PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It just feels a little bit different.
Heading into the 2017 season, there’s some extra excitement surrounding the Eagles — who have added established offensive weapons like Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, and Torrey Smith — for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz.
Third-year linebacker and defensive leader Jordan Hicks agrees. There’s a buzz in the air.
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“I think there’s a little bit more excitement,” Hicks admitted on Friday’s 94WIP Morning Show. “Out there on the field, it’s second year in the scheme, I think there’s just a lot of building of what we’ve done already and who we are already. We’ve built a little identity in trying to increase that identity and move forward, but I think the buzz and the excitement is just a little bit different than it has been in the past couple of years.”
Hicks, 24, was the Eagles’ third-round pick in 2015. Last season, Hicks recorded five interceptions and one fumble recovery in his first full campaign.
He believes first-round pick Derek Barnett will help the defense right away.
“I’ll tell you what, his motor is off the chains,” Hick said of Barnett. “He is a fast, get off the ball, strong, physical, really rangey type of d-end. Guy who reminds me a lot of a guy like BG [Brandon Graham]. Short stocky and can get off the ball really.”
The NFC East is one of the toughest divisions in football, but the expectations for the Eagles in 2017 are sky high.