The Eagles’ offseason program is officially underway and we got to hear from some of the team’s leaders on Wednesday, including Jalen Hurts, Jason Kelce, Darius Slay, and Brandon Graham. We heard about some injury updates, their thoughts on this year’s draft class, and what their focus has been so far this offseason.
Here’s what some of the guys had to say:
“I think this is an exciting time to be an Eagle. I think coming off of the things we were able to accomplish and overcome last year, I think there’s a lot to look forward to. Just knowing that, for me, one thing I’ve been telling the guys is that the foundation has been set, the standard has been set, and the only direction is to climb. And the only way we can do that is doing it together.”
Hurts went on to say that they have a lot of goals from the top down in the organization and they are in the spring part of it, but it’s still the same mentality of attacking things everyday.
The QB was asked about A.J. Brown joining the roster, and he lauded the WR’s ability to use his body and make plays with the ball in his hands. Hurts called Brown a great addition to an already great receiver room.
He talked a bit about the training he’s done the past few months, calling it a wholistic approach to being a quarterback — everything from taking command and leading an offense to his diet and schedule. Hurts said that all that work has been beneficial as he gets back into the offseason program. He also mentioned that a lot of QB work isn’t physical, but more mental, and those are some of the things he focused on.
“I’m pretty excited about [Cam Jurgens]. I liked him a lot. I like his tools, I like his mentality. Probably overstated a little bit my involvement in that selection — so I’d probably like to step that back a little bit.”
Kelce went on to credit Jeff Stoutland, Howie Roseman, and Nick Sirianni for ultimately making the pick, and also noted that while he and Jurgens have some similar traits, the incoming rookie will carve his own path.
“Cam’s not only athletic, he’s physical, he’s tough, he’s — all the times you see him miss a block, a lot of it is just over-aggression or not tempo-ing it properly. Very correctable things.”
Kelce also talked about why he chose to return in 2022, and he explained that he was having a lot of fun at the end of last season and wanted to continue. While the playoff game didn’t go as they had hoped, the team showed improvement throughout the year and he had a lot of fun with Nick Sirianni as the head coach. He likes to take a step back and assess where he is physically, but it was pretty easy decision to come back.
The veteran center also talked about how he enjoys working to train his eventual replacement, joking that he’s been doing that in some capacity the past eight years. Kelce wants his legacy to continue through the play of the next generation, so mentoring younger players is something he really enjoys.
Slay was asked about the secondary, noting that they lost two starters and haven’t added much depth. He pointed to Marcus Epps as someone whose gotten a lot of reps, has put in the work, and deserves this opportunity for a bigger role.
The CB was excited about the Eagles adding A.J. Brown. He talked about how everyone knew they needed to add a big, physical wide receiver, and Brown fits that bill. While Slay has never played Brown, he knows that the WR is aggressive, finishes catches, runs through tackles, and is fast for his size.
As for the linebacker position, Slay said he has high hopes for third-round draft pick Nakobe Dean. He’s seen a lot of Dean’s film and how he flies around the ball, and Slay thinks the rookie will learn a lot from TJ Edwards and the rest of the LB room.
On the Eagles bringing in A.J. Brown:
“I’m excited. Just to learn from a guy like him. Somebody that — anytime you play football, you watch all the different receivers, just seeing what everybody has in their toolbox, so just him being here, just being able to learn from him.”
Smith was asked what he’s focused on this offseason, and the WR said he’s been working on the little details, like catching through traffic, digging deeper into different parts of the offense, blocking, and route discipline
The DE said that he feels good and is back participating with the team, now it’s all about getting back into game shape. Doing the weight training and running, Graham said he feels like the Achilles injury never happened, but he’ll really see how it goes when football activities start.
He was asked about whether he still expects to be the starter or if his role might change this year, and Graham was quick to say that he’s down for whatever the team needs from him. As for this being the last year on his deal with the Eagles, he just wants to show that he can still play, but he’s excited about the depth that they have.
“I’m 34 [years old] and I still got a lot to prove because I didn’t play last year, but I know my role can change, and I’m cool with that.”
The veteran talked a bit about the incoming rookies, calling Jordan Davis the defensive version of Jordan Mailata in terms of size, and Nakobe Dean someone who can run sideline to sideline. Graham said he’s also excited for TJ Edwards and Kyzer White, and for the guys people aren’t talking about who should have a chip on their shoulder.
Graham spoke about Derek Barnett returning, noting that Barnett didn’t want to leave Philly with the fans thinking he couldn’t play at a high level consistently. So, for him, he felt like he had some unfinished business, which was a factor in him coming back to the Eagles.
As for Fletcher Cox being released and re-signed, Graham acknowledged it’s a business and was likely a money move, but also admitted that he was nervous at first. He and Cox have played together for so long, and he’s just thankful they have another year together.