PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Football begins and ends in the trenches. A solid defensive line and a solid offensive line will hide a lot of problems in other areas. As the 2012 Eagles failed their way to a 2012 record, injuries along the offensive line made winning those battles almost impossible.
Jason Peters has returned from two torn Achilles tendons, and center Jason Kelce, who tore his MCL in the second week of the season, will be back as well.
“Oh yes, I am completely ready to play. I’ve been feeling, pretty much, back to normal since that last mini-camp there during the off-season,” Kelce told Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show on Monday. “The strength—I can squat, dead-lift, do everything in the weight room just like I was able to do before. Obviously I haven’t put pads on or anything, and that’s one of the things I’m excited to do, to put those pads on and to make sure this knee feels a hundred percent once I’m hitting and blocking and doing everything that an offensive line player has to do in the NFL.”
Veteran players aren’t usually big fans of training camp, but this one is different for Kelce.
“This is one of the few ones that I’ve actually been very excited for the last couple weeks. I think the new coaching change and everything that has been installed and what not. It’s exciting times going down in the Eagles NovaCare facilities,” Kelce said. “Training camp, physically and mentally, is going to be weary. Obviously in a couple of week if you ask me this question I might be a little bit less excited, but you know, I haven’t played football in close to a year now. For me personally, and I think for lots of guys, with the coaching change and everything else, everyone seems really actually upbeat and excited for this training camp to get underway.”
For the first time in a long time, there will be someone new running the practices at training camp. Gone is longtime coach Andy Reid, and here is first time NFL head coach Chip Kelly. The new coach is a lot of the reason for the excitement at camp.
“[Kelly is] very energetic. He’s almost got a youthful sense to him. I know he’s not that young, but that’s kind of the way he carries himself on the practice field and in the building,” Kelce said. “He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he’s definitely a guy that’s going to motivate you every single day and be upbeat. You like playing for guys that emotionally can kind of pick you up sometimes, when you don’t really feel like being out there. Other than that, I’m sure you heard it from other guys, it’s really cool having this new, innovative, fresh way of doing things that for me, I’ve never experienced in sports before, in a lot of the training techniques and a lot of the different things they plan to do to keep us fresh and to keep us ready to go for the season, so that when games come we’re at the top level we can be.”
“Basically, I think it comes down to, for me, myself—I was a very young guy with Andy [Reid] and Andy had been here for so long. He had been here for what, 12, 13 years when I was drafted. He had that very stoic look to him, was a very intense guy, and I was almost kind of afraid to show any type of emotion around him. I kind of felt like I just want to impress this guy. It was kind of like he had that authority figure on me. Where now, Chip [Kelly] is coming in and there is a huge change and it is easier for me to by myself around him quicker, and I think part of that is because I’m an older player now and part of that is because might just be Chip’s personality.”