Halapoulivaati Vaitai will remain starter at RT
Doug Pederson put to bed any rumored offensive line changes in his weekly press conference Monday afternoon, saying Halapoulivaati Vaitai will remain the starter at
Vaitai allowed 2.5 sacks and struggled mightily in pass protection during the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins Sunday. Pederson is willing to give the rookie fifth-round pick another shot.
“He gives us the best opportunity to win right now,” Pederson said. “'Big V' is our backup right tackle right now, therefore he’s going to play and he’s going to gain valuable experience, week in and week out.”
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Pederson seems willing to let Vaitai learn on the fly, similar to what he has done with fellow rookies Carson Wentz, Jalen Mills and Wendell Smallwood this season. The Eagles head coach admitted Vaitai made mistakes in pass protection throughout the loss, many of which resulted in Wentz taking hits from the right side of the line.
“Was it perfect? Was it pretty? No. Were there assignment errors? Yes. I’m not going to stand here and point the finger at 'Big V', because that’s not what happened, " Pederson said. "There’s enough mistakes all around in this football game that cost us this game. I thought as the game progressed, he settled in nicely and did some good things.”
Vaitai did settle in throughout the second half as the Eagles gave him some extra help to his right against Ryan Kerrigan, who finished with two sacks in the game. Philadelphia's offensive line was in shambles on Sunday, particularly on the right side as center Jason Kelce and right guard Brandon Brooks struggled in pass protection along with Vaitai.
In addition, the Eagles also rushed for 79 of their 94 yards on the left side of the offensive line.
"There’s a risk every time we take the field," Pederson said. Regardless of rookie or veteran. There’s a risk. My focus is to get 'Big V' ready to go. He’ll be a lot better this week."
Pederson is right. Vaitai can't be any worse.
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