Offensive tackle Todd Herremans and defensive end Trent Cole are the two longest-tenured members of the Philadelphia Eagles. Since they were both selected in the 2005 NFL Draft, the Eagles have won 66 regular season games, three playoff games and two division titles.
However, the Eagles have won just 12 games in the past two seasons. They haven't won a playoff game since the 2008 season.
To help the Eagles make the transition into the Chip Kelly era, players look to the veterans to see how they react to all of the changes. With a burning desire to re-establish a winning program in Philadelphia, Herremans and Cole have been on board supporting Kelly's methods even though he has never coached at the NFL level.
"I've bought in. I think everybody else has too. It's up to us to make it work, so it's just not on Chip. He puts it in the players' hands," said Herremans, a fourth-round pick in 2005. "I think it's important for everybody to buy in. If all of our minds are working in the same direction, that's how we're going to accomplish something."
Kelly has noticed how the veterans have set the tone early in the offseason program.
"Herremans has been great. All the older players here, Trent Cole, there are a lot of guys that have played some years in this league. But every single one of them to a guy has been fantastic," Kelly said. "All those guys are thirsty for knowledge. That is the great part about being here. They've set the tone for the younger guys."
With Kelly's arrival, all of the Eagles are starting from a blank slate, which can be viewed through either a positive or a negative prism. As a two-time Pro Bowl selection, Cole has been one of the most prolific sack artists in franchise history, ranking third all-time in team annals. But coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign, Cole wants to prove that last year was an aberration.
"There's a new Philadelphia Eagles. We're excited. There's nothing wrong with having change. We're excited for this year," Cole said. "I'm a type of guy who shows through my game play and how I carry myself on and off the field. That's just kind of my way of showing other teammates of mine and the new guys who are coming in a way to be successful in this game."
Kelly has been able to work with his players now for three weeks. The team concluded its veteran pre-draft minicamp on Thursday. The start of the regular season is still months away, but Kelly has already scored an important win - getting the Eagles, including key veterans, to believe that his highly successful program can win in the NFL.
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