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Former Eagles defensive lineman Cedric Thornton had some comments about his former head coach's practices in Philadelphia. Thornton spent five seasons with the Eagles, with the past three seasons playing for now San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, before signing with the Dallas Cowboys in March. Earlier this week, he said that expectations in Dallas are higher and practices are more aggressive than they were with his former team.
"A lot more aggressiveness, a lot more impact in our walkthroughs, and they expect us to be in better condition than we were in Philadelphia," Thornton said, via the Dallas Morning News. "Coach Garrett, Coach Marinelli, all the coaches around here have very high expectations for us right now going into the OTAs and going into the minicamp, so are the training camp expectations. It's definitely different in that aspect as far as Philadelphia, but I like it. I love it."
The comment is only interesting because Kelly's practices have a reputation for being intense and focused on health. He even provides personalized smoothies for the team. Numerous 49ers players have commented on the fast tempo of the practices this offseason and the work it is taking to adjust to them.
Some players, like offensive lineman Trent Brown and Andrew Tiller were seen huffing and puffing and doubled over during early practices last month, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Despite what the CBS Sports headline "Ex-Eagles player rips old team, says Cowboys practices are tougher" may portray, Thornton's comments seem to be more a compliment toward his new coaching staff than a direct attack on his old. Besides, what is he supposed to say? That his new team's practices are a piece of cake compared to his old team? That would not go over well with his new coaches. Plus, it just adds fuel to the Cowboys-Eagles divisional rivalry.
Interestingly enough, not only do the Cowboys play the Eagles twice this season – as they always do – but they face Thornton's former head coach Kelly during Week 4 in Santa Clara.