Jason Kelce has been through it all in his decade-plus with the Philadelphia Eagles. From the “Dream Team’ disaster of 2011 to the Super Bowl title in 2017, Kelce has seen the highs and lows of playing in a football-crazed town like Philadelphia.
The Eagles made a surprising playoff trip last season and added talented players in A.J. Brown, Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean to the roster. Jalen Hurts is going into his second season as the full-time starting quarterback with heightened expectations after an improving year one with Nick Sirianni (who’s entering his second season as head coach).
There’s a reason for the city to be excited with their football team. Kelce knows the Eagles are talented too — yet he’s been on hyped Eagles teams in the past that failed to live up to expectations. His message to the 2022 Eagles was loud and clear.
“In this city it feel like every year the media thinks we’re really good, we end up being s—ty — and every year the media thinks we are going to be s—ty, we end up being really good,” Kelce said. “I prefer not to listen to what everybody thinks we look like on paper. The only way we’re going to be any good this season is if come out here and we work and everybody comes out with the mentality to get better.
“That’s each and every one of us.”
Kelce’s experience will prove wise for an Eagles team that wants to compete for an NFC East title and showcase they can contend in the conference. The Eagles have experienced Super Bowl hype throughout Kelce’s tenure with the franchise — only to not even come close towards that goal. The year Philadelphia won the Super Bowl, few picked them to even reach the postseason.
Then there was 2015, when the Eagles were going to enhance Chip Kelly’s vision and take over the league.
Philadelphia controls its own destiny for the 2022 season, which is the message Kelce is preaching. No social media clout will determine how they’ll perform on fall Sundays.
“I think we have a lot of talent,” Kelce said. “I think we have a great offensive line with great skill position players. I think we have a quarterback that is continuing to improve and was a great player last year and will be a great player this year. We have to get better right now, that’s all I know.”
Sirianni has relayed the same message to his team this week, as the Eagles prepare for what’s ahead in the coming months. There’s a target on the Eagles’ back and the city is starving for a winning football team again. The Eagles want to live up to those expectations and give the city something to be proud of.
“Our standard was high. I know the city’s standard was high. And so that’s not new,” Sirianni said. “My message to them was very clear…When you are trying to climb a mountain, you don’t look at the top of the mountain and say — you might initially, but you don’t look at the top of the mountain every single day and say, ‘I have to climb that.’
“You look to the part of the mountain you have to climb that day and you focus on that. That’s what training camp is about, you focus on the daily deposits… All the expectations are great, everything there, but it’s day by day. It’s what are we going to do today to be ready to have a good pre-season game number one, and so on and so forth.
“So daily deposits, and that doesn’t matter — if you live in that world, then it doesn’t matter if you’re an underdog, your expectations are high. You’re just working on how you get better every day. That’s all we’re focused on.”