PHILADELPHIA — Eagles rookie tackle Andre Dillard won’t be shocked if New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk plays well against the Eagles on Sunday.
Dillard spent his college career protecting both Falk and Jacksonville rookie sensation Gardner Minshew at Washington State University.
“(Falk) takes his job very seriously, and he shows a lot of leadership,” Dillard said Thursday. “He’s always been a great leader.”
The Jets are undecided if Falk will make his second career start against the Eagles or if Sam Darnold will be medically cleared to play. Darnold has been participating in practice this week after missing two games with mononucleosis.
Falk came off the bench to relieve injured backup Trevor Simien in a 23-3 loss to Cleveland and made his first start in a 30-14 setback at New England. He’s completed 32 of 47 passes for 296 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception.
He was much more prolific with Dillard at Washington State. He currently holds the Pac-12 records with 14,481 career passing yards and 119 TDs.
“He’s a real good game manager, and he knows all the tricks,” Cougars coach Mike Leach told the New York Post. “He’s always been a student of the game and utilizes all his weapons out there, which I think is kind of the most important job of a quarterback.”
Dillard has gotten a kick out of Minshew’s popularity with the Jaguars.
Minshew, who took over after Nick Foles suffered a broken clavicle in the Jaguars’ opener, has prompted “Minshew Mania” to take over the town, both through his performances and his personality.
He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September after completing 84 of 121 passes (69.4 completion percentage) for 905 yards, seven touchdowns, and one interception while helping the Jaguars to a 2-2 record.
His 1970s-era mustache and headband have made him enormously popular. The Jaguars are offering a “Minshew Mini Pack” of tickets to their next two home games that also includes a fake mustache and headband.
“I just sit back and laugh because we had the same kind of stuff on campus (at Washington State),” Dillard said. “Coffee mugs with mustaches, fake mustaches, signs on campus, all kinds of things. It’s pretty funny.”
In addition to being Minshew’s teammate for the 2018 season, Dillard was also his roommate.
Minshew arrived in the summer of 2018 as a graduate transfer from East Carolina University. The two wound up sharing an offcampus apartment with two other teammates for the entire season.
“It was an ugly, little apartment,” Dillard said. “Just awful. But we made it work. The funny part is when Gardner first got there, he just had a beard. Then one day he shows up with that mustache and says, ‘I’m gonna roll with it.’”
Falk was picked in the sixth round of the 2018 draft by Tennessee and landed with the Jets this season after being waived by Miami. Minshew was also a sixth-round pick this year by the Jaguars and was expected to be a backup before Foles got hurt throwing a touchdown pass in the opener against Kansas City.
While Minshew’s become a star, Dillard, the No. 22 overall pick, has rarely left the bench. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder, who is considered the heir apparent to left tackle Jason Peters, got 10 offensive snaps in the first four games.
“I just make sure to always be ready, whether I’m playing offense or special teams,” Dillard said. “It’s been a huge learning experience for me.”Notes: Center Jason Kelce was back with the team Thursday. Kelce’s wife Kylie gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Wyatt Elizabeth, on Wednesday. ... Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) was among the players who didn’t practice Thursday and is unlikely to play against the Jets.