By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After mini-camps, OTAs, training camp and the preseason, the regular season has finally arrived for the Eagles.
Chip Kelly’s squad began preparations for the season opener on Sunday against Jacksonville with a Tuesday practice. Kelly says he and his players are ready to get the 2014 campaign underway.
“We’re excited,” said Kelly. “We think the preseason counts. Every time you get a chance to compete against another team, it counts, but it’s year two. We’ve got a lot of guys who have been around us and we’ve been around them. You feel like you’re a little bit closer in terms of what you’re trying to get accomplished.”
Nick Foles knows expectations are higher for both himself and his teammates. Despite throwing 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions a year ago, Foles says he is taking nothing for granted heading into the season.
“That’s how this league works,” Foles said. “I don’t care really who you are. I’m going into this game and that’s all I’m focused on. My job is to go out there and get a win. No matter who you are, if you don’t take care of business, someone else will fill that spot.”
The Eagles defense struggled early last year, but improved as the season went on. Most players believe they will be better this season after spending a year under the system of Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans is one of the players who believes the best is yet to come for his unit.
“We’re in a good position as a defense,” said Ryans. “I feel like we’re able to pick up right where we left off last season. Now, I feel like our communication is a lot better. We just have guys who jell together. That’s how you want to feel going into week one.”
For the Eagles rookies, Sunday’s game will be their first chance to play in a regular season NFL contest. Rookie Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews believes the preseason games have helped to prepare him for the hype that surrounds the regular season.
“It definitely helps,” Matthews said. “It’s not like college football where you’re just practicing and just get thrown into the fire of an actual college game. You get to see what the flow of the game is like and what preparation you need to go through. By the time the regular season comes, you know what you have to do during the week, and it makes it that much easier.”
Wide Receiver Josh Huff (shoulder) and Offensive Lineman Matt Tobin (knee) were the only two Eagles who sat out practice on Tuesday.
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