Let the games begin!
Eagles football games are finally back. For the first time since New Year's Day, when the Eagles beat the Washington Redskins to close out the 2011 season, the Eagles will be able to hit, or try to avoid getting hit by, a player not wearing Eagles' green.
For many NFL veterans, the primary preseason goal of staying healthy can override some of the joy and excitement that comes along with the start of the games. But for the rookies, they are just excited to get out there and show what they can do.
"I'm really excited," quarterback Nick Foles said. "We've been going against our defense. We've been really competitive out at practice and it's been fun, but I can't wait to go out there and play against another team and just see what our team is about."
Playing in the NFL has been a dream for many of these rookies, but for defensive end Vinny Curry, growing up an Eagles fan in Neptune, N.J., playing for the Eagles in particular was his dream.
"Words can't explain," Curry said. "Words can't explain how it's going to be. After the game, I'll let you know."
These rookies will have to get over any nervous energy and excitement and focus on the job at hand.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks is "not trying to think too much."
"I'm just trying to go out there and do my thing, really," Kendricks said. "(There is) no extra stress, just excited to get back to actually playing. We've been practicing so hard and so long, it's going to be fun to see what our hard work has done and how it's going to pay off."
The rookies will have to prove to the coaches that all of the work that they have put in during Training Camp and throughout the offseason has paid off.
"I think the big thing is just showing we're improving, we're working," Foles said. "Coach wants to do everything perfect. We're working hard, and I just want to go out there and play. All you can really go out there and do is execute, and that's the goal, one play at a time."
Running back Bryce Brown thinks that the coaches will be looking for "everything."
"(They are looking for) everything that they talk about, everything that they have been preaching in practices," Brown said. "They're seeing if we're applying everything that they've been talking to us about and applying it on the field."
This game is a welcome distraction for the team's first-round pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. After dealing with the passing of his cousin, Cox knows that football will take his mind off his grief.
"I'm real excited to get back out on the field, and get back going," Cox said. "Football will get my mind off a lot of things that are going on right now."
Although the rookies have had a taste of what playing in front of the Philadelphia fans is like with a few thousand fans at a time showing up for practices at Lehigh University, playing in front of tens of thousands of Eagles fans during Thursday night's game will be a brand new experience.
"I know they're excited," Kendricks said. "They come to practice all the time. I can only imagine what the game is going to be like."
Some of the fans, as is the case for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, will include family members and friends, traveling all the way from Chicago.
"It'll be good for them to see me in an Eagles jersey," Kelly said. "It's a very exciting moment. The last two weeks have been very rough and very hard, but this is why you do it. You get to play in an NFL stadium."
It's a chance for these rookies to play in a NFL stadium. It's a chance to make a dream a reality, and it all starts Thursday
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