The Art of Interviewing is something I've worked hard at through the years, understanding that there is a significant difference in the setting of the conversations. For instance, when reporters are gathered together in a press conference setting, the questions come out in a rapid-fire manner, are often very pointed and breathless, and can often have an urgent tone to them. Too many times, in those cases, the person being interviewed feels that the experience is more of an interrogation.
In a one-on-one setting, there is time to breathe and develop a rapport and give the subject a chance to present a storyline. This is my objective in my interviews with Eagles players, coaches, and front office staff through the years. Fans don't want to hear from me. You get enough of that already. These interviews are about the Eagles who are being interviewed.
With that in mind, I've had four such interviews in the last week as Training Camp opened (much love to the Football Communications staff for making them happen) and the players have been responsive and personal and open during these chats. I want you to feel you've gotten to know them just a little bit more when the interviews are over, and I want the players to feel they've done the same. Here are some excerpts from interviews with quarterback Jalen Hurts, safety Jaquiski Tartt, wide receiver A.J. Brown, and defensive end Josh Sweat. I hope you want to hear the entire interviews, so feel free to subscribe (for free, of course) to the Eagles Insider Podcast if you don't subscribe already.
A.J. Brown: "I believe I can do anything and everything"
"I think it's harder to stay in the league than it is to make the league. A lot of guys get comfortable when they get here. That's kind of when they get exposed. Every day, somebody is working for your job. They're drafting somebody younger and faster.
"My mindset is what makes me a great player. I believe I can do anything and everything whenever I want to. That's how I approach my day-to-day efforts. I try to stick with my routine over, like, motivation. I'm not always motivated, but if I can stick to my routine, I'm being very disciplined. Talent is not going to keep you in this league. It's doing the little things over and over. I try to break this game down to the smallest part that I can, working on the little fundamentals over and over. Everybody wants to do the flashy stuff, but I'm just trying to work on the fundamentals because when the game is on the line and you need that first down, I'm going to stick to my fundamentals."
Josh Sweat: "I don't want to be that pup anymore"
"They called me to play in the Pro Bowl, like, the night before the game. I wasn't ready to play - I had been sick a few weeks before and didn't play against Tampa Bay - but I definitely wasn't missing the Pro Bowl. That helped me. That gave me a big boost to get through what I was going through, for sure. I'm a lot more hungry. Off of that Pro Bowl experience, I just need more, bro. I just want to keep going, further, further. More, more.
"I felt like a pup at the Pro Bowl and I don't want to be that pup anymore. I want to be the guy. But, you know, I come out here and I feel like the pup in this defense. That's how I've got to approach it. I've already made myself think that I'm the smallest guy on this defense. That's what keeps me going. That's just how I motivate myself. You're the smallest dude out here. You haven't earned anything, so I gotta keep going."
Jalen Hurts: "It's fair to say that I'm an old soul"
"I think, simply, that everybody is their own breed of one. Everybody has something about them that makes them unique, but sometimes you have to go find that. When you're talking about the youth, to the youth, there is so much going on in the world that they're being pulled in so many different directions and often they just have to own and respect their own individuality. Accept who they are, what they desire, and what they want and the things they want to accomplish. It takes great perseverance to do those things. It takes great courage to do this over and over again. The sooner you can do that and realize who you are and have the confidence in that, that's special.
"It's fair to say that I'm an old soul. I've gotten that my entire life, whether it be the music I listen to or the way I talk to people or how I carry myself. That's just how God made me. I accept it and I embrace it. People always look at me and say, 'What is he thinking? He's so stoic.' I just stay in that mind state and I like being in that place. Rarely do I lose my cool. Ten out of 10 I won't.
"We are the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles. I'm not going to put a name on it. That's who we are. We're out there just trying to get better day by day. We don't worry about external expectations. I never have and we're going to keep it that way. We're going to take it day by day. That's been my biggest message, taking things day by day and knowing that hungry dogs run faster and staying hungry. It's a day-by-day thing."
Jaquiski Tartt: "My mindset is to just dominate"
"We're preparing all week for that (NFL Championship) game against the Rams and we felt we would have a chance to get a pick. I didn't drop one all week in practice. Then we're in the game and (Rams quarterback Matthew) Stafford throws one to me and I'm thinking, 'This is my moment,' and the moment of truth came and I dropped it. I was a tough deal for us. For me, I felt that play was a momentum play and I think that's what I bring - a big hit, what have you. At that moment, it didn't happen. I took accountability and then I had my 24-hour rule and I moved on. Now I'm an Eagle and I'm excited to be here. Philadelphia has always been a tough team. There are so many dawgs on this team - at every position. I'm out there to be the best player out there.
"My mindset is to just dominate. That's what I want to bring to this defense."