At Eagles OTAs, if you listen really closely –through the blasting rap, country and rock music (or in between songs on their playlist) — you’ll hear incessant chatter.
You will hear players recognizing coverages, players coaching their teammates up and good communicationon the field, on both offense and defense.
It’s what you expect to hear from a finely honed NFL team in mid-season form. Not what you’d expect in June during organized team activities.
“It’s early,” Eagles safety and defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins said Tuesday.”Usually the main thing that doesn’t happen when youhave new guys, is you have guys who are quiet and that’s how you have blown coverages, but the fact that if you look at the first group through the third group, everybody’s loud and everyone is talking — it shows that they are confident and they know what they’re doing.”
Getting everyone on the same page sounds easy, but with 11 different guys, each with different styles of play and personality, it is key to get a defense talking and clicking together.
Jenkins, with pride, barks to the second and third string players from the sidelines, like he’s an assistant coach, leading by example and with his guiding voice.
“It’s the No.1 thing on defense,” he said.”Can we all get lined up and play the same call? Even if we are wrong, if we are all wrong together we areright.”
It’s something the coaches loveto see, and it’s something that is right in lock step with the mentality of the 90 men working out at the NovaCareComplex during this optional (but nearly fully attended) practice period.
“They have to kick them out of the building,” Mark Sanchez, who took reps with the first team offense Tuesday said of many of his teammates.”If you’re not allowed to touch a football, Jordan [Matthews] has golf balls and tennis balls andhe’s firing them at somebody and they gotta throw it back to him. [Zach]Ertz is the same. And they are doing things out of the building, whether it’s yoga or Pilates, these guys work until they physically can’t anymore.”
It’s an interesting dynamic. One would think constant competitionand trying to fuse veterans and young-guns on a professional roster would be a difficult task. But for one reason or another, Chip Kelly has created some rock-solid chemistry as he presses all the right buttons.
“Every day we show up we are competing at something,” Jenkins said.”Whether it be in the weight too, film room or on the field, every thing we do we are being evaluated and competing.”