After a year as a substitute, the former first-round pick takes over from the left tackle for a future Hall of Famer who will play a few yards away.
The Eagles trust Dillard after limited action as a rookie. They were always going to accompany Dillard on the left tackle; they didn’t bring Jason Peters back until Brandon Brooks was injured. Dillard is their future and that future begins in 2020.
This offseason, Dillard’s biggest goal was to gain more weight and he did. Brooks said earlier this offseason that Dillard weighed up to 335 pounds.
I absolutely identified with him the areas where we need to improve, ”said offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland recently. “And I would say the only thing he’s done a great job at is his strength. I think he absolutely improved in the strength department and he needed it.
It was obvious that the Eagles’ decision to put Dillard on the right tackle last year was a complete disaster. It only lasted half until the Eagles put an end to an experience that seemed doomed from the start. But the Eagles didn’t draft Dillard to play the right tackle and they won’t ask him again.
While it’s not a good sign that he struggled so much on the right side of the line, the Eagles saw much more positive signs when he started three games for Peters at left tackle as a rookie.
“When you look at the setup tapes, which we’re currently using to teach players. Installation every day, here’s how you go about it: You get it done by cutting the best educational film or the best clips for that concept, ”said Stoutland. “You can have 300 but you can’t use 300. You don’t have a lot of time. For the group meeting, you might use three or four clips. When you go to your position meeting, you can have 30 clips.
“To make a long story short, my point is that when you go back and really analyze, you go back and look at these specific concepts one at a time. And then you start to notice Andre in a lot of them. I think he played over 400, 500 pieces, something like that. You see the change of direction, you see the speed of the foot and the body.
The Eagles watch his strip from 2019 and see all the reasons they drafted it. Dillard is athletic, he is fast, he has a solid technique. He obviously needed to get stronger and put it all together.
We will find out soon enough if this happens.
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