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October 26, 2017

Brandon Brooks: There's no cap on how good this team can be

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That was a big win [Monday night, 34-24] over a division rival for the second time, which closes out the two-game series this year. That was kind of the mission, our first step in our goals was to win the division, get back into the playoffs and take it from there.

That was a big win, a home win, a divisional win.

It was also a win that came at a big price.

  • 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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Two guys went down, Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters. Jordan Hicks calls all of the signals on the defense, and he’s been a big contributor and leader on the defense. He’ll be missed over there. Obviously, Jason Peters ... I mean he’s a Hall of Famer, leader of the team, team captain. He’s a tremendous guy to be around, on and off the field. You don’t replace a Jason Peters.

He’ll be definitely missed. I wish him a speedy recovery. He’ll definitely be missed, not just in the O-line room. But in offensive meetings, team meetings. And just being around the team. When he went down, I know a lot of people kind of saw that, even though he was getting a brace on and getting carted off the field, he was still talking to [Big] V [Halapoulivaati Vaitai], coaching V up.

That just goes to show you the type of person that he is and the type of character that he has. He had a serious injury to his knee and he wasn’t thinking about himself, but thinking about the next guy up who was going to come in his spot. He was telling [Big V] things that he saw out there, techniques that he used, what worked, what doesn’t. Things like that.

I helped [Peters] get up, get him on the cart, me and Lane [Johnson] and a couple of other guys. I just wanted to tell him that I had his back. I didn’t know what the injury was at the time. I saw him down on the ground and saw the cart come out, so I knew it was pretty serious. I wanted to tell him that I love him like a brother.

When you’re playing this game and you’re out on the practice field, there is a 100 percent chance of injury. As a player, you never really think about it until something happens. You hope it’s not anything too serious, but when it comes to things like that, it puts the game back into perspective. Although you love the game and love being out there with the guys, it is a violent game and in three of four seconds of play could be a season-ender and a bunch of months missed.

I want to let him know that I love him like a brother.

You’re a character guy who’s having a great year. Moving forward do you see yourself taking more of a leadership role on the offensive line?

It’s more a group effort. We’ll take it from there. I stand by Jason Peters being irreplaceable. Moving forward it’s a whole group effort. I’m a leader by example. Never been a big rah-rah guy like that. I’ll leave that for the other guys. When it comes to doing what I need to do, and showing other guys and helping other guys, I’ll do that. I’ll try to be more vocal when I can. But like I said, it will be a group effort.

Something unusual happened Monday night. Jason Kelce pulled Carson Wentz from the fire and Carson squeezed out of that. What did you or did even know about the Carson Wentz 17-yard scramble?

I didn’t even until [Wentz] was running past me. The D-lineman was “Oh sh*t,” as he ran past. That’s how I knew. Watching him take off downfield, running with the ball. I didn’t even think about until I saw the play itself after the game. It was incredible to watch him work. He’s magic back there, how [Wentz] gets out some of those things.

Continuity means so much to an offensive line. Is there any adjusting to be made with Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Big V) on the left?

Big V has been getting experience at left and right tackle. With the Lane suspension, he played 10 games and kept getting better and better. Here, it’s year two, and he has some experience under his belt. He’s confident and knows the playbook a lot better. The sky is the limit for Big V. I look forward to him getting in there and showing everybody what we’ve been seeing every day.

I’m excited for the opportunity that he’s going to have.

Everything has taken a jump. You make the biggest jumps in your game between Year One and Year Two for the obvious reason I stated before. Everything has improved; hands, footwork, technique, knowing the playbook. Like I said, the sky is the limit.

You had another clean game. No rush tackles were given up by you. Now it’s on to play San Francisco, which is a highly dangerous team at 0-7. That may sound crazy, but it’s a human nature to let up when it comes to a winless team like this. There is talent here. You’ll be going against Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch and Earl Mitchell. What do these guys show you?

They have a lot of first rounders with talent and athletic ability. They have young guys, who I’m sure as time goes on will continue to get better. I’ve known Earl since came into the league, when he was with Houston. He’s a high-motor guy, who gives a ton of effort. He’s fast and athletic.

Are they blitzing team, a stunting team?

They’re a little bit of both. They definitely get off the rock. They work well together, use their hands. They do different line stuns on different downs and different situations.

What’s the attitude now that you’re at 6-1 and I know it’s there every week? Everyone has you guys at the mountaintop. What’s been the attitude inside the locker room?

First, we understand that where we are right now, we have a target on our back. We’re going to get team’s best shot, week in and week out. But we are also taking it one game, one week at a time, trying to go 1-0 each week. 6-1 is great, but it’s far from where we want to be. We’re taking it 1-0 each week and enjoying them as they come. Once the week is over, get back to work. It’s about understanding what it took to get the win, understanding the work that went into us to accomplish what we want to accomplish. 6-1 is great, but it’s still early.

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Eagles would be wise to beware the heavy underdog | Report: Eagles work out an offensive tackle | Eagles QB Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week | Eagles rookie DE Derek Barnett showed promise Monday night, with gifs and stuff | How will the Eagles move forward without Jason Peters? | How will the Eagles move forward without Jordan Hicks?

There’s a lot more football left.

We’re taking it week by week.

When I was in Houston my first year, we started [5-0] at one time. In college, I don’t think we were ever 6-1, but in high school we won a bunch of games. It’s still early. You see 6-1 not finish out the way they started. That’s the biggest thing. You don’t want to start fast and finish slow. You want to start fast and finish strong. That’s what we’re trying to do.

The sky is the limit. Philly first. Offense, defense, special teams. I can’t really say how good we can be. There’s no cap on that right now.

What’s on your mind?

With all of the differences, whether it’s race, sex, different things like that, starting with the older generation working on down, I look at it like with my generation, it’s okay to be the generation to accept everybody for who they are. Not accept inequality, but accept equality. Things like that. That’s what’s been on my mind. With the past year, with everything that’s been that’s been going on, really just how everybody has separated themselves from each other, for different reasons, it’s okay to have equality and it’s okay to help the next man out.

It’s okay if somebody looks different. Or has a different belief that we can all get along.

I do see more acceptance in the last 15, 20 years.

I grew up African-American, so I come from a different perspective. It’s little more apparent for me in different situations. It has gotten better than 15, 20 years ago, but it’s not where it needs to be.

How differently does your body respond after a Monday Night game than normal?

You’re sorer. It’s one less day your body has to rest. You have to get ready for the next day. It’s really your whole body [that’s sore]. You’re running into somebody every play and they’re running into you.

Through seven games how pleased are you with how you’re playing?

I’m never going to be a guy who’s like my game is exactly where I want it to be. There’s things that I can be better at. I realize that. The things that I’m well with, I’m trying to make better and the things that I’m not good at, I’m trying to make them good. It’s how I look at it.

What I see almost every week is that you’re the sore thumb, sticking out with your guy blocked up and everything around collapsing in certain areas. But that’s what I see. Do you look what you’re seeing on film of yourself?

I do. I’m doing some good things out there. But as always, I’m trying to get better. The good things you take as good, and you try to press forward on the other things and you spend the extra time on.

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 to Brandon's words in his own voice.