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Mailata and Johnson offer a glimpse into the craziness of a Stoutland meeting

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We’ve been hearing for a decade now about how thorough Jeff Stoutland’s offensive line meetings are.

Since 2013, when Stoutland first got here at the start of Chip Kelly’s coaching tenure, we’ve heard from Todd Herremans to Cam Jurgens and everyone in between about Stoutland’s intense attention to detail and how meetings can be just as challenging as practice.

With his usual humor and sense of wonder, Jordan Mailata this week offered a glimpse into just how intense those meetings are.

“He doesn't know the word overload, that's the problem,” Mailata said. “We keep joking about it, the guys in the back, about how we should auction off a class time meeting for the Eagles Autism (Challenge). Just have somebody, a regular Joe off the street, come in and witness one of our meetings.

“Because it's just like there are meetings where we just sit there and we watch 10 plays over and over again. Just so we can really understand how the defense plays and what the concept of the defense is they're running vs. our concept and the plays that we're running to see which ones are better to run. 

“So Stout does not know overload. It's just repetitive.”

How many times will Stout show his guys the same play?

“Maybe, shoot, I wanna say it's five or six times that we’ll watch it,” he said. “Stout sometimes will not know that we watched it (already). He'll be like, ‘This looks familiar. Have we seen this before?’ I'll be like, ‘Yes, yes we have.’ He'll be like, ‘Oh, I guess that's the end of the tape.’ Put on another tape and just keep watching.” 

Can you still learn something watching the same play for the fourth time? The fifth time? The sixth time?

“You can for sure,” he said. “Especially in that room with Kelce and Stout, those two mega minds of line play.”

The Eagles’ organizational philosophy these days is to spend as little time as possible on the practice field, and that means more time in the meeting room.

So there’s a real emphasis on the cerebral side of the game, and Stout believes the more his linemen know about the opposing defense, the fewer surprises they’ll experience on gameday, which will translate into better performance.

“If you've met coach Stout, he doesn't like surprises,” Mailata said. “So he will go through, from the origin of the Patriots defense, he will start from day one and he will make sure that we iron out every single wrinkle or crinkle. 

“And when we do get surprised, that's when we do game-plan adjustments on the sideline. So if there's a look that we haven't seen during the week, then we just go from there.”

Stoutland has been at this long enough that he’s got plenty of tricks when he senses that someone isn’t paying attention or is struggling to keep up.

“He does a good job of kind of, I guess for y'all it's kind of like a pop quiz, so he always likes to ask players what they have on this play, certain situations, and then if he feels like a player isn't paying attention, he'll kind of ramble on and say, ‘What do you have Jordan?’” Lane Johnson said. “And so when you think he's not observing you, he always is. 

“Going in the meeting rooms, man, he's always kind of full-go. You know, I think his philosophy is trying to create as much chaos as he can, kind of similar to what a game is and try to see if we communicate effectively with it. The meetings are entertaining. They're long. For me, it's about mainly just staying focused and not getting carried away.”

Learning how to watch film is an under-rated skill that not all young players have mastered when they arrive in the NFL. 

It takes a lot of discipline and a pretty good attention span to make it through a Jeff Stoutland meeting. 

“I've had 11 years to adjust, but the first few years, yeah, it was hard for me,” Johnson said. “I had to learn to kind of sit still and learn to pay attention, which is something harder to do than it seems. 

“For us, it's just about getting what the game plan is for the week, where the main emphasis is. And then we watch a lot of different clips, but really just try to see what kind of works for you, so to speak. He makes a lot of clips you get to watch, but you really get to pick apart what's useful and what's not.”

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