There was much debate over which player was to blame for the nasty hit on Cody Kessler. Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones came in off the edge unblocked and knocked the quarterback out of Thursday’s game. On first glance, it looked like Andre Dillard missed his assignment. Not so fast.
The rookie left tackle was doing what most offensive line coaches teach by blocking the interior pressure first. The Eagles were in “empty protection” on the play and there were not enough linemen to account for the Jaguars’ sixth pass-rusher. Jones was free and clear to annihilate Kessler. Which he did.
The blame for the unfortunate breakdown should actually be pinned on Kessler himself. With no running back in the backfield or tight end on the edge, the quarterback should have checked down to beat the blitz. Or Kessler should have just thrown the ball away. Dillard attempted to silence his many trolls and explain the basics of the play in an Instagram story when he said: “A lot of folks must not know what empty protection is.”
It was a rough week for Andre Dillard after he got a small lecture from head coach Doug Pederson and GM Howie Roseman following an on-field fight with defensive end Derek Barnett. The rookie left tackle was visibly emotional and appeared to be in tears when reporters approached his locker stall after Monday’s practice.