A few years ago, Jeff Stoutland wandered out to the NovaCare Complex practice fields for a walkthrough and found all-pro left tackle Jason Peters ... playing center?"
"He was snapping out there in a walk-through session," Stoutland recalled. "I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'I could play center, I could play center one day. I'm going to come back as a long snapper.' I don't think he was joking, either."
The point being that Jason Peters loves a challenge.
He thinks he can do anything, and throughout his career he's proven that he can.
Which is why Stoutland, one of the NFL's most highly respected offensive line coaches, has no doubt that after one year as a practice squad tight end and 15 years as an elite left tackle, Peters can be a heck of a right guard for the Eagles.
Even though he's never played a snap at guard.
"I really believe that J.P., he embraces these things, man," Stoutland said in a Zoom call Friday. "He likes a new challenge. ... In his mind, it's something that's going to be new, it's something that will be challenging, but I absolutely think he has the critical factors to be very productive at the position."
Stoutland spoke Friday for the first time since the Eagles re-signed Peters to replace injured Brandon Brooks.
This will be Peters' 12th year with the Eagle. Only five players in franchise history have played more – Chuck Bednarik, Brian Dawkins, Harold Carmichael, Bucko Kilroy and Vic Sears.
"I believe everybody in the O-line meeting room and probably a lot of other players around here ... they look at Jason Peters like, 'This guy can do anything,'" Stoutland said. "I think that this is going to be great for Jason Peters. It's just another challenge for him."
Stoutland and Peters have been together since 2013, Chip Kelly's first year here. Nobody knows J.P. better than Stout.
"He knows me, he knows how I coach, he knows our terminology," Stoutland said. "You have to know what the guard's doing on every play. You played next to him, you were a tackle."
Brooks, a Pro Bowler after the last three seasons, is out for the season after tearing his left Achilles while working out on the grass fields outside the NovaCare Complex in June.
The Eagles were lucky Peters was still available when Brooks got hurt two months into free agency, and they locked him up to a one-year deal.
"Look, Brandon Brooks is the best player at that position in the entire league, in my opinion, and it's a tremendous loss for us, that's the truth, we all know that," Stoutland said.
"But we have to have some answers now, so we thought about this thoroughly -- coach Pederson and Howie (Roseman) and Mr. (Jeff) Lurie -- and we talked through this and I absolutely totally believe in Jason Peters doing this assignment.
"I think he brings a lot of value to the organization, to our offense. I think this is absolutely the best move."
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