Matt Thornton: Not to put you on the spot, but do you have thoughts about potential draft picks who could help out the Eagles?
David Alexander: You know three or four months ago I would have told you University of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles was an outstanding sleeper pick, but through the bowl season his stock has really risen. I have a son (Offensive guard Jake Alexander) who plays for the University of Tulsa and they have played UCF three times in the past two years, so I got to see Blake Bortles play. He’s not a sleeper anymore, but he can really throw. The other guy who again is not a sleeper, but I think Philadelphia should pay attention to him, is Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson. That kid is just a freak of nature. I saw the 40-yard dash times of those tackles and I couldn’t believe it. You know I ran a 5.1 40-yard dash, which isn’t bad, but I was 275 pounds. These guys are 6-5, 6-7 330 pounds running 4.9 40’s. I’m a math teacher too, so the physics of something that big moving that fast is just phenomenal. The explosion that Robinson has tells me he’s going to be a 12 year starter in the NFL. I also think Jake Matthews, whom I was a contemporary of his Dad Bruce Matthews, will be a great player too. Bruce started his career before me and ended after me, of course, but I really admire that family. The genetics of Bruce, Clay Matthews, and now Jake Matthews with their strength tells me Jake will play a long time in the league.
Matt Thornton: Thinking back to your playing days, who was the hardest guy you ever had to guard?
David Alexander: The first guys who come to mind are guys who were on my team. Reggie White is first because he was an incredible player and an even better human being. I was also in the same draft class (1987) with Jerome Brown who tragically died in a car wreck our fourth year, but he could have been the best nose tackle to ever play the game. If I have to say a guy who I played against on Sunday I would go with Lawrence Taylor. We had to play him twice a year, and he was the first 250 pound guy who could play the run, rush the quarterback, play the pass, and was just really difficult to play against. LT really changed the game.
Matt Thornton: What do you think about Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s tenure thus far?
David Alexander: I love it! I love what Chip’s done. Besides the X’s and O’s of his offense, you know football is football, and he’s been able to put his own twist on things which other coaches are now studying. The best thing is that Kelly’s on the cutting edge of some other things too in terms of nutrition, sleep, training habits. He’s out in front on a lot of things which will trickle down to guys like me coaching in high school. You know, Coach Kelly doesn’t use the word practice, he uses the word simulation. The Eagles simulate games, simulate situations, so he’s on the cutting edge of all kinds of cool stuff. I would really love the opportunity to sit down and talk with him. I’m not sure I’ll ever have that opportunity, but as a head coach I could really learn from him.
Matt Thornton: What do you think about the contract extensions that the Eagles and General Manager Howie Roseman have executed with players like Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Riley Cooper, and Jeremy Maclin?
David Alexander: Chip Kelly has a different mentality, and that’s a byproduct of him coming from college. What I mean by that is, look, I was an NFL player, and what you hear all the time is that the NFL is a business. But we players are all still human beings, and we want to be wanted. It happened to me, when I played. I got a contract extension in the middle of the season my fifth year with the Eagles. Then I got to my ninth year and I didn’t really hear from the Eagles at all, so I wasn’t sure they really wanted me and I still had a job to do, but it made the job more difficult mentally. Take a guy like Jason Peters, they’re not going to find another guy like him out on the street, and extending him just makes him really love Chip Kelly. Those players are going to want to go out on Sunday afternoon and tear the wall down to play for Kelly. I think he saw that mentality of rewarding hard work at the small colleges, then he brought that to Oregon, and has continued on in the pros. I just think Chip Kelly is doing a fantastic job and will bring Philly a Super Bowl, I really do believe that.
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