A year ago, newcomer Nick Eason played defensive line — mostly on the inside — at around 325 pounds. And it was too much.
“I thought about last year, how I played,” Eason said. “I thought about my game and a lot of it had to do with me not having myself prepared in the offseason with the lockout. I mean, I worked out, but I didn’t take it to the level I needed to. And when you get to camp, pretty much if you are not in shape then you won’t be in shape to be ready for the season.”
So Eason decided to change. A boxing fan, he was boxing as part of his workouts (and is still doing it once a week) and the pounds started coming off. By the time he showed up to the Cards’ offseason conditioning work, he had shaved 37 pounds off his frame. At 288 pounds, Eason said he wants to play this season about 295 pounds. It was all about being smarter as a 10-year veteran.
There was also a realization last year that he needed to do more after he was forced to start once starting nose tackle Dan Williams broke his arm, after backing up ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett most of the season.
“My role changed,” Eason said. “All of a sudden I am starting,” Eason said. “A lot of time when you are running second on the defensive line and (a starter) goes down, you don’t have a backup. Your role triples. You are getting more reps than the starters.
“This year, I hope no one gets hurt, but I will be prepared more than I was last year. Plus I feel better. As you get older you want to be lighter on your joints. I want to take care of my body and play at a level I played at when I was a younger guy.”
Eason said he’s played lighter before, and it worked. “I was in great shape,” Eason said. “Best shape I’ve been in.”
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