DeMeco Ryans was brought to Philadelphia for a dual purpose. First, to finally solidify a middle linebacker position that hasn't had a good, consistent starter since who knows when.... But also, to bring some leadership to what was a very young and inexperienced LB corps last season.
The thing is, Ryans developed as a leader in Houston over the course of 6 years. So he can he just step in here on day 1 and expect the guys to see him the same way? How long does it take to become a leader?
"It doesn't take long," said Ryans. "it just takes time to learn the guys, the locker room, and get comfortable around here. Being here over the last month and working out with the guys, I'm starting to get more and more comfortable."
Of course, the only real question about Ryans entering this year is his health, which he said his no concern.
"I'm hitting the ground running and not slowed down by any injuries or anything like that. I'm happy to be out here and able to be running full speed out here with the guys."
"There are a lot of playmakers and a lot of speed, that's one thing I see coming out. There's a lot of speed on offense and things are happening very fast out there. I see a lot of playmakers. I'm excited about our offense, and going against them is going to be tough for us. That's what you need is to go against a tough offense in practice because it makes game day a lot easier when you're facing opposing offenses."
One of those playmakers on offense is Pro Bowl RB LeSean McCoy, who showed up to Eagles OTAs this week a very happy and very rich man. The 23 year old Eagles RB enjoyed breakout season in 2011 leading the NFL in TDs and finishing fourth in rushing. The gaudy stats aren't making Shady complacent however.
"I have so much room for improvement," he said. "I think of all the stuff I've done so far with yards, touchdowns, and blocking, but I look at tape and see so much that I could do to get myself better. A lot of players think they have something that they need to get better at. I'm one of those guys where I'm always trying to work hard, compete, and get better."
McCoy says the desire to constantly get better and never be satisfied comes in part from his mentor, Brian Westbrook.
"I try to model myself after [RB] Brian [Westbrook], who no matter what he did or how great of a game he had, he watched film and figured out what he could do better. I try to take little stuff from each player's game, and with Brian, I take a lot of stuff from his game. There are some things I could definitely do better as far as picking out things out and getting better."
Finally, he was asked the question pretty much every Eagles was and will be asked this week... Did you learn from last year's disappointment?
"I think so. With the expectations and us not only not meeting our goals but not making the playoffs, we learned a lot. I think it humbled us. With all the big time players that we have, we really have to check ourselves and go into the season to prove ourselves. I really think all of the hype is out the window and it's a new year. I think there's a lot of pressure for us as players because we fought hard for our coach and he's back here again. We have to make sure we do the right things."