Jason Kelce has not spent much time away from the NovaCare Complex this offseason. The Eagles’ center estimated that the longest stretch he’s gone without stepping foot in the practice facility has been one week.
“I’ve always been a guy that’s around here a lot,” Kelce said earlier this summer. “Part of that is I think we just have great facilities, and I try to make sure that I’m in shape year-round, trying to improve my physical abilities. And obviously for this year, it was really important just to try to hone in on the quad strength in particular to get back to where it was before the injury.”
Kelce is coming off a torn ACL which he sustained in Week 2 of the 2012 season. The third-year player watched from afar as his teammates labored through a disastrous 4-12 campaign.
Now playing for a new coach, Kelce has earned praise from Chip Kelly all offseason for the work he’s put in at the team’s facility. And Kelly knows the O-Line will play a major role in determining how quickly his offense can get on track.
When Chip Kelly hired Jeff Stoutland, he described the 51-year-old as a “cutting‑edge offensive line coach with old school toughness.”
After having spent 27 years in the college ranks, most recently during a two-year stint at Alabama, Stoutland is now making the jump to the pros. And if you think he’s pumped about the opportunity, well, you’d be right.
“I look at every day that I come to this complex, I’m jacked out of my mind,” Stoutland said Thursday morning. “I’m excited. I’m like, ‘What are we going to get done today? How am I going to improve today? What concept are we going to master today?’ “
D.J. Fluker couldn’t stand still.
The Alabama offensive lineman bounced from side to side, talking fast, but providing insightful responses as beads of sweat formed on his forehead.
“I’m always like this,” Fluker said. “I’m the high-energy guy on that team.”
What do you do to relax?
“There’s no time to relax. Every day to me is a work day. I want to be the Ray Lewis of my offensive line.”
Alabama’s offensive line has a strong presence at the NFL Combine. Guard Chance Warmack is unanimously considered a first-round pick. Fluker, who played right tackle last year, but is also getting a look at guard, is considered a first- or second-rounder. And versatile interior lineman Barrett Jones is projected to go off the board in the first round rounds.
All three, of course, were coached by Jeff Stoutland, now the Eagles’ offensive line coach.