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Spadaro: Saquon Barkley 'feels like a rookie again' at Eagles OTAs

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley

These are building-block moments, days to lay the foundation for the 2024 Eagles season, but there is a certain level of excitement now that we've had an opportunity to see No. 26 on the field in an Eagles uniform.

Saquon Barkley, of course, is No. 26 and looked natural at the first of the team's Organized Team Activities open to the media on Wednesday. He took handoffs and caught passes from quarterback Jalen Hurts and you suddenly realize the kind of impact he could have on the Eagles' offense this season.

Barkley feels it, too. He lines up in the huddle and he sees it.

"Biggest thing that struck me is my first 7-on-7 huddle you see A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Jalen Hurts. It's not a bad group to be out there with," Barkley said. "That's not even including the offensive linemen.

"We're all just coming in, buying in, trying to learn the playbook, learning the system, trying to get better each day. You know there is a lot of talent, a lot of talent before I got here. I feel I can only add to that. At the same time, you can't look too far. That's the beauty of it. That's the beauty of coming in every single day, working with each other, pushing each other."

Barkley says he "feels like a rookie again," and so the fresh start is clearly agreeing with him and his presence is no doubt a jolt of energy for the locker room. This is the time for the players to absorb and understand the new systems put in place by Head Coach Nick Sirianni, Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, and Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. Practices last for about an hour, and a lot of work is done prior and post in the classroom.

For veterans like Barkley, the post-practice routine usually consists of hanging out with his teammates, whether it's grabbing a bite to eat or playing golf. Relationships are being formed one step at a time, one tee shot at a time.

The fit looks tight.

"I'm excited to be here with this team," Barkley said. "I feel like we can do something special. That's a ways, ways away, so just continue to come in one day at a time and try to get better."

The Eagles continue their OTAs next week and then have a mandatory minicamp from June 4-6 before the team breaks and the players and coaches go their separate ways. A lot can be accomplished between now and then. An offense is being constructed as Sirianni, Moore, and the rest of the staff learn about Barkley and the running back learns more about his offense.

Building blocks.

"Take it day by day," Barkley said. "Put the work in and get ready for the season and that's how it works. The more you work now, the more it's going to pay off later. That's the culture here. Competitive. We're all trying to make each other better."

Rookies meet the veterans. Veterans meet the rookies. Find out what happened as the rookies are now fully assimilated into the team's offseason program.

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