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December 14, 2017

Brandon Brooks: Whatever we have to do, we’ll get it done

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Obviously after winning that game [43-35 over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday] and punching our ticket at least into the playoffs, I feel pretty good. 

On the flip side, and I know it’s everywhere, the Carson Wentz deal [being lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee]. I feel bad for the kid. He was having an unbelievable MVP season and it breaks your heart to get the injury the way he did.

  • Each week during the NFL season, Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks will sit down and speak with PhillyVoice contributor Joseph Santoliquito about the previous week’s game, their upcoming matchup and whatever happens to be on his mind. 
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He’s a strong kid. Everyone saw his video that went out, leaving it in God’s hands and I know he’s going to bounce back stronger than ever. He’ll have an even better season next year than he did this year. I’m looking forward to it.

How were things with the team when everyone found out?

When it happened, everyone wished him well. With Nick Foles, you know, everyone is just as confident because we’ve seen what Foles can do when he was here the first time. He led the offense, went to the Pro Bowl and took them to the playoffs. The confidence is high with Foles.

How did you react to the Wentz injury? He was there, and suddenly you’re wondering where is No. 11?

I saw it when Carson was walking to the locker room. Honestly, I don’t know when he tore his ACL, or how it happened so for him to tear it diving into the end zone, and playing those three or four plays afterward, and throwing that touchdown, really shows his toughness and the type of character he has. The guy is tough as nails. He went out there with a torn ACL, knowing it was torn, risking further injury, he went out there and laid it all on the line. That shows how tough he is.

After that, Foles came in and played well.

What was learned do you think about this team during its two-game West Coast trip? The Eagles team that I saw against Seattle was an Eagles snapped up by the body snatchers because that wasn’t an Eagles team everyone this season was used to seeing. I saw the Eagles return on the road, against a good team, which overcame a lot of adversity. Hopefully, this will be the same team we’ll see the rest of the season.

We really just got back to basics, doing what we do. We got back to having the energy and bouncing around like we usually do. The Eagles team that went out to the Seahawks was definitely not the usual Eagles team for different reasons. We can go down a list of different things but the team that showed up versus the Rams was the Eagles team you know you saw before Seattle.

We don’t worry about the outside noise. We’re aren’t worried about what everyone else is saying. Whatever we have to do, we’ll get it done.

There were things learned. At the end of the day, we have to stick to what we do: That’s running the ball, protecting the QB, throwing it downfield and the defense getting after the QBs and locking receivers up. We got back to the basics and we’ll move from there.

Honestly, I don’t think there was really anything [learned from the West Coast road trip]. Maybe just more along the lines of getting back to the basics and believing in ourselves, and really, perseverance. Just because something didn’t go our way one week doesn’t mean we have to roll over. We can flush it down the toilet and get back on track just as easy. We said last week we had too many mistakes on our side. We got them fixed. That’s the sign of a good team. We’re not just saying it, we’re going out there and proving it. We got it fixed and got a ‘W’ in the game.    

What are the new challenges you think the offensive line is placing on itself?

We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. Opening holes up for the running backs and keeping Foles clean.

What’s the difference blocking for a mobile quarterback in Wentz as opposed to a more stationary quarterback like Nick Foles?

That explains itself. Wentz you never know where he is. He has wheels and can run. I’m not saying Foles doesn’t have any wheels. He can run a little bit. Foles is more in-the-pocket, pocket passer. You know where he’s going to be and you how he’s going to play. The blocking up front doesn’t change. It’s the same goal every week.

What does Brandon Brooks say to the naysayers, those that thought the Eagles were finished when Wentz was lost? Brandon you live in the city, you know the mentality of this city by now. It’s a great city filled with passionate, loyal sports fans. But it’s also the city with the mentality that if something is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong for the Eagles, the Phillies, the Flyers or the Sixers. Something will go wrong and take away all of this promise and all these dreams. What is your response to those that say this season was finished once Wentz went down?

Honestly, I really don’t give a s**t. I’m just being honest because before this season, no one thought we would go 11-2. How many different writers, people outside thought we were going to even win 8 games or 10 games? Or had us winning the division? It’s no different now what the doubters say we’re done. Don’t get me wrong, Wentz is a hell of a player. You can’t replace a Carson Wentz. Everyone has to pull just a little bit more weight now. Don’t get me wrong as far as that.

That’s the one thing about the team. We’re not looking for pretty wins. We’re looking for wins, period – like scratch, claw, tooth, nails, it doesn’t matter. We’re here to win games...

But coming into the season, nobody thought we would be where we are now. It was guys in the locker room and guys close to the team who have faith in us. Once we went 1-0, we didn’t play a good team. We went 1-1, well, “They played a good team, that’s why they lost.” Then we went 2-1, and then we get to 9-1, and we get, well, “They really didn’t play anybody.” Then we lost to the Seahawks and it’s, “This isn’t the team they thought they were. They can’t beat a playoff team.” Then we go to the Rams and they’re like, now you guys bounce back, but this, this, and this. That’s how it’s been since season began.

We don’t worry about the outside noise. We’re aren’t worried about what everyone else is saying. Whatever we have to do, we’ll get it done.

If I pulled you aside in mid-August and told you that you would lose Darren Sproles, one of the best return men in the game; you’re going to lose Chris Maragos, one of the best special teams players in the game; you’re going to lose Jason Peters, arguably the best tackle in football; you’re going to lose Jordan Hicks, one of the best defensive playmakers and now Carson Wentz and sitting at 11-2, clinch the NFC East with a chance to host the NFC playoffs — you would have thought I was nuts.

All of those guys, great guys, leaders on and off the field, and incredible players, but we’ve had guys with an opportunity to step up. They stepped up in a role and made it work from all different positions, all different angles. Guys that weren’t used to doing certain things got into a role and excelled. That’s the one thing about the team. We’re not looking for pretty wins. We’re looking for wins, period – like scratch, claw, tooth, nails, it doesn’t matter. We’re here to win games, and with all the practice, that’s what the focus is on, winning.

In key moments, you need an interception, somebody got it. You need a key catch, somebody got it. You need a key block, open a hole, somebody got it. That’s been the theme this season. A guy goes down, a guy steps up, a guy gets it done.

No one likes adversity, but I get the sense you guys aren’t afraid to face it down and punch it in the gut.

We enjoy a street fight. The slug-‘em outs. We enjoy the grind. We embrace it. The city embraces the grind. It’s a blue-collar city where nothing is handed to you, nothing is easy. Anything worth anything isn’t easy. We don’t mind getting down and dirty to get the ‘W’ no matter what it takes. 

What are the concerns about the New York Giants?

Speaking offensively, their front seven is really good. They have cover guys, too. They use different packages to get one-on-ones with different guys. It’s not a team we’re sleeping on. We’re taking them very seriously and preparing.

What’s on your mind?

Well, it was good to see the state of Alabama vote for Doug Jones over Roy Moore. It was nice to see Doug Jones win, especially what was going on and what was coming out about Roy Moore. There hadn’t been a democratic senator in Alabama in over 20 years, I believe. In a state that traditionally voted Republican, no matter what, and how it’s almost as if nowadays, if you’re a Republican you’re Republican no matter what. Even if, say a Democrat’s idea is better, or visa-versa, people stick to party lines. It was good to see the good in this situation came out.

What are differences now playing in this cold weather? I know you’re a Wisconsin guy, who played your college football in Ohio. I know you’re not afraid of cold weather. Is this Brandon Brooks’ weather we’re coming into?

Teams from warmer climates come up here, especially this time of year, they get 60-degree weather to practice in. Or the teams that play in a dome. You come here, man, later in the year, it’s 10-degrees and we’re outside. We’re used to it. It’s no big deal. For teams it’s psychological, it’s cold, guys don’t want to be out there, stretching their bodies and hitting each other. Sometimes that messes with guys. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and played in Ohio, so it’s no big deal to me. I embrace it, honestly. I don’t get as hot out there — I keep cool longer.  

In addition to reading Brandon's comments, each week we'll post audio of the full interview so you'll have a chance to hear Brandon's words in his own voice.