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Old 06-15-2017, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Hicks feels more comfortable in this defense

Stars have finally aligned for Eagles LB Jordan Hicks

Nick FierroBy Nick Fierro•Contact Reporter
Of The Morning Call

A look at why #Eagles LB Jordan Hicks is so excited about this season.

June 14, 2017 |PHILADELPHIA

From the time he arrived at the University of Texas in 2010 to the opening of Eagles mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, the one thing that had been a constant for linebacker Jordan Hicks is change.

If it wasn't an injury he'd have to deal with, it would be a new defensive coordinator. If not a new coordinator, it would be a system change in which he'd be asked to move from inside to outside or vice versa.

And that was before coming to the Eagles as a third-round draft pick in 2015. Since then, he debuted in a 3-4, then worked his way back from a season-ending injury as a rookie to start all 16 games as the middle linebacker in the 4-3 the Eagles switched back to last season.

"In eight years, I've had, what, six different defenses?" Hicks asked The Morning Call after Tuesday's practice, because even he's lost track of them all. "So the majority of time, I've been having to learn a new defense, figure out a different type of communication.

"But this year, I've got Nigel [Bradham] still next to me, I've got Mike [Mychal Kendricks] still next to me, I've got guys I'm used to in the room, I've got the second year under my belt with this defense, and it's just working the little things and not starting back fro, Square 1, it's not starting where you have to rehab all offseason. It's really been a good offseason, so far, where I've had everything align on defense and then everything align health-wise."

Eagles LB Jordan Hicks is excited for 2017 season

Eagles LB Jordan Hicks covers wide range of issues in Tuesday's press conference.

That's an encouraging sign for a player who's learned to take things in stride and is coming off a tremendous season in which he recorded 95 tackles and led all NFL linebackers with five interceptions.

Hicks, in fact, is one of only five LBs in NFL history to get seven or more interceptions in their first two seasons. And keep in mind that he missed eight full games in that span.

Where he goes from here is impossibly to predict, but it's safe to say that Hicks has literally been in the center of a defense that's dominated in every practice that the media has been able to watch since the offseason program began this spring.

"We're taking every rep as a game rep," Hicks said. "So I think the intensity, the focus, the mindset that we've come out with has been off-the-chart awesome."

What makes Hicks so valuable is his coverage ability. He's the best pass-covering linebacker they've had in this millennium and maybe ever. Considering the Eagles are in nickel or dime coverage around 70 percent of the time, it means Hicks is on track to be getting paid at the end of this year, when the Eagles are first allowed by the collective bargaining agreement to approach him about a contract extension.

For now, all Hicks cares about is what the defense can do, and he just shakes his head almost in disbelief when talking about it.

"It's just the mindset of this team," he said. "I think that's why it's so special here. That's just the guys we've got."
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Old 06-15-2017, 05:59 PM   #2
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I foresee a top 5 defense from this group.
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