Sunday, August 30, 2015

Eagles new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga: Birds will 'shock the world'

The Eagles introduced two of their free-agent signings in a NovaCare news conference Wednesday in which new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga made a strong vow.

Eagles new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga: Birds will 'shock the world'

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Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. (Ed Hill/Staff Photographer)
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. (Ed Hill/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles introduced two of their free-agent signings in a NovaCare news conference Wednesday in which new nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga made a strong vow.

"We are here to hunt. We are here to win ... I believe and I promise that we're going to shock the world," said Sopoaga, 31, who has played his entire nine-year career with the 49ers.

Sopoaga later explained that he thinks new coach Chip Kelly's innovations will rock the NFL.

Sopoaga and new tight end-H back James Casey talked a lot about hard work and opportunity. Kelly talked about size and versatility, which he feels will give him flexibility in play design.

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General manager Howie Roseman talked about getting value in the free agent market, which as the Eagles have proved, isn't always (or often) with the top-dollar guys.

The Birds also have signed safety Patrick Chung, whose three-year, $10 million deal designates him as a likely starter,  corner Bradley Fletcher, who at least will contend for a starting job, and reserve linebacker Jason Phillips. Another 49ers free agent defensive lineman, Rick Jean-Francois, visited Wednesday but there is not signing news as of yet.

Roseman indicated the fact that Chung played at Oregon when Kelly was offensive coordinator there figured into the Eagles' confidence in signing the New England safety, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency after being drafted 34th overall in 2009.

"You look at the body of work, just like college players," Roseman said. He said before 2012, Chung was "one of the up-and-coming safeties in this league."

"For one reason or another, he did not play as well as he'd played in the past," Roseman said. "Sometimes that happens in a contract year. Sometimes you're pressing, sometimes you're trying to make every play.

"We talk about knowing somebody -- he was with (Kelly) and a couple of our other coaches. That helps. When you go into free agency, it's like an arranged marriage by some aspects, because you've never lived with that person, never really dated them, you've seen them from afar."

Kelly said: "I think for the guys that we just acquired, probably the common theme is, not only are they outstanding football players, they're outstanding off the field, too. It takes a lot to be a professional football player. If you're not all-in, 24/7, 365, it becomes very, very difficult.

"Kind of identifying who we wanted to become part of the Eagles organization, that was just as important as how fast are they and how strong are they. You've got two guys sitting right next to me, that we're excited to add them to the group of people we have now, two outstanding, quality guys that are really going to be tempo-setters for this football program in terms of how we want to practice. We've done a great job in terms of their background and what they're all about, along with assessing them from an evaluation standpoint on film of what they can do. And I'm excited to have them here ... two guys that I think will become really, really quickly fan favorites here in Philadelphia."

Daily News Staff Writer
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