By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The wait for training camp ended on Friday when the Eagles reported to the NovaCare Complex. On Saturday, it was time to get down to business.
The Eagles took the field for the first time this summer, as they held their first practice of this year’s camp. Although the pads did not come on during the first day of workouts, players such as Nick Foles were excited to be back on the field.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Foles. Training camp is here and that’s what we’ve been working for. It was really just fun being back out there. We were moving around really fast. Taking a month off you can train, but practice is something different. You can go out there and get the cobwebs off.”
Lane Johnson was at practice working out with his teammates, but the right tackle will miss the first four games of the season due to his suspension. Allen Barbre will take Johnson’s place and will receive more snaps during training camp to get ready for the season. Barbre says he is taking the same approach as he did when he was a back-up.
“I guess I don’t really feel any different,” Barbre said. “I’ve come out and worked hard every day. “Whether I’m a backup or whether I’m a starter, I want my team to trust me and I want to go out and play for my teammates.”
The defense is eager to improve after struggling for parts of last season. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans says the defensive players are much more comfortable with the system put in place by Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis. Ryans is confident the defense will be vastly improved in 2014.
“We’re so far along right now,” said Ryans. “We’re seeking to be the best defense we can be and the best defense in the league. We have the guys that are capable of doing that. Going against Chip Kelly’s offense every day really prepares us for the opposing offenses.”
As the veterans settle in under Kelly’s system for the second season, the rookies are looking to make a strong first impression. Second round draft choice Jordan Matthews believes he will be ready to make an immediate impact, and credits the veterans for helping him settle in both on and off the field.
“There are some top-notched men in that locker room,” Matthews said. “I can even go out of the wide receiver room with guys I am able to watch and learn from and just try to model my game after. There’s just great chemistry and energy in the locker room. Everybody is excited for the season.”
The Eagles will practice at NovaCare again on Sunday, then will hold a public practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday afternoon beginning at 12:15 p.m.
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