In the past three months, though, he’s discovered that everything he’d heard was spot-on.
“He is the leader of our group,” Minter said. “He’s the elder statesman, the older player. Fortunately, when your older player is a producer, and he’s one of your very best people in the room, it really is a very good situation.”
When Minter was recently looking for the linebackers to get some extra work in, he knew who to go to.
“I can just tell that he’s the guy that the fellas will look to when they need some word of guidance or advice,” Minter said.
“We were talking about getting some additional meeting time the other day, which is all within the limits of the CBA, and he coordinated that effort and got back to me. You could tell they went through him to say, ‘What do you think, D?’ And then he came to me, ‘What do you think, coach?’”
Last year was proof that leadership only extends so far. Ryans drew the same rave reviews from the previous coaching staff, but the Eagles’ defense fell apart in 2012.
The veteran is used to change. He’s playing for his fifth different defensive coordinator in the past four years.
When the Texans decided to trade Ryans, there were questions about how he fit in a 3-4 scheme. As I’ve pointed out with the All-22 recently, I think he’ll fit just fine.
Not surprisingly, Minter also feels that way.
“I think it is a little overrated to be honest with you from time to time when people say he can play in this scheme but he can’t play in that scheme.,” he said.
“When you’re an inside guy, things come at you from both sides and all angles, and so you have to be a person who can feel and sense and understand things, standing up on the inside behind a bunch of big guys.”
Earlier this offseason, Howie Roseman talked about Ryans as someone who could help cultivate a new culture going forward.
So far, that seems to be working out just fine.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Coordinator Billy Davis offered hints about the Eagles’ scheme and said he’s studied Jim Johnson’s defenses.
What made Jaws change his mind about Chip Kelly? T-Mac answers in his Twitter mailbag.
Michael Vick got a key to Atlantic City yesterday, writes McManus.
Tight end James Casey is out for the remainder of the spring after undergoing knee surgery.
The latest depth chart outlook post zeroes in on the wide receivers.
Howie Roseman says some veterans might “fall by the wayside.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Herm Edwards has Dick Vermeil ranked 18th on his list of top-20 coaches:
An emotional coach, Vermeil also was a workaholic. You could never prepare enough for him. I played for him in Philadelphia and he gave everyone a chance, no matter where you were drafted, something we saw again with the emergence of a onetime nobody in Kurt Warner. A Super Bowl champion with the Rams, he also won four division titles.
According to Mike Sando of ESPN.com, the Eagles have the 15th-oldest projected starting lineup in the league. They have the eighth-oldest offense and 17th-oldest defense.
The Kevin Turner Foundation is holding a golf outing in Medford, N.J. next week to benefit ALS. Click here for details.
More from our interviews yesterday with the assistant coaches.