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Nick Sirianni's Connection Principle and Chemistry Growing

There are plety of examples of the bonding taking place on this Eagles team
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PHILADELPHIA – A day after Jordan Mailata said Landon Dickerson was an “athletic fridge,” the rookie responded.

“If I’m a fridge, he’s a walk-in freezer,” said Dickerson on Thursday. “A fridge and freezer combo, I guess you can’t go wrong with that.”

Certainly not with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and the New Orleans Saints (5-4), too, owners of the best run defense in the NFL. The Eagles (4-6), meanwhile, have surged to the third spot among all NFL teams in rushing.

This is about more than that, though. Maybe even more about football.

This connecting thing head coach Nick Sirianni has preached since Day One, seems to be manifesting itself before our very eyes.

Before Dickerson met with reports outside the NovaCare Complex, he and Mailatawere goofing around, with Mailata whispering something to Dickerson then backing away. 

Dickerson went playfully after him with Mailata laughing. The rookie stopped his pursuit when reporters began to gather.

“I enjoy every day I get to step foot on the field, inside the facility, the meeting rooms, be around these guys, I love football,” said Dickerson. “I think that’s a huge thing when it comes to this. You have to love every second you’re here.”

VIDEO: Dickerson calls Mailata a walk-in freezer and talks more about his rookie year.

Dickerson then followed up by asking how well he was able to acclimate inside an offensive line room where the players have been together for several years.

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“I think like-minded people always have a good understanding, like, we all have the same mindset,” he said. “We all want to come here, work hard, and get better every day. That’s an easy thing to bond over.”

MORE: Jalen Hurts Explains Relationship with Mannings, Particularly Peyton

Then there’s the bond between cornerback Darius Slay and rookie WR DeVonta Smith. The Eagles released a social media clip of the two going against each other during practice, except it’s Smith lining up as a DB and Slay as a receiver.

The two are trying to outdo each other at their opposite positions.

“I mean, he’s like a little bit a bad kid,” said Smith on Thursday. “He don’t know how to stop. He just wanted to keep getting whooped, so I’m going to have to keep doing it…

“Like I said, he’s like a little kid. He plays a lot. Just the energy he brings, there’s never a dull moment around him. He’s always got you laughing. Even with football, just his jokes, everything, he’s kind of helped me because he made me more comfortable knowing that I can go to him to talk about any DB that I’m going against and things like that.”

As Smith spoke inside the media tent, CB Avonte Maddox walked by and started mimicking Smith’s touchdown celebration, the one he did after catching a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts.

Smith tried not to laugh. It didn’t work. He kept his focus as well as he could, however, he said he's gotten some good-natured guff from several teammates about a dance that was awkward-looking and one that probably needs some tweaks.

Chemistry was a big reason for the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017. That was a tight-knit locker room. It was also talented.

The Eagles aren’t quite there, yet, from a talent standpoint, but the chemistry construction and the Sirianni connection seem to be progressing just fine.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.