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The Eagles’ “Core 4” spoke to reporters on Day 1 of training camp

We had a chance to hear from Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Brandon Graham after their first practice back at the NovaCare Complex.

All four members of the Eagles “Decade Club” spoke to reporters following the first practice of the 2023 training camp: Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Brandon Graham.

Cox said that the four talk about the longevity of the group, and joke about it, but he thinks the goal for all of them is to retire Eagles. Johnson later agreed that none of them want to play anywhere else, and contracts may vary, but the guys choose to stay in Philly because they love the team and the city.

Here’s some of what else they had to say:

Fletcher Cox

This is the 12th year for the defensive tackle, and in addition to enjoying the camp experience, Cox mentioned the priority he places on embracing it. He’s working with a new DC this year, Sean Desai, and said the biggest things are learning new terminology and knowing what the expectations are.

Speaking of expectations, Cox was asked about Jalen Carter, and the veteran said he’s been in that position and there are expectations, but the biggest thing is to get to work and learn the defense and learn how to practice like a pro,

“Overall, he’s gonna be a really good player for us.”

Cox said he feels good heading into camp, and explained that as he’s gotten older, and with a short offseason, he learned to importance of rest. He was training the whole time, but it was a gradual build up to coming back.

He also talked about Jordan Davis and admitted that the rookie getting hurt as he was ramping up his play, definitely affected him, but Cox likes what he’s seen from Davis this offseason and expects him to make a big jump in Year 2. To miss the weeks that Davis did mid-season, he had to get back into the groove of things, but now he’s healthy and flying around. Cox later said that Davis had quality reps on Day 1 of camp, he camp back with great conditioning and his weight was great.

Lane Johnson

On Cam Jurgens

“He looked good. He came into camp strong, weights up a little bit, and he was crisp today. Obviously, it’s the first day, but he came off the ball well, ran great angles, and played well today.”

Johnson went on to say that Jurgens will still have all of training camp to adjust to playing at guard, but the year two OL had some experience in the spring and has Jason Kelce and coach Jeff Stoutland to help him along.

“He’s a tremendous athlete, so that helps a lot in the learning curve.”

On his health

Johnson said that he feels awesome coming into camp. He’s glad that he got his surgery early in the offseason — on both groins — and after the initial weeks, he was up and working out, and got cleared a little while later.

The OT also talked about what he learned being able to push through and play with the injury last season, and he commented on never knowing what pressure and adversity can do for someone. Johnson said he knew they had a great team and great people in the building, so for him it was about owing it to those people to play.

Other notables

  • Johnson joked that it felt like 2013 again with Dennis Kelly back in the building, but was quick to note that Kelly is a great guy and someone he’s excited to play with again.
  • The veteran talked about having to prepare mentally coming off a Super Bowl appearance, and knowing that you’re going to get the best of other teams, and have to deal with high expectations. Johnson said that they have to stay focused, drown out the noise, and avoid distractions, and make sure the rest of the team is doing the same thing.
  • He was asked about rookie Nolan Smith, who Johnson said has been doing a great job and is working really hard. Johnson said that Smith has the same kind of positive vibe as Brandon Graham, never has a bad day, and has been doing a good job.

Jason Kelce

The veteran center talked about how exciting it is on Day 1 of camp, getting to see everyone and the progress they’ve made during the offseason, as well as getting a chance to see the rookies live for the first time. He said that Jalen Carter has been moving around, and it’s good because the offensive guards are already talking about doing some things to try and stop him.

The Eagles aren’t starting camp with a long list of injuries and Kelce attributes that to the work the strength and conditioning staff do to help mitigate issues — while acknowledging injuries are bound to happen. He said that the team does as good, if not better, than anybody at prioritizing player health, and balancing that with finding ways to get good meaningful reps and work in.

When asked about different guys, Kelce kept pointing out that it was only Day 1, so he hates to get too much of a first impression — whether that’s with Jalen Carter or Cam Jurgens at guard. The center mentioned that they’ll see more once the pads come on.

Kelce talked a little bit about Brian Johnson and his new as the offensive coordinator. He said that all the coaches do a good job of communicating, but also highlighted that Johnson was in the OL meeting room on Tuesday and that attention to the offensive line is something he sees as a good sign from a coordinator. He explained that so often those guys get wrapped up in the passing game and other parts of the offense that they have no idea what’s going on with the o-line, but to be great, a coordinator needs to know every piece of the puzzle.

Brandon Graham

With a big smile Graham said that Day 1 of camp was a good day, and he’s just trying to help out the younger guys and enjoy being on a good team. Heading into Year 14, feeling good, Graham just wants to serve the team this year and help his teammates. He also noted that the only expectation he has going into the season is to stay healthy and positive, and work toward their goal.

He talked a lot about the young guys, especially guys like Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, who are hungry to learn and ready to work. Graham said it’s their time, it’s time for the young guys to shine, so he wants to do everything he can to elevate their game. He also mentioned that he acts as a positive force for those who may struggle mentally or may have negative thoughts on their performance.

Graham acknowledged that he’s willing to embrace a role similar to last season, with fewer snaps — but still, great production. He said that the goal is always to maximize your role, be ready in case you’re needed to do more, but just embrace whatever is asked of him.

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