Congratulations to Mychal Kendricks! He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend. He now joins Nnamdi Asomugha, Mike Gibson, and, of course, DeSean Jackson with the Eagles. Do they have more Cal players than the Seahawks???
The Eagles had a disappointing year last year and had definite problems on defense. They will look to Kendricks to play an important role in turning around the so-called "Dream Team." To find out more about the Eagles linebacking situation, we turned to JasonB of Bleeding Green Nation to fill in the blanks. Many thanks to JasonB and BGN for taking some time to answer these questions for us. Good luck to Kendricks in Philly! GO BEARS AND GO EAGLES!1. What will Kendricks role look like with the Eagles this year - is he being looked at as a pass rusher or every down backer? or back-up initially? Special teams role?
Andy Reid said yesterday that he's going to compete for the starting job on the strong side right away. So he's going to have a shot to be an every down backer from the get go, whether that happens or not obviously depends on how he plays.
2. Who are the returning linebackers with whom Kendricks will have to compete for time?
There's really not a whole lot. On the strong side there's guys like Keenan Clayton, a mid round pick from Oklahoma a couple years ago & Moise Fokou who has been the starter for the past two years. Fokou was a 7th round pick and really has started by default.
The weakside is really the same way. Young guys that were mid-to late round picks like Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney & Brian Rolle. It's only the middle, with DeMeco Ryans, that's really set. So it's really wide open for Kendricks to earn a spot here.
3. What is the style of defense that Philly plays? 4-3? 3-4? Flex? What are the linebackers expected to do - coverage? Read and react? Attack?
Well, things have changed now that Jim Washburn was brought in to run the wide 9 system, which lines up the DEs wide to give them a straight shot at the QB. That's changed the job of the LBs here and last year they really struggled with it. So one of the big initiatives this offseason has been to bring in LBs that can react and attack gaps.
When you've got your DEs lined up as wide as the Eagles do, it can creates lanes on the inside, so you've got to have active LBs that can fill those lanes.
4. Are you collecting Cal guys? (Ashomgha, Jackson and now Kendricks)
And actually OG Mike Gibson as well. As of right now, I believe the Eagles have more players from Cal than any other school
5. The Eagles only had 2 players with over 60 tackles last year. How badly did the Eagles need a linebacker?
Yeah, there's no question in my mind it was the #1 need this offseason. DeMeco Ryans was the big addition in the middle and I think will have the most dramatic impact, but I've been on the Kendricks bandwagon since the combine as well.
I was a little surprised to learn that they'll have him on the strong side and I'm interested to see how he handles covering NFL TEs... But in the next few years, he could really end up at any of three starting spots.
6. When watching film of Kendricks, which Eagle (past or present) does he most remind you of?
Honestly I can't equate him with any Eagles because for one, they have really had any good ones in recent years and the really good guys of the past were all the big, monster types.
But I actually think he compares favorably to DeMeco Ryans. Another guy with speed, who can attack and likes to blitz, was extremely productive in college but slipped a bit due to concerns about his size.
Ryans' reputation as a leader and a mentor in Houston bodes very well for Kendricks. He's going to have a guy with a similar body and skill set who has made a bunch of pro bowls and won defensive rookie of the year right next to him, willing to teach him. That's huge.