In his third season with the Eagles, offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is in a different place on the depth chart for Organized Team Activities. He's taking the reps as the starting left guard, which is not a surprise given the way Wisniewski's play solidified the line after some rocky moments early in 2017, but it is different from his first two years here.
And, yeah, Wisniewski is enjoying the view from atop the depth chart (unofficially, of course).
"It's been nice. It's great working with the first team, working with (center Jason) Kelce and the other veteran guys. I've been enjoying it. Been working hard to get better," he said. "It's nice to come in with the first team, instead of starting at the bottom and working your way up. It's a little easier mindset. I'm still hungry, but it's a better position to be in at this point in the offseason."
For the first five seasons of his NFL career, Wisniewski was a starter in Oakland and then in Jacksonville. He came to Philadelphia, and the Eagles didn't hand him a thing. In fact, the always-changing plan was that Wisniewski would be a swing interior lineman able to back up Kelce at center and both guard positions.
Wisniewski, see, had other ideas. He wasn't content as a backup. And Wisniewski wasn't budging Kelce. Instead, Wiz ended up starting six games at left guard in 2016 and 11 in 2017, along with the three postseason games.
He played well. He made very few mental errors. His physical errors were minimal. Not the biggest guy, Wisniewski excels by using his athletic ability and his leverage and a very high football IQ.
"I just came in and tried to work hard and do the best I could do. It's ended up working out. Since I came into this league, I've tried to make the most out of the talents I've been given and just be the best player I can be," he said. "For the first five years of my career, that worked out, and I ended up being a starter. It was a little rocky there for a little while, but I'm back to where I wanted to be – as a starter. I'm going to work my butt off to make sure it stays that way.
"My mentality was always to be ready whenever that opportunity presented itself, stay positive. You never know when you're going to get that opportunity. You don't want to be sleeping when that opportunity comes. I've been positive, I've trusted God, and I've trusted the process of this business. If you work hard every day, you are going to have good things come. That's how I've always felt."
The approach has paid off for Wisniewski, firmly entrenched, for the first time as an Eagle, as a starter. He's a glue guy on an offensive line that is clearly one of the best in the entire league. Oh, and to top it off, Wisniewski is a Super Bowl champ, and while his focus is on 2018, he's excited about next week's trip to the White House and about soon receiving a championship ring.
Life is good for Stefen Wisniewski.
"Winning the Super Bowl is something that has been incredible. You never really know how awesome the whole experience is going to be until you win it. I've watched the game and the highlights since then, and I've loved every minute of it," he said. "I definitely celebrated winning it all. It was and is special to me and will be forever. Hearing 'Stefen Wisniewski, Super Bowl champion,' is just amazing to me. It still makes me smile when I think about it. But that was four months ago. We're practicing now. We're looking forward. We want to get another one. There is always something else to look forward to in this game.
"Not too many people in the world get to go to the White House and the ring is the symbol of being the best in the world. I'm really looking forward to both of those opportunities. It's going to be fun. But I'm in the locker room every day, and I don't sense too much difference from last year. Maybe our expectations are a little different than they were a year ago. We thought we could be pretty good last year, but we didn't know for sure. When you go through it, you realize just what we're capable of doing. So, we've got a confident team, and we can combine that confidence with a great work ethic and that underdog mentality, we have the recipe for another great year."