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Q&A: Jordan Hicks prepares to run defense

15h

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Philadelphia Eagles poised for this week’s full-squad practices, here’s a Q&A with rookie Jordan Hicks from earlier this month. The third-round pick will be competing for playing time with inside linebackers DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso.

What has it been like to get started working with an NFL team?

Hicks: You’ve been waiting for this your entire life. Through this whole process, it’s been about drills, the 40, the shuttle. It hasn’t been about football. To be able to be out there and play the sport that we all love, it’s fun. It’s fun to play the sport.

How much of an impact have your injuries had on your approach to the game?

Hicks: I don’t think about my injuries. Not one bit. For me, it’s changed my mind-set in the fact that you realize in one play, everything could be gone. So you don’t take this for granted. You enjoy it. And you prepare yourself for when that time does come, because you never know when it will.

You’re often called a 'coach on the field.' What does that phrase mean to you?

Hicks: It’s been that way since the beginning. To be a linebacker, that’s what being a linebacker is -- you have to be the quarterback on the [defense]. You’ve got to prepare more. You’ve got to know where the coverage is going. You’ve got to know where the line is supposed to be. And if it’s not right, you’ve got to get it right. So for me, I try to be as much of a leader as I can. If that means being vocal on the field, that’s who I am.

Chip Kelly said the Eagles spent more time with you than with any other potential draft pick. What did you take away from the time you spent with the organization?

Hicks: The way everything here has a purpose. You could really see that. Going through this entire process, people were telling me, like former teammates who are in the league right now, it's the team that doesn’t talk to you that’s going to draft you. Everybody said that. This place is different. They want to know who you are. They want to do their investigation and understand what you’re about as a person, both on the field and off the field.

Are you better against the run or the pass?

Hicks: I think I’m an athletic linebacker. A lot of people say I’m better against the pass, but I do think I have a lot of good qualities going against the run. I think I can dissect a play pretty quickly and understand where I’m supposed to be. That’s what being a linebacker’s about, fitting in your gap and striking. Obviously, I have things to work on. But I pride myself on both.