NFL: Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp

PHILADELPHIA -- Jalen Carter knows what he has to do to avoid the lull he experienced at the end of his rookie season. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio handed that blueprint to him.

For Carter to avoid the funk that hampered a strong rookie season, the conditioning aspect of his game needs to improve. 

"I'd like to be a lot more conditioned than working on technique because we've got all year for technique stuff," Carter said at the NovaCare Complex last week. "I did more conditioning than I did -- hand moving and stuff like that."

Carter had a strong Year 1 with the Eagles as he finished with 33 tackles, 6.0 sacks, nine quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown in 16 games. He was second amongst rookie defensive tackles in sacks, tied for second in quarterback hits and tied for first in tackles for loss (8).

Despite the strong rookie season, Carter -- like most players on the Eagles defense -- faded at the end of the year. Over the last six games, Carter had just two sacks, two quarterback hits and 12 pressures. 

Hence the challenge Fangio presented to Carter earlier this month. 

"I think he's talented enough that no matter what we do with him, we'll be maximizing him," Fangio said. "He's got to get in great shape, which I think he's off to a great start here, so we can play him a lot."

There's no secret the Eagles want to maximize Carter's snaps as much as possible. Carter and Jordan Davis are going to play a lot of snaps with Fletcher Cox retired, as the pair are the top two defensive tackles in the rotation. Helps both are first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. 

Carter wasn't pleased the way his season ended either, vowing to correct that.

"It wasn't how I wanted it to end," Carter said. "A lot of stuff I saw on film is the stuff I needed to fix. It's okay. We're here now, and I'm ready to be better than last year."

A little bit of conditioning can go a long way for Carter. With a full season under his belt, Carter knows what he needs to work on to dominate at the pro level. That's what the Eagles are hoping.