PETERS RECREATES A 'RUDY' SCENE IN COACH'S OFFICE
All Pro tackle Jason Peters had a sudden change of heart and will play left tackle to start the season
The way Eagles head coach Doug Pederson described it, Jason Peters walking into his office Labor Day morning was right out a dramatic scene from the movie “Rudy.”
The scene has long since been debunked as Hollywood taking way too much license, but it was still a dramatic moment in the 1993 sports classic. You remember, right? It's when the captain of the Notre Dame football team places his jersey on coach Dan Devine's desk, asking that practice squad player Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger suit up in his place.
It was a fake scene, but Rudy actually did sack Georgia Tech quarterback Rudy Allen on the final play of the game, a 24-3 Notre Dame win. It was Rudy's only collegiate play, and it was a relatively meaningless play, but ended up having a lasting impact on college football and the legend of the Fighting Irish.
Eagles fans can only hope the Peters' recreating that dramatic-walk-into-the-coach's-office scene has a lasting impact as well.
It seems, with the 2020 season opener against Washington less than a week away, and the Eagles facing a pass rush that features five first round draft picks, Peters had a change of heart and told his coach he would move to left tackle from right guard, a move he was reluctant to do unless he was given a pay raise.
Pederson, who was struggling to fill the spot after last year's first round draft pick Andre Dillard suffered a biceps injury on August 17 and was lost for the season, was very happy to hear Peters' decision.
Pederson revealed the sudden meeting at his Monday morning video conference. The Birds had brought in veteran Cordy Glenn for a tryout after poor reviews of third year offensive lineman Matt Pryor practicing at the left tackle spot left Howie Roseman and the coach with very few options.
Then came the Holiday morning revalation.
“As it pertains to our left tackle, I can actually share some news with you that Jason Peters came into my office this morning and he has decided to slide over to left tackle,” Pederson revealed. “Listen, this is the unselfishness; this is who he is.”
“When we talk about guys and we talk specifically about Jason Peters, this is who he is,” the coach said. “He sacrifices not only his body, but for the football team. He did an outstanding job for us at right guard. It was a valuable experience for him to play over there on the right side and get some interior work, but as he looks at not only where we are but where he is, he came in today and he was excited to move to left tackle and so I can announce that. I'm thrilled to death.”
Peters was signed just before training camp to take over the right guard starting spot after All Pro Brandon Brooks was lost for the year after tearing his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout at NovaCare.
When Dillard went down, it was assumed Peters would slide over and Pryor or second year guard/center would start at guard.
But stories surfaced out of NovaCare that Peters wanted his contact adjusted to that of a starting left tackle.
Stories also surfaced that – under Chip Kelly - the Eagles docked Peters $3.5 million for games missed due to a non-football injury. So there was bad blood...at least for a while.
Peters' change of heart leaves just one decision at right guard and the coach talked about it.
“First of all, we have to get JP caught up,” Pederson said. “He is comfortable there, but we've got to get him caught up, back with the terminology and working with Isaac again and all that. That's kind of the first thing.”
The coach then addressed his options at guard.
“At right guard, Matt Pryor is an option there,” he said. “We do have some other younger players. I mean, Herbig has been working in there. [Fourth round pick] Jack Driscoll has been working in there. We've got some options at the right guard position. But with this move with Jason Peters, it really kind of solidifies that left side for us and really puts us in a little bit better position moving forward.”
Carson Wentz talked about getting a familiar face back to protect his blind side.
"Yeah, I'm excited about that for him for this team, you know it's a blessing,” Wentz said.. “I've had JP back there walking my blind side, pretty much every year, you know, and obviously he's missed a couple games of injuries and stuff over the years, but he's been the guy, he's been the guy out there and done a great job. We call him bodyguard for a reason, you know, he always takes care of me so I'm pretty excited that he's back there, or you know I think the line's excited about it and puts us in a good position going forward for sure.”
Pederson was asked to elaborate on his meeting with Peters...was there any talk about his contract?
“Obviously he knocked and it's a big man walking through my door, and I was happy to see Jason Peters,” Pederson said. “I was just thrilled to death when he shared the news. I'm not going to get into the contract stuff. That's not my area, but I was excited that when he shared the news that he was moving over to the left side and sliding over to the left side, I was thrilled. I mean, I couldn't have been happier, not only for him but I think for our team. It just shows a sign of great leadership by him and gave him a hug and said 'let's go.'.”
Had he expected this? Did he think Peters would have such a change in his position?
“I had not expected this,” Pederson said. “We continued to talk to Jason and all that, but listen, we were comfortable with him at right guard. We had made plans to move forward and get ready for the season that way. It’s just one of those pleasant surprises that we all kind of hoped would come true.”
If the Eagles make a run and get to the Super Bowl, that will be a scene Eagles fans would love to see in the movie. *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii