One of the players under a close microscope this off-season is linebacker Moise Fokou. A seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Fokou emerged as a pleasant surprise in his rookie season with the Eagles, earning a place on the 53-man roster on the heels of an impressive training camp, making plays on special teams, and then forcing his way into the starting lineup as the first-string strongside linebacker by season's end.
It's widely-held NFL canon that the biggest improvement a player makes during his NFL career is between his rookie year and his second year. That's good news for Fokou, who still has to make strides if he is to stake permanent claim to the strongside in 2010.
"Oh definitely, it's very important," Fokou said, when asked about the importance of the off-season ahead. "It's vital to my success. I got my first year underneath my belt; a lot of things were going through my head. This year I can definitely kind of calm down, compose myself and pretty much just try to learn the playbook as best as I can and go out there and let my natural ability show."
Last year at this time, Fokou was fighting for attention as a prospective NFL prospect. He worked hard enough to earn his spot in the league, but he says a full off-season will help him mentally as well as physically.
"Coming in last year, I was preparing for the combine, just trying to get into the NFL," Fokou said. "Now that I'm here and I'm on a tea and I can get my feet settled, it's definitely going to help."
When asked what areas specifically he needs to improve, Fokou replied that there's no one area above improvement, he's looking to up his game across the board.
After a brief time back home in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area where he spend time with family and friends while working out on his own, Fokou returned to the NovaCare Complex Monday and was thrilled to see his teammates again.
"It's always a good feeling," he said, likening the reunion to the first day of school. "You see your old classmates, your old teammates back, and you have that camaraderie you guys have. Especially with a bunch of good guys like you have here with the Eagles."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:01 a.m., March 16