Pederson Defends Decision To Start Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Doug Pederson’s initial plan wasn’t to start Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right tackle in place of the suspended Lane Johnson, but after the rookie right tackle played well enough in practice, the Eagles plugged the rookie fifth-round pick in against Washington instead of moving Allen Barbre from left guard.
In his first NFL game, Vaitai allowed two sacks, two hurries and one quarterback hit in 29 pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus. But the Eagles’ head coach said Vaitai will start again against the undefeated Vikings on Sunday.
“Slow start, but really settled in nicely throughout the game. 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 were enough mistakes all around in this football game that cost us this game. But I thought as the game progressed, he settled in nicely and did some good things.
“He’ll be a lot better this week. He’s now got a full game under his belt and that’s valuable experience that he can learn from going into this game.”
While Vaitai will play on Sunday, Pederson revealed Bennie Logan’s status is in serious doubt. The defensive tackle exited the Eagles’ 27-20 loss to Washington in the second quarter with a left groin injury and is now “week-to-week.”
Ron Brooks (left calf contusion), Jason Kelce (plantar fasciitis), Mychal Kendricks (rib contusion) and Marcus Smith (right groin strain) won’t practice on Wednesday, but Pederson isn’t worried about Kelce missing Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, Bryan Braman (shoulder), Jordan Matthews (knee tendonitis), Leodis McKelvin (left hamstring) and Rodney McLeod (right AC shoulder sprain) will practice on Wednesday.