Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga opened some eyes at the introductory press conference for he and tight end James Casey Wednesday. After politely thanking the Eagles, God and the city of Philadelphia, he amped things up.
“We are here to hunt. We are here to win. I promise that we’re going to shock the world,” said the 6-2, 330-pound veteran.
Sopoaga, formerly of the Niners, was asked to expound on that statement.
“Coach Kelly has a solid book that teams in this league haven’t seen yet,” he said. “I believe we are going to utilize it on this level. That’s what I mean. I know they are doing their best to hunt and look for the perfect guys for this system, both defense, offense and special teams. That’s what I mean, we are going to surprise and shock the world.”
Chip Kelly, who was on the stage alongside Sopoaga, Casey and general manager Howie Roseman, appreciates that kind of mentality.
“If you don’t plan on coming in here and winning, we’re not going to talk to you,” the head coach said. “The statements that he makes is exactly how everyone in this football program feels and what it’s all about. But we also know that it’s not about talk, because what you say in March and April doesn’t have anything to do with what you do on Sundays.”
Sopoaga, a 6-2, 330-pound native of American Somoa, can play nose tackle if the Eagles run some version of a 3-4, as expected. But Kelly sees a little more to him than that.
“He can line up as a nose — he’s done a tremendous job in this league doing it — but he can also provide an inside pass rush in a four-down defense and push the pocket,” said Kelly. “The more versatile you are as a player, I think it helps you as a group…You better have some versatility on the offensive side of the ball as well as the defensive side of the ball to make it into a team that’s a little bit difficult to defend or to attack because you don’t know exactly what they’re going to present.”