As George R.R. Martin’s epic series of novels proves, it is not easy to defend the throne.
The Eagles found this out firsthand in 2018, as the pursuit of the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship took a toll on the players.
The time the players usually got to recover from the rigors of a 16-game regular season was taken up by postseason football and the well-deserved championship celebration that followed.
The result was a season where the Eagles were never fully healthy, which ended with second-round exit from the playoffs, albeit in valiant fashion.
Center Jason Kelce did not miss any games due to injury in 2018, but played through a long list of injuries, which he talked about in great detail with the media during the first day of offseason conditioning Monday.
“Definitely had a shorter offseason,” center Jason Kelce told reporters. “Less time to recover from everything from the season. I wish we were still in that same position this year, but I’ll take the extra rest, too.”
The abridged offseason didn’t prevent Zach Ertz from breaking multiple records in 2018, but he echoed Kelce’s sentiment.
“I want to win the Super Bowl every year, but there’s also a little bit of a toll it takes playing an extra three games,” Ertz said. “Having the guys here for the offseason should be huge for us.”
The extra time off allowed Ertz to change his offseason workout regimen, and the results, according to Ertz, have been nothing but positive.
“I really started from scratch this offseason,” he said. “This offseason was probably the best offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the NFL. Last year, really short offseason. This year, I had two full months of training before we had to come back here and really just got back to the basics.”
Make no mistake about it, the Eagles would have preferred another shortened offseason this time around. At the end of the day, that is the goal of all 32 NFL teams. Unfortunately, only two of those teams earn the right to play in February and only one gets to enjoy the magic carpet ride that follows a Super Bowl triumph.
For Kelce and many other Eagles, the time has been spent recharging. For the likes of Ertz, it's been a lot of retooling. This particular offseason provided the Eagles with a needed chance to do both with the hopes of sitting atop the throne once again.