The Eagles' slow start in 2011 was linked to the NFL's lockout and the elimination of all organized offseason practices in a season in which the Eagles overhauled the roster.
So much change, so little time.
"I think it would have been really hard to be a rookie last year," Eagles first-round pick Fletcher Cox said. "You're playing your last game in December and then you're not doing anything until training camp starts in August, and you're going right into hitting and then the season starts. It's definitely a big advantage for us to have a full offseason to help us learn and get ready for training camp."
The Eagles wrapped up a three-day rookie camp Monday with a single practice in the team's indoor facility. They'll begin a three-day, full-team camp May 22.
Coach Andy Reid was surprised at how well his new players were able to translate what they learned in meetings into what they did on the field during this brief camp.
"I was happy with the way things worked out," he said. "It was good to get the rookies out here, give them the reps they were able to get, which was a lot of them. They were able to show some stuff, and I don't think anyone is leaving here feeling slighted at the number of reps that they got to show.
"I was surprised by their retention."
The camp was intended to give rookies and select veterans a head start on the offseason. So, when the full-team workouts start, they have a chance to keep up with the regulars.
"It's a good foundation," Reid said. "We threw a lot at them, and we feel that they digested it pretty well. I thought this was a great introduction that they can build on. When they get together with the veterans, and now they have that extra pressure and everything is moving a little bit faster, at least they have that foundation to build on."
Reid said second-round pick Mychal Kendricks performed well enough to earn a chance to line up with the starters at strong-side outside linebacker when the full roster reports for next week's camp.
"I'll tell you that he looked good out here," Reid said. "He made a lot of plays and got his hands on the ball."
Reid also revealed that Stanley Havili, a seventh-round draft pick last year, will go into full-team camps as the starting fullback. The coach also said Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, who started most of last year, will return as the starting safeties ahead of Jaiquawn Jarrett, last year's second-round pick.
Reid said safety Colt Anderson, linebacker Jamar Chaney and defensive tackle Mike Patterson will sit out all offseason camps, which end June 14. Anderson is coming off December ACL surgery, Chaney had postseason neck surgery, and Patterson underwent surgery in January to repair a brain malformation. Reid said Chaney and Patterson should be fine for training camp. He's unsure about Anderson.
Tight end Brent Celek (sports hernia), linebacker Moise Fokou (ankle surgery) and center Jason Kelce (foot sprain) should all participate in next week's camp, although Celek's work will be limited.
Celek played in all 16 games last season, averaging 50.7 yards receiving. He also had five touchdowns as the Eagles wrapped up a disappointing 8-8 season.
Reid also said defensive end Maurice Fountain, a 29-year-old former Arena League player who was participating in rookie camp, suffered a torn right patellar tendon at practice on Sunday.