At some point when he was a younger man in his college days at Auburn, Jack Driscoll – an academic through and through – came across a quote that struck a chord and has stayed with him throughout. The quote came from Andy Grove, an author who specializes in high management output. A motivational guy, to break it down. The quote jumped out at Driscoll immediately.
"Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive."
That kind of mentality has helped Driscoll in his life and through a football career that started collegiately at the University of Massachusetts and then Auburn and now in the NFL with the Eagles. A second-year offensive lineman, Driscoll is no stranger to being thrown in the deep end. He hasn't had a minute to be complacent.
"In the NFL, no one cares what you did last week. No one cares what you did yesterday. My dad (John, who played college football at New Hampshire and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1988) always told me growing up, 'You're only as good as your last play,' so I grew up always looking ahead. I always have had a sense of urgency. That quote has always stuck with me. It's how I approach every day," Driscoll said on Thursday, following practice at the NovaCare Complex. "Every morning I start the same way – I look to see that my locker is still there. I see it and I think, 'I did something good enough yesterday that I'm still here today. What can I do today that I will still be here tomorrow?' I just feel that if I approach everything I do that way that I'll at least be in a position to succeed."
Driscoll has found the happy medium about paranoia in that he isn't tense and he isn't scared. Instead, he keeps his edge to achieve more and when he's on the football field, he says, he likes to "cut it loose and have fun." The mentality has served him well. A fourth-round draft pick in 2020, Driscoll started the opening game at Washington – at right tackle – and ended up playing 11 games, with four starts. He's versatile enough to play both tackle and guard spots.
That versatility and that drive and the mental acuity to stay calm, cool, and collected no matter the circumstances have served him very well.
"I always try to keep a level head, no matter what sport from a young age, no matter what the situation is," Driscoll said. "Just learn from it. As you've seen in the NFL, you can be thrown into any situation. I don't want to let the team down and have my level of play negatively impact the team. It's up to me to rise to the occasion."
When the Eagles played Kansas City last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, Driscoll woke up thinking he would make his season debut at right guard, where he had practiced all week after coming off the Injured Reserve list following a late-preseason injury he incurred. When the Eagles announced their inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff, Lane Johnson was a surprise inclusion. At about the exact same time, Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland had a tap on the shoulder and a brief bit of news for Driscoll to absorb.
"It was about an hour and a half before the game and Stout told me the news, and it was kind of just like, 'Screw it.' I don't have time to be nervous," Driscoll recalled. "I don't have time to overthink it. I'm just going to go out there and execute my technique and have fun. I had taken a lot of reps at right tackle here and I played right tackle in college and so that helped. It wasn't like they were asking me to play center, where I haven't played in a long time. I was playing next to Nate Herbig, who I've played next to a lot and there was a level of comfort in that. I went out there with the mentality that I wasn't going to let the team down. I was going to play as hard as I can and whatever happens, happens. I didn't want people to turn on the tape and say, 'He's not playing hard.' That's one thing that I try to pride myself on: Playing hard, playing to the whistle, and playing to the City of Philadelphia."
For just a few minutes during that 90-minute window before kickoff, Driscoll spent some time with Connor Barwin, who works with the coaching staff and the personnel department with one of his duties breaking down pass rushers, and Barwin shared some "Connor Notes" on the Chiefs' front seven and what each player liked to do. It was a cram session in a big way, and it helped Driscoll go out and have a terrific game at right tackle, part of a strong game from the offensive line overall.
"I didn't play good enough for us to win, because that's the most important thing, and you always have to look at yourself in the mirror," he said. "There were some things I did well, but there were definitely some things I need to clean up. It's going to be more important moving forward I continue to grow and improve my game."
There is still a lot of uncertainty about the offensive line with Carolina up next on Sunday in Charlotte. Driscoll is preparing to play, even if he isn't quite sure where he's going to play.
"Hey, I might be playing receiver or something. Who knows?" Driscoll said, laughing.
That's not going to happen, but Driscoll is pretty much ready for anything. It's the way he was raised and it's the reason he's on the way to making good things happen on the field with the Eagles.