On the offseason acquisition of S
On what it is like for him this year as opposed to last year in terms of grasping the defense: "I have a much better base going into the season. Going into camps and OTAs meant a lot to me, helped me a lot. I was able to learn the system, learn the playbook and was able to go out there in OTAs and just have fun and play fast."
On whether not being able to play without thinking was what held him back last season: "Yeah, hesitation. When you're too hesitant or uncertain, you're not able to play as fast as you want."
On whether he has eliminated the hesitation entirely: "I mean, you'll never eliminate mental errors. You just continue to work through them and continue to keep studying. Continue to keep studying and playing the game in your mind."
On the dynamic in the position group with the addition of Atogwe: "He's still a veteran. As much as he's learning the playbook, he's still helping me out, teaching me how to become a pro and what to do, what to look for when I'm out at practice, even during walkthrough."
On his impression of Atogwe thus far: "He's a great person. Always working with a smile, always asking how I'm doing. I like O.J.. He's a good person."
On whether he feels any pressure going into his second season: "There's always pressure. If you're not feeling pressure, then something's not right. So you've always got to deal with pressure and with the mentality to get better and continue to get better every day."
On the rookie class and how they will fit in on defense: "We had a real good draft. Good DBs; we got a good receiver, all the way around. So they'll help out a lot."
On whether the team believes that they have Super Bowl potential: "I think we've got to prove it on the field. We were picked last year too, so if you don't got out there and perform and we don't make it, you look stupid."
On the fan turnout for the morning walkout: "It shows how much of a die-hard (fan base) these Eagles fans are, just to see us walk through. I expect to see more fans out here this afternoon. It's going to be fun, a fun camp."
On whether he is looking forward to getting into pads and hitting tomorrow: "I haven't tackled anybody since January 1st, so it'll feel good to get out there and knock the rust off and go full speed."
On the mood around camp: "It's early going. We haven't put on the pads yet, but the team's here. We're excited. I think everybody just understands what our mission is and there's not much to really talk about. We're going out here, working in the dead heat and enjoying it."
On the offseason addition of S Oshiomogho Atogwe: "Obviously, it brings in another great player, which every team needs. You need a group of 53 guys that are willing to do whatever it takes and O.J.'s a vet; smart. He and I have talked a lot so it's a great addition to our safety group, let alone our team. So, we're only going to be better with him."
On the interesting dynamic of a veteran addition like Atogwe mentoring players while also learning the playbook: "Like you said, he is a vet. He understands the system and he understands the NFL. The game doesn't change and I think he's smart enough to pick up this defensive playbook because we're taking it basic by basic, day by day. Any questions he's had, he's come to Nate (Allen) or I or the coaches, so he's understanding the system. I think what it is now is it's about us pushing each other and making each other be the best players we can when we're out there."
On the excitement around camp without having the stress of the lockout like last season: "It makes a lot difference. We got in early April and it took us a good nine weeks to get back together with our teammates and we build a lot of camaraderie throughout that time. We understood the playbook offensively and defensively and we get a chance to go against each other. Last year, we didn't and we came into training camp kind of off. Everyone's in shape, everyone's focused and has the right attitude."
On what the addition of Atogwe brings out in him: "Everyone's in here to compete, no matter if it's O.J. or Jaiquawn (Jarrett). Everybody's in here to compete, everybody's trying to get the starting spot, bottom line. I've got to go out there and do my job. You know, we're pushing each other and I think that's the great thing about O.J. He's a seasoned vet, he understands the game of football and I've allowed him to ask me questions and vice versa because he knows this game a lot, in and out. He's been on a lot of different teams; he understands the systems of offenses so that's what I can gain from him. Let alone, we need the best players to make this run this year and we want to do the best we can. So whatever it takes, whatever we've got to do, we're going to do it."
On what the team sees in him to anoint him as the starter at the WILL linebacker position: "Somebody that works hard. Somebody that's going to go out and give 110 percent. I understand the defense really well and I'm coachable. So they feel like, regardless of if I know everything or a little, they can coach me to be the best on the field and Juan (Castillo) put that trust in me, (Linebackers Coach Mike) Caldwell, as well as Coach Reid to be a leader on the field."
On his thoughts on the argument that his size will be a disadvantage covering larger receivers: "I think they're just people who don't play the game or didn't. I feel like as long as you want to, you'll get the job done on the field regardless of what size you are, how big or how tall, because you can be exposed regardless of who you are."
On whether he is surprised that the linebacker situation has been in flux: "It's not really a surprise. We know that, every year, they're going to bring in competition. That's why it's the NFL and very few people can do it. But what we're doing is we're just working hard, perfecting our craft individually and as a whole. But we know at the end of camp when it's all said and done, the best guy is going to be on the field."
On his initial thoughts of LB
On whether that is a bold move early in camp: "That's something that we need. Somebody who's been through the fire, somebody who the coaches know that, if he says something, he's been through it. There's no one to really argue it. We'll try it and if it works, we'll do it."
On the training camp schedule and having the full practice in the afternoon: "A lot of guys, we actually like the afternoon practice. We know it's going to be hot; can't do anything about that. But it gives you time to kind of wake up and get your body going, rather than waking up early in the morning. You kind of don't get into it early. You kind of wake up around the third or fourth period of practice. You get all day with the afternoon practice to where your body will go out and do it."