PHILADELPHIA (AP) — This Eagles’ defense won’t be pushed around.
For the second straight day at Philadelphia’s training camp, a fight broke out between an offensive and defensive player. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher took on wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on Monday. Linebacker Trent Cole got into it with All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy a day earlier.
“We’re just playing ball,” Fletcher said. “Emotions got going and one thing led to another. It’s football. Things happen. We’re all working to get better. We just go on to the next day.”
Maclin walked off the field and declined to speak to reporters. He looked angry about the fight.
Cornerback Cary Williams was glad to see it.
“You’re not supposed to be friends at camp, although you look out for your brother,” Williams said. “You’re fighting for jobs, fighting for opportunities.”
Williams and his defensive mates have a chip on their shoulder. The defense ranked 29th in the NFL last year during Philadelphia’s worst-to-first season and was the main reason the Eagles lost to New Orleans in a wild-card playoff game.
While Chip Kelly’s offense received all the accolades, the defense was viewed as a weakness. But they weren’t as bad as the numbers and they improved significantly after a poor first month.
“We have a great team, a great chance here,” Williams said. “We’re going to be aggressive, fly around and it’s going to be a different defense that you see out there. We can’t talk about it; we have to be about it.”
So, they’re setting the tone early in camp.
Things got heated Sunday when Cole and McCoy went at it. The veterans are friends and both downplayed the incident.
“Their emotions got the better part of them,” Kelly said. “Those things happen. It’s no different than sometimes little kids don’t get along very well and throw Tonka trucks at each other. It’s not a real big deal.”
Fletcher and Maclin exchanged punches following a pass play down the right sideline. Throwing fists with helmets on isn’t the smartest idea, but neither player was injured.
“You’re not swinging to hurt the guy,” Williams said. “They have helmets on. You have to protect him and protect yourself. It’s common sense. It’s almost a faking situation. You break your hand in a fight, you’re a complete idiot. That’s great we have physicality on both sides of the ball. As soon as we get off the field, we’re buddy-buddy. We’re family. You can’t take that into the locker room.”
The team wore pads for the first time Monday in an open practice at Lincoln Financial Field in front of approximately 15,000 fans.
“It’s all in fun. It happens,” McCoy said about the fight.
NOTES: The biggest surprise for Kelly since his transition from Oregon to the NFL is the “hype” surrounding the draft. “The fact that people would watch the Combine; there’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep,” Kelly said. “So I don’t know why people watch it on television. They are running 40-yard dashes.”
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