I’m back in Philadelphia, and Eagles Camp is finally upon us. I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with this team.
I’m very anxious and antsy for camp to begin. We have a great hardworking team, and that’s what I’m most excited about. I know where we are now is not where we’re going to be at the start of the season. We’re going to get better during training camp, and it’s going to be fun for us, and all of you, to see our team come together.
I want our fans to know that this entire offseason, starting back at the end of December through this past summer, we’ve had a singular focus as a group on getting better, and working whenever we could to make you guys proud.
When we wrapped up our June minicamp in Philadelphia, we were even more dedicated to that mission. We spoke about remembering that we have to continue to work hard, and that even when we’re out of town, we represent the Eagles. That means a commitment to being the best we can be.
That’s the type of mentality that we want to have.
After minicamp ended, I headed down to San Diego for a few weeks to work out with some teammates, and a few other NFL players.
I had already gone down to San Diego to workout with Darren Sproles early in the offseason and loved it there, so I’d always planned to go back down. The timing turned out to be perfect. In addition to Darren training there, we had two other guys on the team that live there: Ryan Mathews and Seyi Ajirotutu. Mark Sanchez had also trained down there before, so when he got word that we were all going to be there, he put together a little “Nest West.”
We had about 12 guys out there in the second week of July, and it was great work. Mark put on a hard-working week for the guys, and it was intense. We got after it hard, and I think all the guys got better.
Training camp starts a little later this year than it did in my first two seasons, so it gave all of us an extra week to prepare our bodies, and get in the best shape that we can to be 100 percent healthy going into camp. That’s every player’s goal, to be in the best shape you have ever been in, and it rings true especially for us with the Eagles. Everyone has to be in great shape to run our offense throughout training camp and into the season.
That’s why a lot of guys came down to San Diego to train with Todd Durkin. With Todd, we pretty much train with the same intensity that we practice at during training camp. So it’s an unbelievable way to get in the best shape you can be.
During that week, we hit the weight room three times — Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then we were on the field three times — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The field stuff was pretty much just running routes and things like that. We had two quarterbacks with Mark and Matt Barkley, and they were throwing the heck out of the ball. We were able to get a ton of route work in.
I was kind of the vet of the receiving group, so I was able to help guys out a little bit, and teach them some of the things that I know. We had Andrew Gleichert, a tight end that we signed after the draft from Michigan State; Rasheed Bailey, a Philly guy out of Delaware Valley; and Quron Pratt, who was on our practice squad last year. So it was cool for me to be able to work with them and help them.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of help in my career from different guys. Brent Celek has done an unbelievable job of helping me out. So I want to help the younger guys any way I can. I let them know early on that if they had a question about a route or a technique, they could always come to me and ask. We have a lot of guys like that on our team, selfless guys who only care about winning. And we know that if we can make another person better, that’s going to make the team better.
STAYING IN SAN DIEGO
Most of the guys left after that week to go finish up their own training, but I stayed in San Diego for about two more weeks working out with Todd, Darren and a handful of other NFL players. We spent those last couple weeks working hard, and grinding together to get ready for the season.
One of the cooler things we got to do, which Todd organized, was take a trip to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and hang out with the Marines there for the day. They actually have a Marine Corps football team at that base, so all those guys were out there. We threw a little bit with them and did drills. We each worked with guys that played similar positions, and showed them some of our techniques. Todd and his crew do that every year, but this was my first year with them, so I really enjoyed the experience.
Anytime we have the opportunity to perform in front of members of the Armed Forces, we want to take full advantage of that opportunity, and I take pride in doing so. I have such a high level of respect for everything that they do. Everything great that we have in this country, we get to enjoy because of the sacrifices they’ve made. So I’m really glad Todd organized that, and I got to be a part of it.
I also loved training with Todd, or TD as we call him. He is committed to everything he does, but especially to his family, and he treats the guys who work out at his gym as family. I think that goes a long way toward why people love training there. It’s a great environment that allows us to get better.
Everything that we did while we were out there is relatable to how we practice and how we play with the Philadelphia Eagles. Everything is tempo-based and it’s up-tempo, so I’m able to get in the best shape possible. It’s a lot of fun going out there and training with elite guys like, Darren, Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks. I took it as an opportunity to pick up any knowledge I could from those guys.
Darren has been training there since he was a rookie with the Chargers. He still has a house there, so every offseason he goes back. Last season, we were kind of joking around about the shape he’s in, and I said, “Hey, I’m going to come down and train with you.” But then it turned into something we actually did. I went down for about three weeks around early March, and I loved it. It was a short period of time, but I definitely got better. So when we were wrapping up the program, I expressed that I wanted to come back and do more in the summer, because I knew the summer would set me up well for the season. So that was the impetus for me to go back down there, to work on some blocking stuff again, and just get in the best shape I could.
It’s been really great working with Darren. The guy works his butt off each and every day. He brings it, and even at 32 years old, established in this league as an excellent player, he comes in with the mentality of a rookie fourth-round draft pick with something to prove. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder, and he’s going to outwork everyone. He’s been huge as a mentor for me this offseason.
I honestly believe, coming out of that whole experience, that I’m in the best shape of my life. Training with Darren and some of my fellow Eagles teammates for that week allowed us to build even more camaraderie. I feel like I’m heading into training camp exactly the way I need to.
As we get closer and closer to training camp, I’ve really been feeling that itch, because I can’t wait to get out there on the practice field with the guys.
That’s why these last few days as camp approaches have been the hardest ones for me.
With this seven-month grind from August to February we have coming up, this last week has been really low volume, and pretty much a recovery week. We’re supposed to take it slow this week, because it’s essential for us to rest our bodies to get ready. But it’s made even tougher because we’re the last team to report, and we’re seeing all these other teams already practicing. I badly want to get out there too. That itch is building up inside to get on the field to try to get better as a team and win football games.
I’m beyond excited for training camp to start. I’m honestly ecstatic. We’ve trained the past six months to get to training camp and into the season. I think I can speak for my teammates when I say this is going to be a fun year, and we’re really excited for it.
We hope you are, too.