As noise in the locker room gets louder, the smile on Bruce Arians’ face grows wider.
The first-year coach knew it would be a task to assimilate so many new faces after he was hired in January. He liked what he saw in the team’s held-over core, but also realized “when you add a bunch of new players, it’s hard to really start caring about each other.”
Back then, rookie running back
“When I first got here, the guys were a little distant,” Ellington said. “Moreso the older guys from the younger guys. I feel like that happened because a lot of the younger guys hadn’t proven themselves yet, so the older
Lately, though, players and coaches can’t stop gushing about the team’s chemistry.
On Friday, Arians did an interview from inside the locker room and talked about the decibel level. He had a good feeling about the Colts game two days later because the players were in a jovial mood, laughing and joking with one another.
Then the team went out and played its most complete game of the year, dismantling the Colts, 40-11, to improve to 7-4 and stay in the thick of the NFC wild card race.
It’s been a common sight recently, as the team camaraderie has built up in tandem with the four-game winning streak.
“The 53 men that we go to work with every day, we really do care about each other,” wide receiver
“You need to be the team that has dinner with each other outside the facilities,” he said. “You need to know each other’s families.”
Once that’s established, it can buoy the communication and standard of play on the field.
“You can have the best defense in the world,” defensive end
While the top players tend to set the standard in the locker room, chemistry can be easily affected by malcontents. Only 11 players start on each side of the ball and there are only so many snaps to go around.
Every player on the team has been a superstar growing up, and taking a lesser role can be a tough pill to swallow.
It is for cornerback
“For me you just say, ‘Hey, do what you need to do,’” Cason said. “How willing are you to make plays any way possible? I can go down there (on the coverage units) and make tackles. I can help spring a guy with a block. I’m in the flow now of getting done what I need to get done. I’m excited about every opportunity I get out there.”
Said Colledge: “If your role is to play six plays a game, you play those six plays the best damn way you can and you wait for your opportunity.”
The team is winning, which makes it much easier for players to get along. Arians, though, believes the camaraderie is at the root of the success.
“The guys we brought in are great locker room guys and fit in so well with the group that was already here,” he said. “They’ve (all) embraced the rookies and they know how important the rookies are to us, so when you have a team who cares about each other, then you have accountability. When you don’t, guys will not be accountable for each other, and that’s what it takes to win.”
ELLINGTON ADDED TO INJURY REPORT
Running back Andre Ellington was added to the injury report as limited Thursday with a knee injury. It is something that bears watching Friday given the importance of Ellington to the offense. Safety
For the Eagles, only safety Earl Wolff (knee) remained as a DNP, and no player was limited.