Like a fine wine, Eagles LT Jason Peters is only getting better with age

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The Eagles have had a scintilating start to the NFL season. A 5-1 record sees them comfortably atop the NFC East and challenging to rule the NFC Kingdom as a whole. Every kingdom needs a King. Someone whose leadership will shine through to lead it to glory. That man has sat on an offensive line throne for quite some time and his name is Jason Peters.

When Chip Kelly first arrived, the consensus was that the up-tempo offense may be too hot to handle for Jason Peters. That the velocity and volume of plays would begin to wear down one of the league’s elite. Despite concerns of a debilitating injury, Peters made the Pro Bowl in each and every season that Kelly was Head Coach.

Then came the Doug Peterson era. A brand new franchise quarterback, a west-coast system and a new balance in the backfield. The Eagles drafted Halapoulivaati Vaitai with the intention of grooming him to one day take over from either a moving Lane Johnson or Jason Peters himself. Peters played all sixteen games that season and was the one constant on a makeshift line that never seemed to stop revolving.

One year later, the now 35-year old is still performing like an elite offensive tackle. As the run game has exploded, there has been plenty of traffic directed through the veteran left tackle, while his pass-protection has helped keep Wentz upright through some of the most crucial matchups so far. It’s almost hard to believe that Peters is still playing with such discipline and efficiency…but it’s all a testament to who he is as a person.

“Gosh, the way he conditions himself during the week, the rest he gets, how he eats, the way he prepares, and the way Stout [Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] manages him during the week, too.” Pederson told reporters after week five. “You saw it in training camp, he’s not one of these guys that gets 100 percent of the reps, and we do the same thing during the regular season, and we do it with a lot of guys, but with him in particular he has really benefitted from having a little extra rest and just the way he takes care of himself off the field.”

The discipline in conditioning has helped Peters maintain the same level of production that he showed when he first entered the league. 175 games later, there may be no more prolific tackle in Football. He proved that emphatically in the week six win over Carolina.

For someone with such a thick base to generate that much power and athleticism is almost unheard of. Peters continues to be a problematic matchup for even the most esteemed pass-rushers…giving the Eagles a security blanket on the outside for Wentz and the backfield to do their thing.

“I’ve been around him not only these last couple of seasons but even before where he’s come back heavy, he’s come back light, he’s done different things.” Pederson said. “I just think that he just knows his body and knows how to get himself ready to play, bottom line, and he does an outstanding job with it. He’s been maintaining his weight this year. Even a little bit of bulk with him still being able to move the way he moves is pretty impressive for a big guy.”

Then of course there’s his impact off the field.  Jason Peters has long been seen as a mentor, but this season he took extra time to help develop Derek Barnett’s spin move over the Summer, and mentor a player who has followed a similar path to the NFL in Dillon Gordon. Helping out a player who has already come on leaps and bounds since arriving as an undrafted free agent can only mean good things. After playing in 2 snaps against the Ravens and helping on special teams, Gordon continued to learn behind the Eagles veterans…and now with the road ahead cleared, his name is being called for a potential spot as a backup. In the meantime, he continues to watch and learn on the practice squad as Peters sets the standard.

They say age is just a number…and there may be no better proof of that than Jason Peters. One of the most underrated players on this roster this season, the veteran left tackle has already carved his way into the hall of fame…but isn’t done yet.

 

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

 

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