Jason Peters has already earned five Pro Bowl nominations, four all-pro honors and staked his claim as the NFL’s top left tackle over the past five or so years.
One thing missing from his resume is a playoff win. The dearth of postseason success crossed his mind a few times over the past year, as he rehabbed from two surgeries on the same Achilles tendon that he ruptured twice last offseason, injuries that sidelined him for the entire 2012 season.
It served as motivation for him to come back as dominant and as imposing as he was before the procedures.
“I’m just trying to work to get back where I was before I got hurt,” Peters said Tuesday, the first day of the Eagles’ offseason program under new coach Chip Kelly. “Really don’t dwell on it or think about it too much. I just want to get back to where I used to be and get some wins.”
Not just regular-season wins, either.
“Of course, that’s what I mean about wins - playoff wins,” he said. “I haven’t had one. Don’t know what it feels like. Can’t wait to feel it. So that’s what I’m going to work on this year, [work] towards.”
Peters is 100 percent healthy and ready to participate in all drills and camps as the Eagles take their first steps in Chip Kelly era. Actually, he had recovered completely by early December and could have played if the Eagles were pushing for the postseason instead of slogging through a 4-12 season that cost coach Andy Reid his job. The coaching change from Reid to Kelly, and from position coach Howard Mudd to Jeff Stoutland, isn’t something Peters views as a roadblock to returning to an elite level, even though he thrived in Mudd’s system.
“It’s just a different scheme, he said. “You wouldn’t see a Tom Brady change his game just because he got a new coach. He’s still going to be Tom Brady. Same thing I’m gonna bring to the table this year. I’m going to play hard. Whatever scheme they give me, I’m going to do it 100 miles per hour.”
Peters had just performed some drills before he met with the media but hadn’t yet seen from Kelly or Stoutland the blocking scheme that the Eagles will employ, except for a few plays Stoutland showed him Monday that looked similar in design to last year’s system.
“You only can tell once you get out there and get [with] the coach,” Peters said, “and how he wants you to turn and the angles and stuff like that.”
The Eagles won’t practice until April 16-18, their first voluntary minicamp under Kelly, but Peters said he already has an idea of how Kelly’s practices will run based on the drills he had already done.
All of the offensive linemen went through drills usually reserved for running backs, such as sprinting, ladders and and hurdles.
“It’s a lot of up-tempo stuff,” he said. “Everything is quick, a lot of reps, a quick pace, and I’m just ready to go. The science part of it, I really don’t know yet. All I know is running and working out.”
The doctors told Peters that he had no reason to believe he wouldn’t perform at the level he did prior to surgery. At worst, Peters was told, he would be 98 percent of the player he was before the first Achilles tear.
“Two percent is not bad,” he said.
Peters said the coaches haven’t advised him to drop down from the 345 pounds he weighs right now and usually plays at, but he plans to shed about 20 pounds anyway in anticipation of Kelly’s fast-paced attack.
“I’ll be ready for whatever coach throws at us,” he said. “Whether we’re running 100 plays per game or 60, I’ll be ready for that.”
When a reporter asked Peters for his opinion on the speculation that the Eagles will use their No. 4 pick in the draft on an offensive tackle, Peters said he hadn’t heard any of the talk.
If the Eagles draft an offensive tackle, Peters wouldn’t be the slightest bit angered or concerned about his job security.
“Don’t matter who they bring in, it ain’t gonna be easy to get my spot, I know that much,” he said. “Whoever they draft I’m going to mold, and if they do draft a left tackle, it don’t matter. I’m going to help him work to be where I’m at, if not better.”
The Eagles learned last year how irreplaceable Peters was, as they tried to get by with King Dunlap and free-agent acquisition Demetress Bell. Neither could hold down the starting job and neither is with the team.
The Eagles probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs last year with a healthy Peters, but Kelly needs the freakishly athletic Peters to anchor the left tackle spot if he wants his high-powered offense to succeed.
“I mean, it’s a big difference. I’m a starter,” Peters said. “I’m one of the No. 1 offensive linemen in the league, so me being out there carries everybody else and makes them play their best.”