Everything is new for Demetress Bell, who signed with the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent in late March and was immediately plugged in to the starting lineup with Jason Peters rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Sometimes, they say, change is good. If the early returns mean anything, count Bell in with that company line. He has attacked the team's offseason conditioning program, dropped body fat and changed his body. The new technique here -- more attacking in pass protection, rather than a vertical step back off the ball -- fits his athletic profile. Living in Philadelphia is, shall we say, much different than living in Buffalo.
It's all good so far for Bell, who hopes to reach the height of his performance ceiling with the Eagles.
"The scheme is different, as far as pass blocking. It's way more physical; it's not passive, not sitting back. The run game has different angles, so I think the whole all-around game is different," said Bell. "The more we have the kind of days like this, the better off it will be for me. In two, three weeks, I think I'll be settling in perfectly."
A lot is riding on Bell. He isn't Peters, a perennial Pro Bowl player who is probably the best left tackle in the league with his combination of strength, speed and athletic ability. Peters is a rare player, though, and it isn't fair to compare Bell here.
Make no mistake, though: The Eagles think very highly of Bell. They want him to dominate at left tackle and they believe he has that kind of upside.
Euguene Chung is running the drills at this camp, hoping that Bell assimilates into the scheme quickly and that by the time Howard Mudd gets his claws into the linemen at training camp, Bell is fully ingrained in what the Eagles need from his position.
In the meantime, it's a one-day-at-a-time deal for Bell. He is learning new hand placement, new footwork, new sets. He is coming off the ball and exploding in pass protection rather than dropping back a step and setting and "catching" the pass rusher.
"I know what they brought me in here to do," said Bell. "I know he's a five-time Pro Bowler, but I don't think I will have a problem filling those shoes."
Bell says he has been working out at the NovaCare Complex about 85-90 percent of the time during the conditioning program and that his physique has changed. He isn't flexing in front of mirrors or anything like that, but Bell feels different, feels *better *after all of the work he has put in.
With the NFC East pass rushers waiting, Bell -- who weighs 315-320 pounds and isn't wearing knee braces for this camp, as he has done in the past -- has to hold the edge on the offensive line.
"You kind of watch film of everybody every year and you see what pass rushers are doing great and who is doing awesome," said Bell. "This is a pass-rushing division, I would say. I'm down for the challenge."
Bell has his daily challenge working against Trent Cole, who makes Bell bring it "on every play. You better bring it every play against him." He has made the transition very nicely to date, an important thing to know in the grand scheme of things.
Change has been a positive for Bell, who looks to take his game to the next level in an offense that has all the pieces in place for greatness.
OTA NEWS, NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- I like this group of wide receivers a lot. Damaris Johnson has been the standout of the rookies because of his quickness in and out of his cuts. Marvin McNutt isn't a quick guy but he catches the ball well and has a very powerful body. I want to see him in pads. He looks like somebody who can create space.
- What is really impressive when you watch Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the way he recovers in coverage. He runs with every wide receiver on this team and has the length and speed to clamp down. He looks very good.
- If I were handicapping the quarterbacks on the depth chart, I would say that Mike Kafka is second behind Michael Vick, and that rookie Nick Foles is third. Foles throws a much better ball than I thought he would this early in his career.
- Tight end Clay Harbor had an excellent day on Wednesday. He is very athletic and is catching the ball well.
- I could be wrong, but it appeared to me that Bryce Brown got a few extra reps at running back on Wednesday. Looks to me that he is off to a good start. So is Dion Lewis.
- We are going to see the best of Nnamdi Asomugha this season. He has been on point in coverage through the first two days of the camp. Boy, he looks great.