Philadelphia Eagles News

Spadaro: What's the vibe in the locker room as Sunday approaches? 

Fletcher Cox
Fletcher Cox

The NFC East portion of the schedule opens on Sunday when Washington comes to town and the Eagles will be ready for a team that won at Lincoln Financial Field last season. It's been a short week, so what is happening in the locker room? It is time for the weekly check-in on the vibe ...

Fletcher Cox: Young blood fueling defensive tackle room

Veteran Fletcher Cox ranks second among NFL defensive tackles with five quarterback hits and has played some outstanding football in the opening three wins, taking 68 percent of the defensive snaps. He feels great. There is more to come.

"I think it's the young bucks making me feel young," he said. "Being around the guys – I'm the oldest guy in the room (32 years old), besides Coach Rock (Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker), I think the next-oldest guy is 26 (actually 27, Kentavius Street) – I feel their young presence and energy and honestly that's kind of what I've been feeding off of.

"It's been really fun and we talk about it a lot."

The Eagles used first-round draft picks in each of the last two springs on defensive tackles – Jordan Davis in 2021, Jalen Carter in 2022 – and Cox didn't feel threatened in any way. Quite the opposite, actually.

"I've never felt that way. They brought me here as a No. 1 pick and obviously I've been blessed to play here more than a decade," he said. "I don't feel that pressure at all. I know I can play at a high level and they know that also. That's why they brought me back. I just want to help those young guys continue to grow. We're going out there and taking what we've learned in practice to the game. I still think there is so much room to keep growing. The biggest message is let's stop listening to everybody telling us how good we are. Let's make it about us and keep pushing."

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Reed Blankenship: More prime-time excellence

Another interception in a prime-time game against an established NFL quarterback. It wasn't quite the same on Mondy night when Reed Blankenship intercepted Tampa Bay's Baker Mayfield as when Blankenship did it last season against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, but you get the gist: Blankenship got it done again under the lights.

Prime-Time Reed?

"Little bit different," Blankenship said, chuckling. "Still fun, still felt like the first one, but that's what football is all about, having fun at the end of the day."

Blankenship has established himself as a starter in his second season and he's leaps and bounds from where he was as a rookie.

"I feel a lot more comfortable now and being able to communicate and be a vocal guy on the back end has really helped me a lot," Blankenship said. "Having guys around me who have been in the league for years has helped me a lot also. I'm enjoying this and I think we're a good group that is working hard to keep improving. We aren't there yet, but I feel like we're making improvement.

"We've got Washington on Sunday and we know they like to push the ball down the field. It's a tough matchup. They have good playmakers and we know it's a division rival and it's going to be intense."

Haason Reddick: Feeling only positive vibrations

He's getting closer. Haason Reddick can feel it. Right now, he says, "the defensive tackles are eating. We'll get ours outside. That's going to come."

Reddick had hand surgery late in the preseason and just this week had the cast removed. He's feeling great.

"I try to stay positive, you feel me?" Reddick said. "I'm big on vibes and energy and I make sure the negative energy doesn't creep in. Getting out of the cast was a big thing for me, a helluva momentum-and-confidence booster. Now, I can go out there and really be free."

Washington quarterback Sam Howell has been sacked 19 times, including nine in Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Maybe Sunday is Reddick's breakout day? It happened last season against Washington in Week 3 after he went without a sack in the opening two games of the season.

"Once it comes, I'm going to get it rolling," he said. "I'm very positive and excited about what we're doing and it's only a matter of time. What's important is that we're winning games. That's the bottom line."

James Bradberry: Respect for Washington's playmakers

The lineup is a strong one: Washington features wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, a strong group of running backs and a premier pass-catching tight end in Logan Thomas.

Washington struggled in Sunday's loss to Buffalo as quarterback Sam Howell was sacked nine times and threw four interceptions. The Eagles have had a takeaway in each of their three wins, eight overall – good for second in the league.

"We respect them a lot and know how dangerous they are," cornerback James Bradberry said. "But they've also had some turnovers so that's something we'd like to continue, obviously. It changes the complexion of a game and we've seen that here.

"When you're going against someone like McLaurin, you have all the understanding that he can make plays. They all can make plays. They have a good group, and Howell keeps plays alive and if you quit on a play, he's going to make you pay. So we have to be on high alert at all times."

Jack Stoll: Development noted in offense

He may be the most unsung piece in the Eagles' offense: Tight end Jack Stoll has two starts in three games and has played 36 percent of the offensive snaps and he has one reception for 6 yards. In the offense's galaxy of stars, Stoll is not going to get many chances to touch the ball. But he's been important as the team's running game as been so successful – the Eagles are second in the NFL in rushing – and his inclusion in the 12 personnel packages – one running back, two tight ends – has been noted.

"I've been working on being a complete tight end since I got here and I feel that Jalen has a lot of trust in me and that's important to me," Stoll said. "We have a lot of weapons on offense, so I understand that the ball might not come my way a whole lot. I'm ready for whenever it does, and anytime I'm on the field I want to make a contribution as a receiver or as a blocker."

Know your role and be a star in it.

"It's all about helping the team win and, for me, continuing to evolve," said Stoll, in his third season here. "I've worked on my blocking and I'm going to keep growing and building. I'll never be where I want to be. I'm always going to be striving to be more. So, whatever they want me to do, I'm going to be the best I can be at that moment."

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