The Eagles were back at practice on Tuesday, albeit a day full of walk-throughs and meetings, but we had a chance to hear from two of the teams most respected veterans, Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox, as well as quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Kelce talked about the development of the young offensive lineman and how they’ve handled stepping into starting roles, as well as why he and the room love Lane Johnson and are hoping for the best with his situation. Cox talked a bit about the defensive scheme, and also explained why he’s blessed to have been with the Eagles for such a long time.
Here’s some of what the guys had to say:
The veteran center admitted things feel a little similar to last year with him being the last man standing and so many changes with the lineman around him. Kelce said that he wishes those that have been sidelined could still be on the field, but ultimately he thinks the young guys that have stepped up have done well.
“I think for the most part, the young guys that have gone in have done really, really well. Andre Dillard is playing really, really good football. We’ve got Jordan Mailata back. Landon [Dickerson] for a rookie has gone in there and progressed each week, keeps getting better. Jack Driscoll has been able to play guard and tackle. Nate Herbig can fill in across the board. So, [Jeff Stoutland] has done an incredible job, I think, these past couple years making sure guys are ready to go when developing a lot of these young players, so that they can go in and get the job done.”
Kelce talked a little more about Dillard and his development, and said that they’ve always highlighted his physical traits and the quickness in his feet, but he’s really started to progress naturally which is now translating to game days. He also mentioned that over the years he’s seen players who have and haven’t realized their potential and he pointed to their awareness of the things they do well, but also the things they need to improve, and keeping those things balanced.
The center also said that he talked to Lane Johnson when he came up to the facility last week before the Carolina game, maybe on Thursday, but hasn’t seen him since. Kelce didn’t want to speculate whether or not Johnson would be back this season, noting that injuries and personal matters are out of his realm for assessment.
“I met with him and I just wish the best for him. Everybody in here loves that guy, I mean, he’s such a great personality, a great person to be around, a guy that really makes our room a lot more fun, a lot more energetic. He’s obviously a great football player, and I just wish nothing but the best, and can’t say enough good things about Lane Johnson.
Despite having a wrap on his hand, Cox was quick to say that it’s good and nothing to worry about, and that they’re just trying to get a little swelling out of it.
He talked a bit about how the scheme they played on Sunday against the Panthers was something they worked on a lot early on in training camp, so he didn’t think that it was so much put in place so he could be more productive, just something that was going to be utilized at some point. Cox noted that offenses will probably scheme against it now, but they just need to continue working on things and getting them fundamentally sound.
Cox also said that his favorite play of the Carolina win was Darius Slay’s interception, because people had been giving the cornerback flack, and it was nice to see him step up to the plate when he was targeted.
The 10-year veteran also talked about what it means to him to have played for Philadelphia for so long:
“I say it all the time, you know, very blessed to be in this position, to be here 10 years now. You see so many great players be in the organization for a certain amount of time and next thing you know they’re gone. So, I appreciate that a lot. I don’t take it for granted at all, I show up and I respect everybody in the building, like I do everyday.”
This will be the quarterback’s first experience starting on Thursday night after a short week but he said that the coaches, along with Joe Flacco and Gardner Minshew are helping get him prepared. Hurts talked a little about the tough defense he’s expecting from the Buccaneers.
“They’re a very aggressive defense. They play fast, fly to the ball. A great front seven, linebackers, great DBs and great safeties, so another great challenge for us as an offense we’re ready to attack.”
Hurts was asked about his Superman celebration after a touchdown against Carolina, and he said that while it was something he did in college, he was mindful of it being against the Panthers and a nod to Cam Newton and everything he did for that team.