PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fans of the Eagles have watched the team go 12-20 over the last two seasons. But a regime change, along with some lack of success from the other teams in town, have those same fans excited for the coming season.
Fans aren’t the only ones who’ve got some renewed energy.
“The excitement and the energy is just—it’s awesome. We’re excited and ready to go,” Eagles president Don Smolenski told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday. Rookies will report to the NovaCare facility today for Training Camp, and drills will begin on Tuesday.
“I think our fans have always been supportive of the Eagles football in good times and bad. That’s the part in what makes an Eagles fan. You can’t have the joy without having the pain. I think sports fans here in Philadelphia are that way with all their teams and certainly with us. It’s just incredible.”
Of course the Eagles made some changes at the top, with Howie Roseman clearly in charge of personnel, and Chip Kelly in charge of the on-field product. Another change has been the location of training camp, with the team vacating their long-time home at Lehigh University in favor of South Philadelphia. Gone is the daily open training camp at Lehigh, replaced by five open practices held at Lincoln Financial Field.
“As of last night, we had just over 220,000 for those five practices. Almost 55,000 have been reserved for the first practice on July 28th,” Smolenski said. “We didn’t know what exactly the response would be, we just knew that—what was most important for us was the ability to have free, open practices for our fans. That’s what training camp is about. It’s an opportunity for the fans to see the team up close and that was probably the most important thing that was driving the decision.”
Like Smolenski, general manager Howie Roseman has been with the organization for over a decade.
“Howie [Roseman] and I have grown through the organization together. We’ve watched every game together. I’ve watched his relentless effort, his tireless effort. I’ve seen him—because I’m an early riser so I’m in the office early. He’s there with me early, we’re there late,” Smoelnski said. “He’s put in the time, he’s studied, he’s put a great staff around of some seasoned guys, of some younger guys. Guys who worked under the likes of Nick Saban, you know, the best in the business.”