Philadelphia Eagles' DeMeco Ryans works out at the team's NFL football training facility, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Matt Rourke

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.

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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 camaraderie in the locker room," Ryans said. "We have to hang around off the field and get to know comraderie each other so it can bring us together as a team."

The players also have to get to know the coaching staff.

Running backs coach Duce Staley and tight ends coach Ted Williams are the only holdovers from last season under Andy Reid. Kelly hired 20 new assistant coaches, strength coordinators and athletic trainers.

His most interesting addition is new sports science coordinator Shaun Huls. Huls, who has not yet been made available for comment, most recently served as the head strength and conditioning coach and combatives coordinator for Navy Special Warfare. His responsibilities included helping to train the Navy SEALs.

"The game of football has evolved," Kelly said when announcing his new coaches in late February. "As I think we as coaches have to evolve with it. If you look back 50 years ago, players weren't allowed to have water during the game. There was a bucket on the sideline, and you had a ladle and you scooped it out and had a sip, but if you drank water, you were soft.

"There are a lot of other sports that have evolved faster than football from a science standpoint and we want to be on the cutting edge of that. I just think it's a different experience that (Huls) brings to the table. But are we planning to attack a foreign country? No. We've got enough trouble with the 31 teams we've got in this league."

Other changes are coming on the field.

Kelly is planning on creating a versatile, high-octane offense that he used to light up scoreboards at the University of Oregon. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis is expected to switch from the 4-3 alignment the Eagles have used for the last 25 years or so to a 3-4 scheme.

As a result, Ryans will be playing inside linebacker after enjoying a solid season as the Eagles' middle linebacker in 2012.

"I don't care if it's a 4-3, 3-4, hybrid or whatever," Ryans said. "As a linebacker, it's all about having the right mindset to do get the job done with whatever is asked of you.

"I'm excited about all this. I know Chip is going to put us in the best position to win and whatever my position is, I'll do my best. To me, Chip is a very high-energy guy and that's something we definitely need here."

EXTRA POINTS: The New York Giants signed defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who spent the previous eight seasons with the Eagles. Patterson joins DT Cullen Jenkins, who also was cut in February, in moving from the Eagles to the Giants.

A first-round draft pick in 2005 out of Southern California, the 29-year-old Patterson played in 115 games with 99 starts. He made 551 tackles, 16 sacks, had four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.

Contact David Weinberg:


Eagles' preseason schedule

(exact dates and times to be determined)

Aug. 8-11: vs. New England

Aug. 15-19: vs. Carolina

Aug. 22-25: at Jacksonville

Aug. 29-30: at New York Jets


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