When Jason Peters ruptured his right Achilles tendon in late March, the Eagles knew they had a big hole to fill on the offensive line.
Enter veteran left tackle Demetress Bell.
The 28-year-old signed a five-year deal with the Eagles on April 4, after spending his first four seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.
After his second day of OTAs with the Eagles at the NovaCare Complex, Bell appears to be getting more comfortable with his new team.
Everything is coming together, he said. The more and more you take reps on the field physical reps the more you talk, the better you get the verbiage of the system. Second day was a whole lot better than yesterday.
Bell enters his first season as an Eagle with the not-so-easy task of replacing Peters, who is widely considered one of the best left tackles in football.
I know what they brought me here to do, Bell said. He Peters is a five-time Pro Bowler, but I dont think Ill have a problem filling those shoes.
This isnt the first time in his career Bell will be replacing Peters, either. He took over the starting left tackle job in Buffalo in 2009 when Peters was traded from the Bills to the Eagles.
Although Bell has been hindered by injuries the past few seasons himself, he said he feels great heading into his first year with the Birds.
My physique has changed, he said. Ive lost a lot of body weight. Still weigh 315-320, but I just buffed up a little bit. But I feel great. I dont have any knee braces or nothing like that, so I really feel good.
The Eagles will need Bell to remain healthy this season, especially since their style of play on the offensive line puts an emphasis on quick and athletic linemen who can get down field and block.
Im excited to work with Demetress, center Jason Kelce said. Howard Mudd has a lot of great things to say about him and he thinks that Demetress is more suited for our style of offense.
Hes getting it very quick and I think it helps that hes a veteran. Hes been through different techniques already and hes accustomed to learning. Hes actually done a really good job so far.
Obviously its hard to tell before pads get on how guys are going to handle the new techniques and everything, but hes been a very fast learner; hes fit into the offensive line group very quickly. Were excited to work with him this year.
After entering the off-season as a free agent, Bell seems pleased with his decision to come to Philadelphia.
I think its a great organization and I think I made a great choice of coming here, he said. Im falling in love with being here. Great coaches, great players, everybody has been welcoming me in with open arms. Im loving it really.
It may be only the second day of team activities, but Bell feels he is fitting it nicely with his offensive linemates already.
I think were bonding well, Bell said. The more we talk the better off we are the more Im around them the more we talk, the better we are as a line, as a whole.
I think the more we have these kind of the days like this, the better off it will be for me. Two or three weeks I think Ill be settled in perfect.
E-mail Tim Riday at email@example.com