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Jason Peters Had a Message for Vaitai as He Was Being Carted Off

As Jason Peters loaded himself and his bum right leg onto the cart early in the second half on Monday night, and as Eagles fans at the Linc began to chant his name, the injured future Hall of Famer had one thing on his mind. 

Peters wanted to give Big V some advice. 

"He told me, 'Just keep your composure and calm down,'" said second-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who took Peters' spot at left tackle after his knee injury. "Take two good kicks, don't over set, you'll be fine."

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Vaitai said the advice helped. It calmed him down. 

"He believed in me so it gave me a confidence boost a little bit," Vaitai said. 

When the Eagles host the 49ers next week, Vaitai will probably be in the starting lineup. The extent of Peters' injury is still unknown, but reported it's thought to be an MCL tear. 

Even if Peters is somehow able to return later this season, it'll be up to Vaitai and Lane Johnson to hold down the tackle position in the meantime. 

Head coach Doug Pederson was noncommittal on a plan without Peters. It's possible Vaitai could stay at left tackle, but it seems likely Johnson would slide to left tackle to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. Either way, Vaitai will need to play well. 

"Don't know yet," Pederson said. "It's something we'll evaluate this week. As you guys know back in the spring, we talked about possibly having a plan that way, but we'll evaluate it this week and make a decision at least by Wednesday before we practice again."

Monday night was the second time this season Vaitai had to finish a game against Washington for Peters. The future Hall of Famer exited Week 1's contest early as well. 

Next week will likely be Vaitai's eighth career start. Just last week, Johnson was praising Vaitai and mentioned he didn't start to hit his stride until his ninth start during his rookie season. 

"We have confidence in him, man," right guard Brandon Brooks said. "He stepped in for Lane last year and got better. Honestly, it's probably a bigger deal for you guys than it is for us. He's rotated in at tackle. He's the next guy up." 

After Peters went down, the Eagles continued their drive and were able to march down the field with Vaitai at right tackle and score a touchdown. Johnson said it was "vital" to get a score there. 

"I mean, when a guy like Jason Peters goes down, I mean the crowd was chanting his name," Wentz said. "He is a legend around here. He is a future Hall of Famer. We love that guy. He means a lot to us.

"As we were going out, he was starting to tell Coach Stout (Jeff Stoutland), to tell Big V a certain thing against a certain guy. He didn't even care, he was just trying to coach and just help us out to find a way to win. And that's just the type of guy he is. So that will be a big loss for us. It was a big loss for us tonight but Big V stepped up." 

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