Todd Bowles met with his defense for the first time Monday and the Eagles' new defensive coordinator didn't announce many changes in scheme, players said, but he did say one thing was going to be different.
"The biggest thing he said was we're not going to be predictable anymore," linebacker Casey Matthews said.
Several other players echoed Matthews' account of the meeting, held on the first day the Eagles gathered since last Monday, a day before Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo and promoted Bowles. While the defense will remain essentially as is with the same starting unit, several players said, there will be natural changes with a new man in charge.
"Things are going to be a little different," Matthews said. "Obviously, he's a totally different type of coach than Juan. Juan was a little more fiery. Todd's laid back, but he knows what he's talking about."
Who is the better quarterback?
Bowles was hired in January to be the defensive backs coach, but players at other defensive positions said that they had gotten to know the coach over the last ten months. Mostly, they said they respected him based on his experience as a coach and a player.
"He was the interim head coach of the Dolphins last year," Matthews said. "He's been around. He's well-respected. I think that's one thing, as a player, he's been on the defensive side for a while. Juan came over from the offense so a lot of people, especially vets, you don't know if they're qualified."
Some have wondered if Bowles has plans to blitz more since the defensive line has had trouble getting pressure.
"He said he's not here to revamp the defense," Matthews said. "We're still running the same stuff. He just wants us to play together and take it back to training camp days -- basic fundamentals, getting extra work after practice or getting in your playbook."
Defensive end Jason Babin was evasive when asked about Bowles.
"I'm not a football guy. I don't know much about him," Babin said. "Shows up on time, works hard."
Babin was asked if he had a reaction when the Eagles announced Tuesday that Bowles would replaced the fired Castillo.
"I've been doing this for nine years now," Babin said. "Kind of have to be numb to the goings-ons."
In other news on the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Mike Patterson practiced, as expected. The Eagles have three weeks to decide if they want to activate Patterson or he will have to be placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.
Safety Nate Allen (hamstring) did not practice but he said that he would be ready to play Sunday against the Falcons.