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Eagles DT Jalen Carter 'ready to be better than' impressive rookie campaign

Much like his Philadelphia Eagles, defensive tackle Jalen Carter got off to a blazing start in 2023.

Though not as pronounced as Philly's overall stumbles down the stretch, similarly, Carter's play toward the end of the campaign wasn't as consistently impressive as it was to begin.

The 2023 first-rounder is focused on conditioning this spring in the hopes of staying strong throughout the 2024 campaign, which he believes can be a much improved one in the aftermath of an imposing rookie campaign.

"My first year was OK," Carter said earlier this week, via NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro. "It wasn't how I wanted it to end. A lot of stuff that I seen on film is stuff I need to fix. It's OK. We here now and I'm ready to be better than last year."

The ninth selection of the 2023 NFL Draft, Carter lived up to high expectations overall, finishing as the runner-up to the Houston Texans' Will Anderson in Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.

In 16 games, Carter posted 33 tackles, six sacks, nine QB hits, eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

Over his first five games, Carter was a beast to the tune of 12 tackles, four for loss, four QB hits, two forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks. In a rather stark contrast, he had 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, five QB hits and no forced fumbles in his last 11 games.

With the retirement of Fletcher Cox, Carter's reps look to increase. Thus, to account for that and likely to combat last year's drop-off, the 315-pounder has been working on building up his stamina during the spring.

"It's been a lot on conditioning," Carter said of his focus during organized team activities. "Really, I'd like to be more conditioned than working on technique because we got all year for technique stuff. We work on technique everyday in practice with our hands, working on pass rushes and stuff like that.

"But you really don't work on conditioning a lot. But I did more conditioning than I did hand movement and some of the stuff like that."

Philadelphia had a now infamous freefall last season, having begun its year with a 5-0 start before concluding it with a dismal stretch of five losses over its last six games. That skid preceded a lopsided postseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Though Carter clearly had a promising first year, more production from him late in the campaign could've helped.

The second-year DT is looking to get in some spring cardio in the hopes of a finer finish in Year 2.

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