Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins was in high spirits as he came off the field after his first practice of 2012 on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. He noticed the energy and the ability of the Eagles' talent-infused defense right away, and he was excited about the prospects ahead.
"There should be no excuses at all," said Jenkins, who missed the first week of the Organized Team Activities as his wife recovered from a procedure and he played "Mr. Mom," as he put it. "With as many veterans as we have on this team, if there any grey areas, they have to be resolved. It can't be something that carries over into the season. We have the pieces here.
"It was good to get back out here with the team. It's good energy out there coming off the season last year. There's a lot of determination this year. You can just see it in everybody, where it's a different feel from last year. We weren't out here this year because of the lockout, but you can just see the difference in everybody."
Looking back, Jenkins thinks that the team was perhaps caught up in the idea of being the "Dream Team," after the free-agency spree landed a handful of marquee names. Maybe, just maybe, that kind of thinking took away some of the edge players need to succeed.
"I know the second I got here and I heard the phrase 'Dream Team' going around, that was just something like, 'No, no, no.' Hopefully, we don't have anything like going around this year," said Jenkins. "We can just work for it and know we have to work for it."
Jenkins called the acquisition of middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans "big time" and said that he knows the defense is far advanced from where it was last year. The selections of tackle Fletcher Cox and end Vinny Curry give the defensive line some promising depth.
"You can see right away how talented they are, how quick and eager to learn they are," said Jenkins. "Once they get some experience and understand how linemen work and how to read blocks, they're going to help a lot. Right now, we just go day by day and learn and get better each time out."