Shortly after he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Eagles, fullback Leonard Weaver sat down with running backs coach Ted Williams and made a request. He asked Williams to go through the games in which Weaver thought he played poorly last season in Seattle. It was a self-analysis sort of thing, a way for Weaver to concentrate on the little things as he worked his way into the Eagles offense.
And as the Eagles reach the final week of their post-draft practices, Weaver is wowing everybody at fullback. It remains to be seen how much the Eagles are actually going to feature the fullback and put the football in Weaver's hands, but he has put on a convincing show at the practices that he deserves strong consideration.
"I'm definitely moving well. I'm moving good, in great shape," said Weaver. "Right now, it's about the little things -- getting low in my blocks, catching the ball with my hands in the right position. I think I've got the grasp of the offense, but I still have some things to get down. I'm not in a 'man' blocking scheme; it's a 'zone' blocking scheme here. I'm going to get better and better. I'm very excited to be here.
"Sitting down with Coach Williams was a big benefit to me. I want to evaluate the prior season, so I wanted to get an opinion from a coach who has had Pro Bowl backs here, who knows the value of a fullback and what I can bring to the table. I wanted him to be tough on me. I wanted him to be honest and he gave me an honest evaluation. I appreciated that. It has made a difference for me, allowed me to focus on the things I needed to improve on.
"There were some key downs last year that I didn't make the catch I felt I should make. There were some blocks where I didn't feel I rolled my hips as much as I needed. Just those technical things. I'm always on my guy, but it was the little things like moving my feet when I was exhausted. When you're exhausted and you don't move your feet, that's when you get hurt. My goal is to maintain and get better one year to the next."
And so Weaver is here, the first true fullback in seasons the Eagles have had. He is a live-life-to-the-fullest man, a breath of joy to be around, someone who appreciates the position he is fortunate to be in right now. The Eagles are a good football team, and Weaver knows it. He was in Seattle for some mighty good seasons, and he knows the feeling.
Gotta keep it moving in the right direction.
"Everybody feels it. How can you not?" said Weaver. "They went out and brought in a new offensive line. Donovan (McNabb) has weapons all around. The wide receivers are young, but they are so talented. Everybody is challenging each other in practice, so it's a very competitive situation. You have that and you have a good football team."
Weaver is here on a trial basis, of sorts. He signed a one-year contract after a slow few weeks in free agency. The market just wasn't there for Weaver, surprisingly so after his shining moments in Seattle.
But maybe that is a good thing. Weaver has little time to assimilate into this scheme. He has to play well from the start and build on his success every week.
"This is a great situation for me. The fans here, man, they push you. They are so into the Eagles. I was out the other night and people recognized me and came up to me and wished me good luck. It is a great feeling," said Weaver. "I know they are hungry. So are we. We're going to feed off of their passion."
On Thursday, the practices end until training camp begins. Weaver isn't one of those players who takes the days off, though. He is going to get his rest, sure, but Weaver knows that in the big picture he has a lot to show the league. Why didn't anybody want him in free agency, or at least want him enough to make an early pitch? The goal is to be the best, to win the Super Bowl, to make sure the Eagles know they made the right decision to sign him.
"I love it here," he said. "All this enthusiasm here, it's contagious. I'm feeling it every day."