Former Eagles starter responds to trade rumors amid fiery camp

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Andre Dillard (77) was a solid backup tackle amid rumors the Eagles could trade him.

Andre Dillard was moving people like a Hollywood director on Sunday in Cleveland. He started as a left tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, jumping straight with the second-team offensive line and showing why he was the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 draft.

It hasn’t been easy for Dillard in his four years at midnight green. He was supposed to be a plug-and-play starter, heir apparent to Jason Peters. It didn’t work that way. Now the 26-year-old looks reinvigorated as a substitute, with growing cries that he could turn his recent success into a starting role in another ZIP code.

Remember, Dillard entered 2021 training camp in open competition with Jordan Mailata at left tackle. He lost the battle, not the war.

“I’m not going to lie, it was hard at first” Dillard told reporters. “I had to look deep inside myself last year and understand what you are going to be? How are you going to react to this situation? To these cards that have been distributed to you? I consider each day as a new opportunity to improve and condition myself, to make the most of the resources I have.

And if Dillard really wants a trade, he doesn’t say so. He’s comfortable backing off Jordan Mailata.

“Shoot, whatever happens, happens,” Dillard said. “But I try to be where my feet are at all times.”

When asked if he’d asked his agent for a trade, Dillard laughed and rolled his eyes, “Ha.”

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Credit Jeff Stoutland for growth, development

Ask anyone along the Eagles offensive line who deserves the most credit for their growth and it’s always the same answer: Jeff Stoutland. The grizzled veteran coach is arguably the best in the business. He is extremely tough on his players, but they respect every (sometimes venomous) word he throws at them.

“I really give Stout a lot of credit. He really brings out the best in everyone who walks through his room,” Dillard said. “He’s probably the most passionate coach I’ve worked with in my entire life. And I owe him a lot and the guys owe him a lot and being part of this unit really helps all of us.

One detail that Stoutland preached to Dillard is hand placement. He tried to emulate what Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson does.

“I came into this year much more confident, with a much better mindset,” Dillard said. “Since the day after we lost to the Bucs, I’ve been training pretty much every day. I never stopped. I didn’t go on vacation, I just worked all the time.


More aggressive, rising temperature

Dillard picked two fiery fights in a recent camp practice at the NovaCare Complex. The first came after Derek Barnett gave him an unnecessary push after losing a 1-on-1 rep, and the second was the result of constant back and forth between Dillard and patrick johnson. Dillard’s helmet popped off and punches were thrown. Everything has been smoothed out.

“We worked it out in ourselves,” Dillard said of the fights. “There’s just a little problem with me coming out of a concussion, and I was tired of getting my head banged. I told him to stop and he didn’t stop, so we got together. But we crushed it, it happened with us and it was resolved between us.

Dillard admitted he’s gotten a little fiery and more aggressive since his rookie year in 2019. He’s also learned to compartmentalize the BS. This extends to what fans say about him. And what the media writes about him.

“Coming in, being like a people pleaser and stuff like that, I cared about what people were saying,” Dillard said. “And now, over the years, I’ve realized it’s all just BS. I’ve just grown a lot, I think.

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