— Story by Brian McLaughlin @
Meet new starting Right Tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai
We will find out tomorrow for sure, but according to multiple reports, Halapoulivaati Vaitai will take over the right tackle position for the finally suspended Lane Johnson.
Eagles will start big V at RT. Some risk since he hasn’t played yet, but OL coach is very good. https://t.co/spHgLhSTRy
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 11, 2016
Despite hearing his name brought up as a possible replacement for Johnson, Vaitai, AKA Big V, is very much an unknown. Philly Football Talk has you covered with a 1 click, in-depth report on what to know about the new Eagles starting right tackle.
How do you pronounce his name? It’s not as hard as it may seem. It’s Hal-lah-poo-li-VAH-tee VIE-tie
Height – 6’6
Weight – 315lbs
College – TCU
Drafted – 2016 Round 5 (166th overall)
— Pre-draft Scouting Reports
Positives – Versatility, athletic, good technique, experienced. He played both Right tackle and Left tackle at TCU. He was a part of a very prolific offense and played in some big games during his career.
Negatives – Will have a tough time with edge rushers, too stiff
— Check out some film on Big V
2015 at Oklahoma
— Draft analysis after by the experts after he was drafted
— There has been a lot of talk about how much Vaitai has improved since the start training camp. That improvement has given the coaching staff the opportunity to leave Allen Barbre at left guard, a position that he has exceled at so far this season. This CSN Philly article from last week highlights the progression of Big V.
— Doug Pederson, who has said that it will be a much easier transition to fix one spot on the line rather than try and fix two. I tend to agree.
“It is true,” Pederson said. “Talking with [offensive line] coach [Jeff] Stoutland and watching Big V closely not only through preseason, but in practices these last couple of weeks — we want to exhaust all of the possibilities. Allen Barbre has been playing great at left guard, and if you don’t have to disrupt two positions and just do one, I think there’s some conversation there that we got to have. But yeah, he’s definitely in the mix.”
It is obvious that both the coaching staff and management like this guy. The fact that Howie Roseman has not brought in a veteran lineman speaks volumes. They clearly have faith in Big V as well as the depth on the offensive line. The coaching staff has done a great job so far this season putting their players in a position to succeed. This is a huge loss, but it is a loss that they have been preparing for and seem to have a plan in place. It remains to be seen if that plan will be a successful one. Lane Johnson’s stupidity has really hurt this team, but if there is light at the end of the tunnel, it is that if Big V proves to be a viable NFL tackle, the Eagles could be set at the position for years to come.