Offensive Tackle Evan Neal
Q: On playing the Eagles a couple of times
A: Just the way they rush, the way that they play. I'm getting a better feel for them. And as I study those guys, having that in-game experience against them is going to be able to help me prepare.
Q: Do you look at this as your biggest challenge?
A: I look at it as another football game. Obviously, it's a big game with big implications. And obviously we want to win. But the game's always going to be the game the way I see it.
Q: Obviously, as a team, you've had success to this point. How would you assess your rookie year overall?
A: I feel like it was a learning year for me. I had some ups. I had some downs. I had to battle through some adversity, getting hurt, battling back, coming back. So, I feel like it was a growing year for me – a learning year. And I feel like I handled myself the best way I know how.
Q: How are you physically right now?
A: I'm good. I'm ready. At this point in the year, you're not going to find a guy that's not banged up in some way, shape or form. But I'm standing up. I'm ready.
Q: Do the Eagles do anything unique in the way that they rush? Or is it basically, 'These are our guys. We know how good they are. And go get the quarterback,'?
A: Pretty much. They have good players all across the board, so their coaches let those guy's rush. They run some twist games. They pressure. But really, they have good players. So, they let their good players eat.
Q: You mentioned you're still standing up. Physically, literally, you are. But metaphorically, how much has this been a test for your mental process – how you process failure, how you deal with that? How much has this year tested you on that?
A: Failure's a part of life. I feel like failure's something you learn from, and that's kind of how I've been approaching it. The good things I do out there, I try to capitalize on them and do more of them. The bad things, I try to clean them up the best way I can.
Q: You're one of the few starters that played in that finale. Did that half benefit you, do you think, going into this game? Do you think it's good you got those reps against these guys?
A: Yeah, that's just more reps, add the more experience, the more snaps I get. So, I feel like it definitely helped me out for sure.
Q: Particularly against these guys, though. Like you saw (linebacker Haason) Reddick. Do you think that it helped to learn something from seeing him again?
A: Yeah, the more snaps that he rushed against me was a better opportunity for me to understand how he rushes and how he's going to approach going against me, for sure.
Q: I don't know how many Eagles games you would've watched when you were young, but if you were watching, (defensive end) Brandon Graham and (defensive tackle) Fletcher Cox were probably in those games. And they're still out there now. Does their longevity strike you at all, and did you watch them?
A: Yeah, I knew who Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox was as a kid. And playing against those guys, it's cool. It's the NFL. That's what it's all about. The longevity is a testament to them being a pro, taking care of their bodies and doing the right thing, so that way they can make it that far in their career.
Q: How eager are you to show people that the performance you had against these guys the first time – that that's not you. That you're capable of going out there, even as a rookie, playing really well against some of the best pass rushers in the league?
A: I'm here to go out there and compete and give everything I have; empty everything I have in the tank. And at the end of the game, whatever the outcome is, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I gave it my all.
Q: As an offensive lineman, how beneficial is it when you have (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) taking off like he does? Maybe you give him pressure, and he's going to go make a play.
A: It definitely makes it a lot easier when your quarterback's moving around the pocket. Daniel's been doing a great job getting the ball out on time, just being mobile, stepping up, moving around. It's definitely helping us out, cutting us breaks at times whenever we do let pressure through. So, I'm definitely thankful for that.
Q: One thing a lot of your teammates say is that this Philly front line, they talk a lot. What are you like on the field? Do you talk a lot?
A: Not really, man. I like to play ball. Talking takes a lot of energy. A lot of time on the field, you're gasping for air as it is, as a big guy, offensive lineman. On a 19, 20 play drive, the last thing I'm going to want to do is talk trash. That's valuable air I could be breathing.
Q: So, how do you take it when you go against Brandon Graham? People say he just talks the whole game.
A: If he's talking, I kind of just let him do what he does. I'm not going to change the way I play whenever the whistle stops.
Q: Do you guys harbor any feelings from that first matchup because they did put a decent amount of points on the board? They took care of business. As a player, do you look at that scoreboard and say, 'We want another shot at these guys?'
A: Obviously, I believe that we can go out there and put together a better game than we did the first game. But I believe that we're a different team than we were the first time we played those guys. I feel like we're peaking as a team. We're coming together at the right moments. And on Saturday, we're going to go out there and see what happens.
Q: How has (tackle) Andrew (Thomas) helped you this season?
A: He's been in my ear, giving me advice through the things that he went through his rookie year and how he handled it and stuff like that. So, I'm definitely thankful for him and just being able to help me out in that way.