Philadelphia Eagles News

Expectations High As Practices Begin

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- It's a new year, but the Eagles want to get back to the same place. Actually, a couple wins further than last season. The journey began at 8:45 a.m. when rookies and selected veterans stepped onto the practice fields on the Goodman Campus of Lehigh University.

The Eagles swept through a memorable off-season to arrive at the cusp of the 2009 season filled with high expectations and presented with a roster that, on paper, looks as good as any in the National Football League.

"We understand that expectations are up and we welcome that as a football team, and as a coaching staff," head coach Andy Reid said. "I think there's good talent here."

Although these first three days serve more as a refresher course for the rookies, Reid was very matter-of-fact when outlining what he expects from his players, especially those unfamiliar with an Andy Reid-run training camp.

"We will work hard this camp and as expectations go up, obviously tolerance levels go down," Reid said. "I expect those new people that are here to get in the flow quickly and I have no reason to think that they won't. That challenge is there for them.

"I expect them to make sure they're doing their best and keep it consistent. And when I say tolerance I think I'm referring more to that." Photo Gallery : 2009 Training Camp: Day 1

Reid said it's the responsibility of both the coaches and players to go out and play their best football from Day 1.

To that end, Reid cited specific areas the team will focus on improving for 2009, including red zone, goal line and short yardage, as well as eliminating the mistakes and execution problems that plagued the team at times last season.

Some new faces in spots could help.

They rebuilt the offensive line by signing Stacy Andrews in free agency and then trading for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. They also welcomed back a healthy Shawn Andrews, who moves out to right tackle for the first time in his NFL career.

At the skill positions, the team added a "true" fullback in Leonard Weaver before adding three young playmakers in the draft - receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Cornelius Ingram.

Philadelphia's defense, which ranked third in the NFL last year with a young group and a changing set of faces at linebacker, returns 10 starters and welcomes in some veteran help with the additions of safeties Sean Jones and Rashad Baker in free agency and cornerback Ellis Hobbs via a trade on draft weekend.

Still, there are questions to be answered and this two-week set of two-a-days will begin providing answers.

"You're only as good as the day's work that you put in," Reid said."As a coach I want to see guys coming out here and working hard. I want to see them mastering the playbook and executing.

"I think that it's important that we come together as a football team. We'll see how that works out at this camp."

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