Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New Birds adjust on the fly

The Eagles used their Monday morning walk-through to work on alignments and formations off a variety of plays, which is just fine for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and offensive tackle Demetress Bell.

New Birds adjust on the fly

DeMeco Ryans was a two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection with Houston. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
DeMeco Ryans was a two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection with Houston. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles used their Monday morning walk-through to work on alignments and formations off a variety of plays, which is just fine for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and offensive tackle Demetress Bell.

Barring a new addition to camp, those two will be the Eagles' only veteran starters who played elsewhere last season. The transition from one team — and one team's training camp approach — isn't always easy for veterans.

"You have to adapt and change," said Ryans after practice. "Like anything, you have to set your mind to it and be willing to change."

Achilles tendon injuries played a part in the arrival of both players. Ryans suffered a ruptured left Achilles' tendon in October 2010 and missed the rest of the season. When he returned in 2011, the team had switched to a 3-4 defense and his role had changed.

He was a two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection with Houston, where he was also the team captain. The Eagles landed the 6-foot-1, 247-pounder for a fourth-round pick and a swap of third-round picks with Houston.

As Jeff McLane writes, Bell signed as a free agent after five-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles' tendon earlier this year. Bell is continuing to work to mesh with the others on the starting line in front of quarterback Michael Vick.

"It's my job to come in and bond with those guys and get the play-calling down," Bell said. "With [Vick] back there, you just have to hold your block a little longer, 5, 6 seconds, and you know he'll get it out."

The Eagles' aggressive approach to hitting early in training camp hasn't gone unnoticed by the newcomers. "It's fast and there's a lot of hitting," Bell said.

"We haven't had much down time," Ryans said, "But in the end, it's still training camp--and we've been doing that since college."

Scene and heard

—Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says the offensive line "has an opportunity to be one of the best in the league."

—For those keeping score on the wide receiver rotation: After DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant, the next crew of receivers in the walk-through play were Marvin McNutt, Chad Hall, Ron Johnson, and Damaris Johnson.

—Did backup running back Dion Lewis not get enough time last season? "That was probably my mistake," said Mornhinweg. "LeSean was so good that it was hard to take him out. I'd like to play Dion more. He's earned it."

—Sunday's long, hot practice brought out the fights, as Les Bowen writes. Who is the Eagle least likely to get in a training camp scuffle? Andy Reid will host a mid-field ice cream party before you see presidential pal Nnamdi Asomugha brawling. 

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For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else. Reach Jimmy at jkempski@philly.com.

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