Last week, we walked around the Eagles’ locker room and approached players with the following request:
Give me one teammate who’s impressed you this summer and is primed for a big year.
Several players didn’t want to get specific, but others provided responses. Below is what they said.
Jason Kelce: “I think Cedric Thornton has really come on well the past couple years. He continues to improve. He’s a very strong player. I would expect him to have a pretty good year for our defensive line. He’s always been a good player, but he’s starting to hone in a lot of other areas of his game. That experience level’s there now where he played a lot last year for us. So I would expect him to have a very good, solid year.”
“Offensively… I think Damaris [Johnson] has had a really good preseason and really good camp so far. And he’s just such a dynamic player in this offense. He could excel.”
Michael Vick: “Zach Ertz. The reason I say that is he’s fighting something right now. And once he gets that corrected, it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
What’s he fighting?
Brandon Graham: “I’d say Damaris Johnson. On special teams, that boy is nice. Somebody that comes to work every day. That’s somebody I see having a real big year, especially on special teams.”
Fletcher Cox: “I mean, I’ll just go to a lot of players. Lane Johnson has been good. He’s progressed since Day One.”
Has he surprised you?
“I’m not surprised. He got drafted in the first round for a reason. He’s progressed since Day One and going against him, some of the things that he used to do, he don’t do anymore, you can tell.”
“Bennie Logan, he’s a guy that’s gonna have a pretty good season as long as he stays focused and just stays on task with everything that we’re doing.”
Todd Herremans: “I think Mychal Kendricks is gonna have a big season. I think that he’s had a really good camp. Last year, I think that picking up a new defense, even though this defense is new to him, I think he just feels more comfortable as an NFL player. He’s able to just play football, rather than think a whole lot. So I think he’s gonna have a really big season.”
Jason Avant: “I think DeSean [Jackson] will be ready for a big season this year just because the attitude, the approach he’s taken this year. I’d be surprised if he didn’t, barring any injuries or anything like that. I’m pretty sure he’ll be good.”
“I think Brandon Boykin will play a lot better. I think he’s getting better at it, learning how to play the nickel position, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Kurt Coleman: “I think Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. I think they’ve had one of the hardest transitions out of anybody, gonna go from defensive end to outside linebacker. The greatest thing that they do bring, when they are able to rush, they are phenomenal at pass-rushes, and it gives them more angles from the depth that they come from at the outside linebacker position. It’s so new for them to be in pass coverage. And I think that they’ve done a great job transitioning and really understanding the fits as far as when they’re dropping. But when they come on rush, it’s deadly. And I’ve seen it show up a lot of times on film. They’re ready to get some sacks and create some havoc, so I’m excited for them to really just show up and to really have a great year.”
Mychal Kendricks: “With the way our offense is, I think our core guys, LeSean [McCoy], DeSean [Jackson], [Brent] Celek, our new guys. I feel like the potential is endless with this offense that we’ve got and I’m excited to see what they can do and what’s gonna happen.”
Bryce Brown: “I think Cedric Thornton has really impressed me, a guy who kind of emerged late, but he’s really, really improved his game from last year to this year, and he’s looked impressive. He’s running with the ones. He’s doing a great job. It’s just fun to watch him play. I really like the way he’s doing things.”
Lane Johnson: “Really, all of our guys up front. With [Jason] Kelce back, he’s really good at communicating what to do. …He’s not indecisive and he says what he means. When you communicate well, it makes the job easier for tackles and guards.”
“Evan Mathis had a great season last year. He pushes me a lot. I trained with him there in Arizona. Just training with him in the weight room and on the field, we compete a lot.”
Zach Ertz: “Jason Avant. He’s been a pro’s pro to me, especially, showing me a lot of the ropes, and he’s been doing really well in practice and in the games so far. So that’d be my guy.”
“His skill set, he can do a lot of things from that slot position, he’s very versatile, he can play inside or outside. So I expect a big year from him.”
Chris Polk: “It’s hard to give one name… but I would say LeSean [McCoy], Mike Vick, Mychal Kendricks, Connor [Barwin], [Patrick] Chung, Cary [Williams]. There’s a lot of great athletes.”
What have you noticed about McCoy?
“He’s just hungry. He’s hungrier this year. The year that we put out as a team wasn’t too good and that’s not the note you want to end up on. He’s just working really hard. He’s trying to get back to that level.”
Vinny Curry: “[Jason] Kelce. Just to see him bounce back from getting hurt. He’s dominating so far, coming in with a new system. He still does his thing, controls the offensive line, controls everything and you just feel like he never missed a beat.”
Jake Knott: “Probably DeMeco Ryans. The way he handles himself all the time, the way he goes about his daily business and all that, it’s been impressive to me. So I think that’s gonna lead to great things happening for him.”
Earl Wolff: “Patrick Chung’s gonna be good for us. I like his aggressiveness. I just like the way he plays the game.”
Tim McManus contributed to this report.
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