PHILADELPHIA - New Eagles coach Chip Kelly is seemingly changing everything except the team's nickname.
Players who reported for this week's voluntary workouts at the NovaCare Complex discovered that their lockers have been moved around, there is new cuisine in the dining room and even the pattern and pace of their workouts in the weight room have been revamped. The Eagles announced last month that training camp will be held at their practice facility after a 17-year stint at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
Count linebacker DeMeco Ryans among the players who have embraced the culture shock.
"In my mind, it's good for us," Ryans said Thursday after a workout at the NovaCare Complex. "I think change is good. Change is here and we should accept it. I'm excited to have Chip as my coach and I'm really looking forward to seeing how we progress and what else he has in store for us."
The biggest shakeup has been in the locker room. Although it has been off limits to the media, Ryans and other players have mentioned that the dynamic is totally different.
For the first time in at least 30 years, players' stalls are not arranged according to position. Ryans is no longer stationed with Mychal Kendrics, newcomer Connor Barwin and the other linebackers. Quarterbacks Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon and others are not next to each other. Tackle Todd Herremans told the Delaware County Times last week that he is now neighbors with new linebacker Jason Phillips instead of center Jason Kelce.
"I moved over one locker to the end by all the outlets," Herremans said. "I think it's going to help us blend a little better as a team. You're with your positions so much in the meeting rooms and everything. This will help us hold each other a little more accountable."
Accountability was lacking last season, which was one of the reasons the Eagles finished in last place in the NFC East with a 4-12 record.
Ryans echoed the sentiment Thursday, indicating that the more bonding the players can do during the offseason, the better it will be from a chemistry standpoint during the season.
"We still have to get used to each other and it's going to take some time to build comraderie in the locker room," Ryans said. "We have to hang around off the field and get to know each other so it can bring us together as a team."