Philadelphia Eagles: Playing Andre Dillard at right tackle went predictably bad

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After literally never playing right tackle in a game ever, the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to start Andre Dillard at right tackle went predictably bad.

Going into Week 12, Andre Dillard wasn’t too stoked on playing right tackle.

Sure, he was happy to see the field, as the 6-foot-5 Washington State product’s playing time has been incredibly inconsistent through his first three months with the Philadelphia Eagles, but after playing left tackle exclusively since he was 14, having to kick to the right wasn’t his favorite idea.

To paraphrase the man himself ‘It’s like having to write with the wrong hand’ (more on that here).

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But still, Dillard is a fantastic offensive lineman with great size, speed, and technique. How hard could it be to do what he does, just on the other side of the line?

Well, if you tuned into the Eagles’ ugly loss to the Seattle Seahawks, you got your answer: Exceptionally hard.

While Dillard has picked up a few snaps here or there playing offensive tackle in heavy packages on the outside, when forced to play right tackle exclusively for an entire game, his technical issues were on full display.

Case and point Ziggy Ansah bowling over Dillard for a Carson Wentz strip-sack. Granted, that particular play didn’t show up on the stats sheet, as a Shaquill Griffin holding call ultimately erased what would have been the Birds’ sixth turnover of the game, but that’s a foolish justification.

Dillard played so bad on the afternoon that he was benched for Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the second half, despite having to shift the 6-foot-6 TCU big boy over from right guard. Yup, you read that right, Doug Pederson and company actually believed that he had a better chance to win with 2017 fifth-round pick Matt Pryor in the game over their left tackle of the future despite having never appeared in an NFL game at any level.

Funny enough, it was actually the right move.

With Pryor at guard and Vaitai at tackle – a look fans of the Horned Frogs should be familiar with – the Birds were able to move the ball pretty effectively on the ground in the second half, even if their passing offense was still all but non-existent.

And honestly, Dillard’s issues shouldn’t have been all too surprising, he alluded to them himself.

Now I’m no expert at playing offensive tackle, I only did so for a short time in eighth grade, but when Dillard explicitly states how uncomfortable he was at switching sides after a decade playing on the left, maybe those words should have been taken more seriously. Maybe the Birds should have gone ahead with Vaitai at right tackle from the jump, knowing full well that he can do the job at a passable level. Heck, maybe the Eagles should have moved Isaac Seumalo to right tackle and shifted Dillard inside, where his muscle memory would have been more effective.

Next. Remember, DK Metcalf can’t change direction. dark

Regardless of what the Philadelphia Eagles could have done to reconstruct their offensive line on the fly, the decision to play Andre Dillard at right tackle was predictably bad and flew right in the face of putting the rookie in the best situation to succeed moving forward.