Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks sat down with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a complete transcript of what he had to say.
CARSON WENTZ WAS SAYING 7-9 DOESN’T CUT IT. IN YOUR MIND, GOAL WISE, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS SEASON?
Goal one is to win the division. It’s been the first thing that Coach Pederson has talked about since we got here. In order to make that next step you have to win the division. Obviously we’re in a tough division but we believe in the guys that we have and it showed in the games that were so close last year. We’re right there in a lot of those games. And we’ve just got to learn to take that next step, take that maturity step, and finish, and learn how to finish and how to close those games.
ANY THOUGHTS ON TONY ROMO RETIRING?
No, man. I think he was probably somebody that could still contribute, but he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family.
YOU’RE HEALTHY, WHICH YOU WEREN’T LAST YEAR. HOW MUCH FURTHER ALONG ARE YOU THIS OFFSEASON?
It’s huge. It’s huge to get a full year of just, really just that playing time, first and foremost. That’s probably the biggest thing, is having that playing time. And then going into the offseason and just being able to train, let your body heal from the season. And then just pick up where you started and really build off of everything. I haven’t had to start off at square one and primarily focus on that rehab. I’ve had that more times than not. It’s really nice to just be able to go into this thing confident. It does build your confidence that you’ve had that healthy season and you’ve proved yourself in that area.
LAST OFFSEASON THERE WAS NOT MUCH UPPER BODY WORK FOR YOU?
Yeah, shoot. I barely did any.
ARE YOU BIGGER NOW OR STRONGER NOW?
I would say so at this point. Yes. Obviously. That’s probably an easy question because I wasn’t able to do anything. It’s been good. It’s been a good offseason. I am a little bit bigger. I like being a little bit bigger at this time, just to build that strength. I can cut easy. If I don’t eat, I cut easy. Just the way my body works.
WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS NOW VERSUS LAST YEAR WEIGHT WISE?
Weight wise, I’m probably about the same, strength wise is what’s different.
IF THE EAGLES MAKE SOME MOVES AND WANT YOU TO MOVE TO OUTSIDE LINEBACKER, HOW READY ARE YOU TO DO THAT?
Yeah man, I answer it the same way every time. I’ve played in a ton of defenses. I think this is number six or seven, in eight years, or something like that. I’ve played just about every position. And I’m more than willing to do what’s necessary for the team for this defense to be the best defense it can be. And to help contribute to this team as much as I possibly can.
IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR NUMBERS, YOU LED LINEBACKERS IN INTERCEPTIONS. DO YOU LIKE THAT AS A STRENGTH? BEING ABLE TO COVER AS WELL AS YOU DO. DO YOU WANT TO DO MORE OR LESS?
No, I look at it as any time you get the ball thrown at you, you want to be able to make plays on it. And that’s whether you’re a linebacker, a [defensive back], anything. Coverage is part of my job description. And to be able to hang your hat and say that you were able to do that, gives you a place to build off of. Obviously last year I was able to make some plays. Again, I’m just trying to build off of that. Being able to be in the same defense will help a lot, and to be able to really work on the intricacies of the defense, the little mishaps that we had maybe early off in this season. It’s definitely something to build off of.
YOU MENTIONED LAST YEAR THE RUN GAME IS WHERE YOU WANTED TO IMPROVE THE MOST. HOW MUCH DOES BEING ABLE TO STRENGTH TRAIN NOW PLAY INTO THAT?
It’s huge because as a linebacker, especially in this defense, it’s all taking on blocks and getting off of blocks and making the tackle. The defensive line is going to be disruptive but you’re going to have to take on blocks to be able to get in on the tackles. Being able, again, to have that offseason and go into it healthy and not have to worry about rehabbing and starting off at square one is huge. Strength wise, and being able to punch and shed, it’s huge for me.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT JIM SCHWARTZ NOW? HOW WILL THAT HELP?
This time last year it was all questions. You didn’t know what to expect. You had seen press conferences and seen who he was through little snippets but you didn’t know him, I didn’t know him and have that type of relationship that I do now. You get a feel for the way he handles a game, the way he handles practice, the way he handles expectations going into certain situations. And that communication, the ability to read each other’s mind and understand each other, where we want to be, and where we want this defense to be, we can only go up.
IS THAT WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT BEING MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE SECOND YEAR OF THIS SCHEME?
Yeah. You see a lot of the same route concepts. And we’ll see a lot of the same route concepts that we did last year. And we’ll be able to see that and take specific film and figure out the steps and drill work. Work on what we weren’t really good at last year. That’s how you take the next step. Continuously drill where you really aren’t that good.
WITH FOUR NEW STARTERS ON DEFENSE, HOW DO YOU COMPENSATE FOR THAT?
Guys gotta step up, but we have faith in everybody that’s here. Obviously, we’ll have a lot of guys who have played in this defense and a lot of guys who can help those guys out and really take a role of leadership and take them under their wing. We’ve got confidence in the guys who step in that defense and they’ll be well-tested.
MYCHAL KENDRICKS HAS BEEN MENTIONED IN TRADE RUMORS. HOW IS HIS APPROACH?
Attitude’s great. Myk is Myk. He’s doing a great job in the weight room, in the meetings. He’s here, he’s attentive. His attitude hasn’t wavered. Obviously, [the trade rumors] are out of our control at the end of the day. And he’s acting that way. He’s controlling what he can control.
WHO ARE THE LEADERS ON THIS DEFENSE? I WOULD THINK YOU’D SAY YOU’RE ONE.
I would. At middle linebacker, I feel like I have to be. I think honestly we have quite a bit of guys who are considered leaders. You’ve got somebody up front like Fletcher Cox. You’ve got Malcolm Jenkins on the back. We’ve got Rodney [McLeod]. Guys who have really done a lot of successful things in this league and can call themselves leaders and lead in their own ways and do a lot of things great things pulling guys with them. And so I think that’s what’s special about this group is that there’s not one guy that has to run the whole thing. Where somebody else is weak somebody else is strong. That’s kind of how we build off of each other throughout the year.
DO THE EAGLES HAVE ENOUGH DEPTH AT LINEBACKER? DO YOU EXPECT MORE ADDITIONS?
I don’t know. It’s not really my call. My opinion doesn’t really matter because I’m not in control. I think the guys that are here, obviously were here last year and we had enough depth last year. I think really at the end of the day it’s not in my control, it’s not my call. I trust the guys who do make the call. And that’s that.
HOW HAS JOE WALKER BEEN DOING AFTER BEING INJURED ALL LAST YEAR?
You can really learn a lot from being hurt. I know firsthand. I learned a lot from being on the sideline and being a third-eye view, having a third-eye view on everything that’s going on. I think Joe did a great job of staying connected, staying in the film room, staying engaged in meetings, doing a great job of watching film and all that stuff. I think he’s taken a step. As far as physically wise, I think he’s doing great right now. Working out, looks strong, doing a great job in the weight room and moving around a little bit.
WHEN YOU HEARD TONY ROMO IS RETIRING DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE HIT YOU HAD THAT INJURED HIM IN 2015?
No, I didn’t. Obviously everyone wants to connect me with Tony but he’s had a few hits after that as well. I don’t take the blame for that.
YOU PUT UP BIG STATS BUT WEREN’T MENTIONED IN POSTSEASON AWARDS. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CARE ABOUT? DO YOU FEEL LIKE IN TIME THAT WILL COME?
I agree with that second part. That with time, it will come. I think there’s a process to it. You have to get your name out there and you have to have a good year. But at the end of the day, what my focus is on is the team and the defense and making sure that we can be as good as we can possible be. And if we do that, everything extra will come. If I can be the best that I can be for this Eagles defense and this Eagles team, everything else will fall in place.
WITH THE EAGLES SIGNING A LOT OF OFFENSIVE PLAYERS IN FREE AGENCY AND NOT DEFENSIVE GUYS, DO YOU WONDER ‘WHAT ABOUT US’ AT ALL?
No. It makes you excited. I’m excited to see the guys that we’ve added. There’s a lot of excitement around the locker room knowing that your offense gets some big additions and playmakers on that side of the ball. You don’t really look at it as ‘What about us?’ because we are confident guys. Talk to a defense, defensive guys are usually extremely confident in what we do. We think we can hold our own against anybody. So it’s cool. It’s really exciting to see.
WHEN YOU HEAR HOWIE SAY HE WANTS TO SURROUND CARSON WENTZ WITH AS MANY OFFENSIVE WEAPONS AS POSSIBLE, AS A DEFENSIVE GUY YOU’RE COOL WITH THAT?
Yeah, absolutely. I think Carson can be one of the best quarterbacks in this league. I think the way to build around him, put those weapons with him and let them do their thing. Carson is a great quarterback. He’s got everything you need in it to be a great quarterback. I’m excited to see where this offense goes this year.
WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT THE TEAM WHEN A GUY LIKE BRENT CELEK TAKES A PAY CUT? AND CELEK HIMSELF?
Yeah, Brent is one of those guys obviously who everybody respects. And that’s just a sample of one of the reasons why he is so well-respected around this league. He is as giving as … you ask anybody and you wouldn’t expect that. And Brent was willing to do that for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of the organization and to win games ultimately. That’s what this thing comes down to, and being as good as we can be to win games. So it’s just who he is.
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU KEPT IN TOUCH AS EAGLES TEAMMATES THIS OFFSEASON? HOW IS THE TEAM CHEMISTRY?
Huge. It’s awesome. I think I saw a handful of the guys, a lot of guys went to [Zach] Ertz’s wedding. So that was a good opportunity for everyone to get together. And yeah, the fishing trip. We were down in Florida for a little while at a Christian conference. It’s been constant. Offense and defense, group text. Group text makes it a hundred times easier now days to just throw a text in there and everybody responds and you’re getting notification after notification. It’s been awesome and I think it’s really going to help at the end of the day. Just having that chemistry. And when you’re playing with a bunch of guys who like each other, and respect each other, and want to play for each other, that’s when that next step happens.