Eagles Wake-Up Call: Early On, Players Embrace Change

DeSean Jackson and his teammates had grown accustomed to doing things a certain way at the NovaCare Complex.

From 1999 to 2012, it was the Andy Reid way.

But change has now arrived in the form of Chip Kelly. In the coming weeks and months, players will be asked to step out of their comfort zones and embrace change in a variety of football-related areas.

“First day, we had the team meeting, you could kind of sense the urgency,” Jackson said. “This is what it’s going to be, and it’s on you guys to get the information and dissect it and make the change and make the difference. One thing I can say, he’s letting us be professionals. We have to take accountability to do our jobs.”

Kelly’s changes extend well beyond offensive scheme. By all accounts, his program is going to feature some stark differences from others around the league. Early on, the one aspect that has the attention of players is the pace – during training and in the weight room.

“The workout today was up-tempo,” said Jason Peters on Tuesday. “A lot of drills, different stuff that we normally don’t do. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be real up-tempo.”

Added Brandon Graham: “The first day went pretty good. I think we were in here three hours. It was real short, but real fast. I think that’s what he was trying to preach. It’s going to be a lot of fast things that we’re going to be doing, just as far as meetings, practice and the weight room.

“Everybody didn’t think we were going to run as hard, but we did. You should be in shape when you get here. It felt good to get good work in. The lift was a little faster, less rest.”

Speaking of rest, Kelly said earlier this offseason that athletes should get between 10 and 12 hours of sleep each night. Asked when the last time was that he slept that much, Jackson said, “Probably when I was 12 years old. He’s definitely telling us the philosophies so far, how we’re going to be doing certain things. Sleeping, nutrition, practice schedules.

“Even with our workout training, some days we’ll hit it real hard. A day like today [Wednesday], we come in, we don’t hit it as hard. That’s a real good situation to have a coach understand the players’ body. You’ve got to understand he’s coming from a big-time college where they have scientists and all these tests running on the athletes and things. So in addition to what he’s trying to bring here is a system that I think will really help, not only on the field, but individually for your health, just to kind of keep you away from injuries and just strengthen up your body as a whole.”

The Eagles are only three days in, but so far, so good.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Nnamdi Asomugha talked to the San Francisco media for the first time, saying he wished things worked out differently with the Eagles. T-Mac has the recap.

More draft visits for the Eagles, including Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Alabama’s Dee Milliner and San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar. They’ll also check out Oregon OLB Dion Jordan and West Virginia QB Geno Smith.

Jackson hinted at a new role under Kelly. But what’s realistic? Here’s the breakdown.

Nick Foles believes he can fit with Kelly. Tim has the full story on the second-year QB.

Kelly and the Eagles are generating buzz around the league.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

A league source has confirmed to T-Mac that the Eagles have put running back Dion Lewis on the trade block. Lewis was inactive for six games last season and played a total of 60 offensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Originally a fifth-round pick in 2011, Lewis has 36 career carries for 171 yards.

It’s difficult to imagine a team giving anything up for Lewis, but perhaps if there’s another GM looking to unload a player, the Eagles can find a partner.

Mike Patterson has a new home, signing with the Giants. From ESPN New York:

“I’m happy to be a part of the Giants,” Patterson said in a team release. “They have a lot of good players. It’s going to be good. I’m happy the Giants signed me and believe in my talents and allowed me to be there this year. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

“It’s good to be (reunited with Cullen Jenkins). He’s a good player and I enjoy his company. It’s going to be great. They also have other players I played with in college (Terrell Thomas and Keith Rivers, his teammates at USC), so I’m happy to see those guys.”

COMING UP

Three weeks from the draft. Lots to get to. And we’ll also hear from DeMeco Ryans.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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