PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Things may not have been easy for Eagles fans over the years, but they’ll get little sympathy in Cleveland.
Since the Browns returned to the city by Lake Erie in 1999, they have made just one playoff appearance. Cleveland has not reached the post-season since 2002. For fans in Philadelphia and Cleveland, 2016 represents a new beginning. Both fan bases are looking forward to turning the page this season, and Eagles Coach Doug Pederson expects to hear plenty of noise at the Linc on Sunday when both team take the field for Week One.
“I expect it to be electric,” said Pederson. “I know there’s going to be a great 9/11 tribute before the game. I think our crowd is going to be excited. From everything I’ve heard and read this week, everyone is excited, number one, to see Carson and just to see the team. It’s going to be a great crowd and I’m excited for it.”
Much of the excitement will surround Carson Wentz as he makes his first NFL start. The Eagles have expressed plenty of confidence in the rookie, and Tackle Lane Johnson said the rest of the offense can do it’s part to take the pressure off Wentz on Sunday.
“We want to protect him,” said Johnson. “We want to run the ball effectively and take the pressure off him. We have his back. He’s had a great week of practice. He’s been practicing hard, so we’re behind him.”
The Browns are also excited to get the season started and are hoping their quarterback will have a chance to revitalize his career. Robert Griffin, III has won the starting job in Cleveland, and the former Washington signal caller is happy to get a second chance with the Browns.
“I’m just excited to have the opportunity,” Griffin said. “Being in this league for four years, I’ve seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. It’s just been a blessing to use all of that experience to get the best out of my team and myself in this new environment.”
This will be a much different version of the Philadelphia Eagles than the one which took the field on opening day in 2015. Tight End Zach Ertz is relived the regular season has finally arrived, and is eager to show what he and his teammates can accomplish.
“I think guys are excited to finally play a game of football,” Ertz said. “There’s been so much outside noise per say going on with this team. Throughout the off-season, there were obviously a lot of changes, but guys are extremely excited about this football team.”