Philadelphia Eagles News

Halapoulivaati Vaitai Looks To Bounce Back After Tough Game

Good thing it was the preseason. And good thing that quarterback Nick Foles suffered only a minor shoulder injury when New England defensive end Adrian Clayborn beat Eagles left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai off the edge for a sack in Thursday's game at New England.

Vaitai, after a game he termed "terrible" and "embarrassing," is ready to move on. Vaitai played 75 snaps on Thursday night, 95 percent of the offense's time on the field, and he was not good at all. The Eagles' offensive line gave up eight quarterback sacks, and Vaitai had his hand in too many of them. He said, flat out on Sunday before practice at the NovaCare Complex, that he wasn't ready to play mentally.

Consider it a lesson learned.

"You've just got to train yourself to be mentally ready every day. I mean, you just have to be ready," Vaitai said. "I kind of took it easy. I wasn't ready. I've just got to treat every day like we never went to the Super Bowl. I'm glad it happened in this game, that it happened now rather than later in the season."

The plan is for Vaitai to continue to take the starter's reps at left tackle in the preseason and then move to a backup role when veteran Jason Peters takes over as the starter on September 6 against Atlanta. Vaitai has to be ready, though, just as he was last season when Peters was injured in Week 7 against Washington and Vaitai started the rest of the way and played well through the Super Bowl victory.

However, the preseason game in New England was one of those games that happens to everyone. And when Vaitai watched the tape of the game, he felt even more awful.

"I was just embarrassed. I didn't want to watch it, but I had to, I had to critique myself," he said. "Stout (offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland) talked to me and we'll get better from there. It was a wake-up call. I can't take any day like it's going to be an easy day. I've just got to be ready mentally. Every week means more, but I've just got to show it."

Said right tackle Lane Johnson: "We've all been in those kinds of games. It sucks, but those are the games you learn the most from. You just have to bounce back from it, and he will."

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