeks of his NFL career -- 16 to be exact -- before being thrown into the fire against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.
Playing on the road against Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter is tough duty for anyone, even a talented first-round pick and Dillard struggled at times during a 38-20 setback, especially with the bull rush of two gifted edge players.
Things will not get any easier in Dallas as Dillard is set to square off against Robert Quinn with a little DeMarcus Lawrence mixed in as the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys square off for first place in the NFC East.
Doug Pederson said Jason Peters is “week-to-week” with a knee injury during his Wednesday news conference, something that usually signals a multi-week absence in the coach's personal lexicon.
“Jason Peters is a little more extensive," Pederson said when running down injuries. "Probably a week-to-week decision with him."
Peters hurt his knee during the first half of the team’s loss to Vikings and briefly returned before tapping out for good. Dillard was inserted and played 47 snaps. Thrust into the game while the Eagles were trailing and throwing the ball often, Dillard had his struggles against the Vikings’ strong edge rush tandem of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffin.
Things didn't go all that well and while Dillard hasn't played enough to be rated by ProFootballFocus.com, his grade of 45.0 would put him behind Miami's J'Marcus Webb as the worst-rated tackle in football. For comparison's sake, Peters is No. 10 of 73 and right tackle Lane Johnson is No. 7.
The Eagles, though, are showing confidence in Dillard in order to both buoy his confidence with the understanding there are often start-up costs with young players.
“We’ve got total confidence in Andre," Pederson said. "I go back and think about what [Eagles offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai] did his first start. It wasn’t perfect. I think about what Andre did last week in Minneapolis. It wasn’t perfect. He’ll learn from it and get better.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen