As the Eagles offseason program continues, the team has seemingly filled most of the starting jobs in the secondary. Signing James Bradberry gives the team their CB2and with only one new UDFA addition at safety — and Rodney McLeod now with the Colts — it looks like Marcus Epps will be the guy.
Several players spoke to reporters on Wednesday following their gym session, and Avonte Maddox and TJ Edwards both threw their support behind Epps being a starter.
AVONTE MADDOX: “He’s a great player. He’s smart. I sit next to him every day in our DB room. We have our own little cahoot quizzes, and me and him be battling each other, and he always beats me by, like, three points — but next week I got him, don’t worry.
He’s definitely ready to be a starter. He comes out, he puts in the work, he puts in the time, he studies in the film room […] He’s not afraid to come up and tackle someone. He’s definitely capable of running 40 yards to the right and 40 yards to the left to stop that fade ball, or help out that corner on the fade ball.”
Epps also met with the media and acknowledged that the team’s lack of additions at the position this offseason is a good sign that he’ll have a bigger role. The coaches have expressed confidence in the safety, but Epps knows he still has to prove himself and work hard this offseason — there’s a lot of time between now and Week 1. He feels like he set a good foundation with his performance last season and can build off that.
TJ EDWARDS: “Epps is a guy who — one, great locker room guy. He’s always joking around. He’s actually got a really good, really funny personality once you get to know him. But, he is a guy who has always been steady and consistent in what he does. He takes his prep very seriously. There’s not a day where he’s not acting like he’s that guy. Even last year when he was kind of rotating in, kind of not, but you knew that if he had to be the starter he’d be ready. So, I’m really excited for him to have this opportunity, too.”
Despite his excitement for a starting role, Epps said he isn’t looking to try and fill anybody’s shoes, or to be the next Rodney McLeod.
MARCUS EPPS: “Rodney’s in his own lane. He was a great player, a great leader, great teammate for this organization for awhile, so I’m not taking the approach of I have to fill anybody’s shoes or be anybody else, I’m just trying to be myself day in and day out.”
Maddox also talked about James Bradberry joining the Eagles’ cornerback room, and how they’re adding a great player who is smart and knows the game really well.
MADDOX: “Pretty cool. Like I said, high praise for the player and the guy, so I’m excited to work with him.”
Epps was similarly excited about getting to work with Bradberry.
EPPS: “Oh, it’s huge. Anytime we can add a player like that, it’ll boost any team. He’s a really good player and proven that he’s a really good player in this league for awhile. So, I’m really excited to meet him and I’m really excited to work with him.”
Maddox pointed out that the team had a pretty good draft class and brought in talented free agents this offseason, and with the growth he’s seen from some of the young guys already in the CB room, he’s confident in the secondary and defense as a whole.
MADDOX: “We’re going to be dominant. That’s the goal every year, going into any season from my standpoint.”