The Eagles’ coaches have had good things to say about the development of JJ Arcega-Whiteside, as the wide receiver shakes off a rough rookie year. JJAW spoke to the media on Thursday about all the work he’s put in this offseason, why he feels like a completely different player, and about his new rookie position-mates.
Here’s what the second-year receiver had to say:
On his offseason
JJAW said how he feels this offseason is night and day difference from last year.
“Around this time last year, I was trying to learn all the plays, learn how they get done, try and find chemistry with Carson, learn how everything works in the NFL. Second time around, — I hate to say that I know all the plays, because there’s going to be a day or two where I have a mental error, but I’m pretty confident in the plays. I don’t go into practice with a script in my hand trying to memorize the plays that I have, I’m just like, I’m in the huddle, you call the play, I know what I gotta do. Now I can play faster, I can play more confidently, and show everybody what I can do instead of trying to do the right thing.”
The receiver was happy with the approach they took with the virtual offseason and being able to be home with the family, but also get a lot of work done. He noted that of course you miss that bonding time with teammates, but they all understood the situation, and he was glad that they did what they did.
He was asked what he told people back home about his rookie season, and JJAW noted that he kept it real and admitted it wasn’t good enough.
“Turn on the TV, you can see it. But, 2019 is in the past. I’m looking back at it now, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I’m a totally different player than I was then’. And, I kind of laugh about it because I don’t even know who that was.”
As far as his approach to regain his confidence, JJAW got away from football and took a trip or two — advice he was given to mentally and physically reset. Then he just got to work and worked hard, including 7-hour workout days, but he didn’t publicize that he was grinding.
“My schedule was, wake up, run for about 2 hours with my track coach, lunch, then lift weights, hot yoga, dinner, pool workout — I bought a jugs machine to make sure I was getting some catches while I was at home.”
On the WR room
When asked about the team drafting a first round receiver and two other receivers in this year’s draft, and JJAW welcomed the competition.
“Getting to know these guys, I love these guys, we work hard together. They’re definitely very talented, but they definitely bring out the best in me, as well. I’m glad that I can share my experiences with them, and tell them the dos and the don’ts that I made mistakes in last year to help them. Because, at the end of the day, I want them to be at their best so they can make me be at my best.”
JJAW later said that he didn’t show last year that he can run, but it’s something he worked on this offseason. The Eagles said that they wanted speed, and JJAW made sure to get his speed up, too — so, he’s not intimidated by the rookies in that regard.
- He admitted that he had a few injuries throughout his rookie season, and that he wasn’t used to having play through some of those on a long-term basis. But, he was able to get everything right and worked out this offseason, and he’s feeling good.
- JJAW said he lost about 5 to 7 pounds of fat this offseason, and came to camp a lot lighter than last year.