The 2023 offseason is underway, and like the rest of his teammates, Jordan Mailata is absorbing what he described as a "well-deserved break."
He'll take time to spend with his family and heal the emotional wound left by the unsavory end to the dream-like season. Despite the final score of the finale, Mailata holds a great deal of pride for what he and his team achieved.
"You've got to reflect on what you could've done better," Mailata said. "There are multiple things in the game that I could've done better to help the team out. But we've also got to move forward and reflect on everything we accomplished this year as a team. We've got to be proud of that. We can't just write that off."
He's right. The talent and preparation it took for the team to make it to the Super Bowl can't be understated, especially when Mailata is part of the conversation.
The 2022 season was the culmination of his transformative development. In five years' time, the 6-foot-8, 365-pound man who once was a physically gifted but inexperienced Australian Rugby player blossomed into a fixture of the best offensive line in the league.
Though Mailata left Arizona without the ultimate prize – it was not for lack of effort. Pro Football Focus rated him the best offensive lineman in the game. He only allowed one sack in the final nine games of the season, none in the three playoff contests – propelling an offensive line that finished with a league-best 83.2 pass block grade. Still, just like he has been since first taking part in the NFL's International Pathway Program, Mailata is determined to continue his steady improvement.
With looming uncertainty about the makeup of next year's line and the potential of a new man lining up at center pending Jason Kelce's retirement decision, it won't be long until Mailata dives back into detailed coaching sessions with his mentor, Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland, who recently signed a contract extension.
He says his top priority is improving his change of direction, inside moves, and maintaining his balance – but otherwise, it's back to studying the game itself.
"You can never have too great of a football IQ, so I'm just gonna get back on the books. Just keep learning, especially with Kelce trying to figure out what he's going to do. I'm just trying to upgrade my smarts."
Less than a decade into his football career, Mailata is a veteran Eagle in the locker room, and his role as a leader will likely only grow in 2023. During the final team meeting before players cleared out of the NovaCare Complex, one sentiment shared by Head Coach Nick Sirianni struck Mailata harder than the rest.
"He said keep building the brotherhood. Everything that we built here just because we're not here, keep connecting. That was one message he said in there that I'm always gonna take away. Keep connecting."