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CB Competition? It's Really A Good Thing

Ellis Hobbs isn't going to back down from anything as he begins a new career with the Eagles. He was surrounded by reporters on Thursday afternoon upon arriving at the NovaCare Complex for the post-draft mini-camp, and Hobbs admitted that the change had hit home.

He is starting over.


"All kinds of things are running through my mind, where you pull up to your office for four years and you're seeing the same faces every day, the same situations the same way and you kind of have your routine," he said. "I can definitely say that it feels good with a change of scenery and a change a pace, and I'm excited."

Hobbs is going to get a lot of attention before the Eagles actually get into uniform and step on the field as the media pepper him with questions about his contract situation, about what might become of his relationship with Sheldon Brown, and about how he fits in here. Hobbs is a pro, and that much is clear after a couple of interviews and discussions with those who spent time with Hobbs during his seasons with New England.

This is about football. This is not about Hobbs and Brown comparing contract issues, nor is it about them having an adversarial relationship. Right here, right now, the chemistry on a team starts to build.

"My opportunity is like anybody else's here. I definitely feel like a rookie all over again. I have something to prove, that I can play at this level still, proving that I can play with these guys as well as with these guys in the NFL," said Hobbs.

The first day -- the first half-day, and night, really -- consists of players returning to the NovaCare Complex and getting into the meetings. Most of the players have been here for most, or parts, of the off-season in the conditioning program. They have been around each other. They have been in the building.

For somebody like Hobbs, the first step is an important one. He wants to make a good impression with his teammates and his coaches. And he has done that so far, saying all the right things and understanding that he is part of a deep, very talented, group of players at cornerback.

Hobbs said he doesn't anticipate having any problems with Brown, nor should he expect anything less from Brown. It isn't Brown vs. Hobbs. They are teammates now. They are going to push each other. They are going to make each other a better player because both Brown and Hobbs want to be part of something special here.

So what is the picture at cornerback? The Eagles are loaded, frankly speaking. Asante Samuel is a Pro Bowl player. Both Brown and Hobbs have had successful careers as starters. Joselio Hanson is one of the best third cornerbacks in the league and was rewarded with a long-term contract prior to the start of free agency.

There is a group of young cornerbacks pushing beyond those four. Draft picks, players with experience around the league ... the Eagles have as complete a picture at cornerback as they have ever had. And one thing they definitely have, one thing that the coaches absolutely love, is the depth to push each other.

Competition, says Hobbs, is a good thing.

"Competition is always a great thing. I think that's what this world is built on," said Hobbs. "I definitely think that's what America is built on. Right now, you're seeing a micro of a macro, as far as what really goes on in the world. Competition brings out the best in everybody. Without it, everybody is kind of at the same plateau. There are some positives in that and there are some negatives in that.

"But when you're talking about competing in the National Football League trying to be World Champions, and sustain winning records year in and year out, you need that level of competition."

*Micro of a macro *... Good stuff. Hobbs understands the picture here. He is not going to be handed a thing. For that matter, nobody should be handed anything. The Eagles have sufficiently challenged positions through their series of moves in the off-season to provide a great deal of depth here. Cornerback is no question near the top of that list. You just can't have enough cornerbacks on a team. If it all works out and Samuel, Brown, Hanson and Hobbs are the first four cornerbacks here -- with a fifth to be determined in training camp -- then the Eagles have the range to match up very, very well with any set of receivers on the field.

For Hobbs, the weekend is critical to learn just a bit about the Eagles' ways. He will pick it up quickly and he will fit right in with his personality, his drive to succeed and his talent on the field.

Hey, the questions aren't going to stop. Hobbs knows the deal, and so far he has provided all the right answers. His play is the next thing to do the talking.

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