Before the team headed to the Linc on Sunday evening for their first practice in front of thousands of Eagles’ fans, some players spoke to reporters, including Jason Kelce, Alex Singleton, and Fletcher Cox. Kelce gave some great insights into the offensive line, Singleton talked about his week on the reserve/COVID list, and Cox gave some updates on some of the younger defensive linemen.
Here’s what some of the guys had to say:
C Jason Kelce
The veteran was asked about the pace of practices and some of the older guys getting two rest days in the first eight days, but Kelce said they have a group of doctors and training staff who have been working hard to come up with the best schedule to keep everyone healthy. He noted that science has come a long way and they can do a better job of planning ahead to try and minimize risk, and hopefully stave off some of the injuries issues they’ve been plagued with the past couple seasons.
Kelce admitted that he’s the type of guy who prefers to be on the field rather than watching practice, but with the trainers saying that three days in a row could be a potential injury concern, he’s going to listen to that advice and sit back — even if he doesn’t like it.
As far as some of the other lineman — especially with Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo sidelined with injuries early — Kelce says Matt Pryor is having “an excellent camp” at right guard and is starting to get some work at right tackle as well, just to get experience at multiple spots. Nate Herbig is also playing really well at left guard and is getting some work at center. Kelce said Sua Opeta is an unbelievably physical player, and has been since the moment he got to Philly, and the thing that’s been holding him back is waiting for it to all click mentally — but, Kelce can see that progression in Opeta now as a player. Jack Driscoll lined up at guard next to Kelce for the first time the other day in camp, and battled his ass off against Fletcher Cox and did a nice job for it being his first day at the position.
On rookie Landon Dickerson
“He’s definitely got a great personality. He’s a great kid, funny, smart, energetic. Obviously, hasn’t been able to get out on the field yet, but you can see it in the weight room, he’s a strong kid. He’s close, and when he does get out there, I know he’s chomping at the bit right now, he’s asking all sorts of questions to everybody, he’s very involved even though he’s not out there. So, I’m excited to see what Landon does and once he’s out there with the pads on, and back to doing what he loves, which is playing football.”
On QB Jalen Hurts
“He’s been pretty consistent since he got here. He’s a great leader, a got a great attitude about him. All he wants to do is win, all he wants to do is compete and beat the team across from him — and you can feel that each and every day. When it doesn’t go that way you can feel his frustration. I really like Jalen’s intangibles, I really like how he goes about his work, and I don’t think that’s changed in the least, now it’s just some new plays, some new coaches and everything, so we’re all kind of starting from scratch again. But, that work ethic and who he is as a person will carry him through that.”
LB Alex Singleton
The linebacker talked about starting camp on the COVID list, and noted that he is vaccinated but still had a few mild symptoms and tested positive the Monday before the team reported. With a smile, Singleton said thankfully he’s feeling fine, has that behind him, and he’s happy to be back with the team.
When he was quarantined, he still tried to find ways to run inside his house, and joked that he paced out his hallway to about 11 yards, “but the wall comes pretty quick”. The linebacker said that because he felt mostly fine, he was able to get some kettlebells and dumbbells to get some weight lifting in, and thanks to Zoom, he was able to attend all meetings and watch practice in real time. So, ultimately, he didn’t feel like he was playing catch-up at all once he got back on the field Saturday.
Singleton talked a bit about how his older sister has down syndrome so he and his family are always as safe as they need to be, so he just listened to the doctors in the building — who he trusts — and made the decision to get vaccinated. As far as his return, he said some of the guys were interested in how he felt when he was infected with COVID and compared his story to some others who got sick before the vaccine.
DT Fletcher Cox
Cox mentioned that Josh Sweat has had a really consistent camp this season, which has been the biggest thing from the young player. Sweat knows that this year is really important for him, so he’s been focused, taking the coaching, and showing off his skills.
The veteran was also asked about rookie Milton Williams, and Cox noted that he’s been doing well and getting better every day. Williams was kind of thrown into the fire having started camp with the second group and playing multiple positions. Cox called the rookie a bit of a floater at the moment taking snaps both inside and outside.
He talked a little bit about Derek Barnett as well, saying that they worked out some together this offseason and that Barnett is as motivated as he’s ever seen him heading into this season. Cox said that Barnett shows up to practice every day with a plan, and always practices and plays hard, but his approach is more mature now and he knows what it takes to prepare for a long season.