Inside the Numbers: Vaitai Passes One Test
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — With the trade deadline looming on Tuesday and FOX's Jay Glazer reporting that the Eagles plan to be active, Halapoulivaati Vaitai needed a strong performance to convince the Philadelphia brass he is the answer at left tackle in the wake of Jason Peters' season-ending ACL injury.
In the Eagles' 33-10 win over San Francisco, the second-year TCU product excelled as a pass blocker outside of one play in which he was badly beaten by veteran Leger Douzable resulting in a Carson Wentz sack.
According to ProFootballFocus.com that was the only quarterback pressure of any kind allowed by Vaitai during the 39 times he was asked to pass block.
“I feel like I am pretty decent at left tackle," Vaitai said. "There are a lot of things that I need to improve and work on, but I feel pretty good about it.”
The problems were in the run game where Vaitai graded out poorly against a 49ers' defense intent on forcing the issue.
Whether the performance was enough to dissuade the organization from looking outside the NovaCare Complex remains to be seen but it does look as if Vaitai is at least going to be serviceable as a blindside pass protector moving forward if the Eagles stick with the status quo.
“I’m still trying to get the mechanics down, the technique down, but I have great guys like [Eagles T] Lane [Johnson] giving me positive vibes," Vaitai said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen