PHILADELPHIA — It was apparent one thing was incorrect with Jason Kelce.
The Eagles middle had heard all the heightened expectations for this Eagles season, with some pundits suggesting they may go to the Tremendous Bowl.
He had heard Eagles coach Nick Sirianni describe his consolation degree earlier than his second season, or quarterback Jalen Hurts’ consolation degree with being in the identical system with the identical offense for the second yr in a row. It was one thing he hadn’t skilled since enjoying in highschool for his father.
Whereas Kelce acknowledged that every one of this was true, the phrase “consolation” gnawed at Kelce.
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He was a rookie in 2011 when the Eagles went on a free agent spending spree that grew to become notoriously generally known as “The Dream Group.” It was a catastrophe. The Eagles needed to win their final 4 video games that season to complete 8-8.
So the swear phrases began flying when Kelce was requested about Sirianni’s consolation degree in his second season, following a marketing campaign that noticed the Eagles make the playoffs after which add star receiver AJ Brown and reorganized the protection. The Eagles added free brokers in go rusher Haason Reddick, linebacker Kyzir White and cornerback James Bradberry earlier than buying and selling for security Chauncey Garnder-Johnson final week.
Sure, the Eagles are higher. However Kelce did not need to hear it. In any case, Kelce will play Sunday when the Eagles open the season towards the Detroit Lions a month after present process elbow surgical procedure, extending his beginning streak to 123. It is the longest energetic streak for a middle since 2014.
“To be sincere, I do not like consolation,” Kelce mentioned. “I believe consolation is a horrible (expletive) place should you’re on this league. I do know everybody expects us to be Tremendous Bowl champions in Philadelphia proper now, and I believe that may undoubtedly occur. However it will not. Being comfy, I can assure it.
“So I hope (Sirianni) is just not comfy. I hope he’s very uncomfortable.”
Everyone knows Kelce’s good religion as a real Philadelphian. This was evident throughout his well-known Tremendous Bowl parade speech in February 2018, when he dressed up in a Mummer costume and spent his total impassioned speech explaining how everybody was ignored and counted out.
However what about Sirianni? He served as NFL head coach for the primary time final season after spending his earlier stops at Indianapolis and with the Chargers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Each are a far cry from the cauldron Eagles followers create.
Properly, we did not have to attend lengthy. After overcoming a 2-5 begin to qualify for the playoffs final season, Sirianni confirmed he wasn’t able to relaxation on these laurels.
This was evident within the first preseason sport on Aug. 12, when Sirianni yelled throughout the sphere at Jets coach Robert Saleh after considered one of Saleh’s gamers was flagged for a late hit on Hurts whereas that Hurts was working out of limits.
Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett additionally confirmed it a couple of weeks in the past when requested about Sirianni throughout their time collectively in Indianapolis. Sirianni was the offensive coordinator and Brissett was thrust into beginning quarterback when Andrew Luck abruptly retired two weeks earlier than the beginning of the 2019 season.
“I bear in mind one time he was attempting to combat some followers (when) they have been booing us,” Brissett mentioned.
What number of occasions has this occurred? Brissett was then questioned.
“Each sport,” he replied, although he was fast to say he was exaggerating.
However we noticed it too, after a loss to the Chargers final November, when a fan, mocking Sirianni’s flowerpot analogy a couple of weeks earlier, threw flowers on the sphere as Sirianni walked in. within the tunnel.
Sirianni stopped, received out and began on the lookout for the ventilator earlier than being dragged again into the tunnel.
It is the combating spirit that Eagles followers are recognized for. This is the reason there’s a statue of a fictional boxer subsequent to the steps of the artwork museum.
However again to Sirianni and the Flowerpot, who appears the alternative of Rocky Balboa (extra on him in a bit).
Because the Eagles put together to open their 2022 season in Detroit towards the Lions on Sunday, Sirianni was requested when the Eagles final performed the Lions on October 31.
On the time, the Eagles have been in shock. That they had simply been humiliated by the Las Vegas Raiders, shedding 33-22 and falling to 2-5. Sirianni was in his first season as NFL head coach and Jonathan Gannon was in his first season as defensive coordinator.
Each appeared overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, Sirianni confirmed his gamers a photograph of a flower sprouting roots from beneath the bottom to point that the workforce was enhancing regardless that the outcomes won’t be displaying.
Positive sufficient, the Eagles began their playoff sequence 7-3 with a 44-6 win at Detroit. Earlier this week, Sirianni was requested how that sport turned the Eagles’ season, and probably his teaching profession.
“We talked about rising beneath the bottom and fertilizing – I am teasing,” Sirianni mentioned.
On a extra severe notice, Sirianni mentioned, “Tradition is the way you go about your online business each day, and that is additionally a part of the ‘dawg mentality’. You go about your online business each day forgetting what occurred up to now or forgetting what somebody says about you.
“They are saying we stink; cool, we’ll work like we now have to work. They are saying we’re actually good; cool, we’ll work like we’ll work. They are saying we’re common; cool, we’ll work like we’re speculated to work.”
That carries over to Hurts, the quarterback who has confronted extra questions on his future as an Eagles quarterback than passers attempting to sack him.
After all, the Eagles have publicly dedicated to Hurts as a quarterback after finishing simply 61.3% of his passes final season. However Hurts is aware of that is not sufficient, not with Brown added to a receiving corps that features DeVonta Smith and tight finish Dallas Goedert.
So Hurts labored diligently in the course of the offseason with coaches in California and teammates in Texas, Florida and close to Philadelphia. He knew enchancment wasn’t going to occur simply by including Brown.
“I believe it’s important to be comfy with being uncomfortable,” Hurts mentioned. “(Expectations are) simply plenty of rat poison, briefly. These are all exterior elements that we do not need to (fear about) or are usually not concerned with.
“So it is all about pushing your self each day in coaching, doing the little issues that we have to do, maximizing the times and successful the times. To enhance, it’s important to push your self. It brings discomfort .”
That is what Kelce needs to see from his teammates and his head coach. And right here, Kelce was getting labored up once more, with extra swear phrases flying round, nearly serving as a warning of what may go incorrect, like with the so-called “Dream Group” in 2011.
“I believe when expectations are excessive, you are likely to let the little issues slip by,” he mentioned. “When expectations are low, it is like we now have to repair the whole lot proper (expletive) now. In any other case, we get fired. In any other case, persons are going to be on the streets.
“I believe we have sufficient older guys round this constructing…to grasp that expectations are simply that – they’re (expletive) nothing. And by the point you’re feeling comfy on this league, any individual somebody is coming to get you.
“We’ve got to (be like) Mr. T in Rocky III. He is gonna hunt us each week. And we have not received something but (expletive) so we’re not even the champion. So we higher work our asses!”
Little question, Kelce, pities the madman who doesn’t embody this spirit.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This text initially appeared on the Delaware Information Journal: What Jason Kelce’s fire says about the Eagles’ approach to the 2022 season