It’s a sudden shift, the jump from mostly-empty hallways to what looked like near-100%-participation in offseason workouts. And this season, that shift was even more noticeable.
“New faces,” Brian Orakpo observed. “The weight room’s different. Lot of changes like that, but it’s good for the long run. Obviously 4-12 wasn’t good, so they had to make a lot of changes, and that goes for personnel, coaching staff, and everything like that.”
Phillip Daniels was even more blunt. “Everything pretty much changed,” he said. “It’s a different look. A new era.”
And that seemed to be the prevailing sentiment among the players that I talked to: changes had been made, but they were necessary, and they put the team on the path to something better.
Daniels, for one, is excited for the chance to do something new. “I was in the last defense for ten years,” he said, “and I’m gonna have fun just learning something new. It’s gonna be fun. I think guys are willing to do it. After the season we had last year? Ain’t nothing we can say. We’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do.”
As a powerlifter — back lifting since the end of January, he says — Daniels also has a certain stake in the revamped weight room; thus far, he’s pleased by that change as well. “I like how they moved stuff around, made more room. Ray Wright seems like he’s a really good coach and he’s gonna have us ready. Hopefully I can go in there, work with him on his stuff, he can work with me on my stuff, and we’ll get me even stronger.”
Daniels, a fifteen year veteran of the league, knows how these changes work, and why they’re important. “I like the moves so far. You hate to see good coaches — good people — leave. But at the same time, sometimes change is good, and we’ve gotta move forward.”
And that’s what today was, for many of these guys: the first day moving forward under the new regime. “Feels good being back.,” Orakpo said. “First day back on the job, seeing everybody, Guys are excited, got new coaches and a new staff onboard, and it’s been good so far.” And for a first day, that’s enough.
Tags: Brian Orakpo, offseason conditioning, Phillip Daniels
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