Wisely, Andy Reid and Juan Castillo have smelled the coffee, and Ryans will be pulled out of 3rd down-and-long situations to be reinforced by a coverage LB with younger legs...
DeMeco Ryans, 6-1, 247, 7th year out of Alabama, was drafted in the 2nd round by Houston in 2006... he's still got the juice to fill the gaps against the running game and short screens in the NFL, but due to natural loss of foot-speed after Achilles tendon injury two years ago, the former all-pro Houston Texan is still suspect on obvious passing downs...
The Eagles’ defense could feature as many as six linebackers in Sunday’s regular-season opener at Cleveland.
“They’re all going to play,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said Friday in quotes provided by the team. “They [linebackers] all have a role in one phase or another. We had success with it towards the end of last year. They are all interchangeable, which is a good thing. They all know each other’s position and have gotten reps at all the positions, so it works out well.”
“We’ve done this in the past. We did it as far back as when (late defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) was here (from 1999-2008). We put guys in and took guys out for certain situations and I think you see that throughout the league. You see linebackers that rotate. I don’t think it’s any novelty here.”
DeMeco Ryans is expected to start at middle linebacker and be flanked by Akeem Jordan (weakside linebacker) and rookie Mychal Kendricks (strongside linebacker). Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle — all of whom started at various points last season — also will get their share of playing time depending on down and distance.
That wasn’t the original plan. The Eagles acquired Ryans in a trade with Houston in the hopes that he would bring stability and leadership to the group. They have been lacking a standout in the middle since Jeremiah Trotter was in his prime about a decade ago. Last season, Matthews started the season in the middle but was replaced by Chaney after just two games.
“I don’t decide who goes out on the field,” Ryans said Thursday. “That’s up to the coaches. I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whatever it takes to get it done. It’s all about winning games.”
Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowler with the Texans, started all 16 games for the Texans last season but got off to a slow start while recovering from a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon suffered in 2010. He was a non-factor for the Eagles during the preseason, making just five tackles in three games, including none in the first game against Pittsburgh, before sitting out the finale.
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo took offense to the suggestion that Ryans has yet to live up to expectations Thursday.
“I think that DeMeco did make plays,” Castillo said. “He made plays in practice. He did things. He got everybody lined up. He’s been a leader for our group. He’s done some good things that we see and sometimes I think it’s not always judged on tackles. He is feeling comfortable with our system and he’s doing a good job for our young kids.
“I think the thing that’s really special is that you see him in (meetings) and the notes that he takes and how he prepares for games. That’s invaluable. You see the other kids sitting right next to him and they see the way he takes notes and the way he prepares and that’s where he is really valuable to those guys. I’ve seen the difference he makes in the middle. Think about how much we really played (during the preseason). It really begins on Sunday. We really haven’t played that much through the preseason, but it begins on Sunday.”
Castillo, Reid and linebackers coach Mike Caldwell have been mixing and matching various combinations since training camp began in late July. They initially had so many linebackers that they traded Moises Fokou and Greg Lloyd Jr. to Indianapolis.
Rolle opened the preseason as the starting weakside linebacker but was demoted in favor of Akeem Jordan two weeks ago. Chaney, who was supposed to challenge for that starting job, was slowed by a strained hamstring and only recently began practicing again. Matthews has been bothered by a high ankle sprain but practiced this week.
Kendricks, a second-round draft pick from the University of California, has been the most consistent player of the group. “I would expect for all of us to be playing,” Kendricks said Thursday. “The coaches have got us in a rotation all the time, so we know each other’s tendencies and how we do things.”
I'm all for the strategic rotation of your linebackers. I have accepted that DeMeco is not the same athlete that got selected for the Pro Bowl a few years ago. He is still solid, but he is slower. It happens. So you take him out of obvious situations that require footspeed. What is the big deal?
Don't major league baseball managers make a living out of playing the percentages when they match up relief pitchers with certain game situations? At least in the NFL, you can bring the guy you "relieved" back into the game for appropriate down-and-distance situations... to me, that's a Win-Win...
So I reject the naysayers who are saying DeMeco Ryans is a let-down or crippled answer to the perennial MIKE question in Philly... Judge him only on his 1st and 2nd down responsibilities, if you must...because it is okay to bring in a relief pitcher on 3rd down. This is the modern NFL. We do pitch counts now. We do percentage substitutions. We do personnel matchups. It's okay...it's called evolution.
I'm way more concerned about the 9-technique pass rush of the Eagles being able to set the edge against Cleveland's running game. You better be able to set that edge with outside-in leverage, boy, or we could be in for a Woody-style slugfest. Cleveland (and Brandon Weeden) knows us very well.
Kyle Bush can pack his bags, Gorden beats him for the last Chase spot.
Shoulda seen him after the race, looked like he swallered some of them M&M's whole...........he was not happy.
Gonna be a good finish to the season for sure, should be some great racing.
Oh, and Its Game Day!!!!!!
I guess an extra $300 a week for 16 weeks is like $4800 over the season. But chances of landing on the active roster here has got to be slimmer than the dolphins roster
@Tom Jackson Oh gawd...one of them alter egos put me in the shit with the French-swamp-thing...
I never have played that game... Teej... It was prolly you and Brichung that did it
You guys ain't gonna believe this... This Girl Kiri that is REALLY keen on me... Just got into Local Government!!!!! Voted in yesterday by a Landslide
Crazy crazy life... Maybe I DO need a sugar mumma after all
Hey Jerky, maybe you should get Proactive about Woods... and send his highlights every week to Howie Until its burned into his head
12:01 AM OPENING DAY IS UPON US !!!!!!!!!!!!
Merry Opening Day To All !
And to ALL, a Good Night !
@Jerky Your boy Wood is awesome... I watched him the rest of that game
@beanstalk He's ultra talented. I want him to become a Philadelphia Eagle
@beanstalk You and me both, bro!
@Jerky man I haven't left the house... literally... That 5 day bender last week has cured me off partying... Got some Good phone numbers tho..
Looks like the Site I am working at ain't ready yet.. So I might get a few more days off... Thats good cool, Eagles Live tomorrow... I am gonna have trouble sleeping I am that Pumped this year!!
@beanstalk It's good. I'm staying in being lazy this weekend. Long week at work. How about you?
@Jerky Yep...Why not indeed...
How was your evening?
Eagles gave WR B.J. Cunningham an extra $300 per week compared to the other players on the practice squad.
@Kenemeka $300 extra a week can't hurt none either.
I don't know, but that doesn't seem like a whole bunch of cash to me......considering he will have a better chance of making the Dolphins team from PS
@Kenemeka The Eagles wanted to draft him in the 6th, but the Dolphins stole him, so they went with McNutt. He's a really good slot possession receiver
@Kenemeka doubt it, if Riley Cooper don't do aquat this year, he'll probably be elsewhere in 2013. BJ or Nutt will prob take his spot
@Kenemeka 6th round pick... Great catcher... Seems similar to McNutt
@Kenemeka Nah... But I just witnessed a Brizer sighting at the dump...
I thought you finally snapped and kilt him off
Wow the French Toe Rag is a real hoot isn't she?!?
Somehow I have managed to draw her Hair armpit ire without Even starting some shit?!? F***ing Jerky and ATV... How come I am getting in trouble for you!!!
Guilt by association I guess
@beanstalk Best to leave her alone...she needs time..to heal...I don't understand women very well, but I know she needs time away from us...
@beanstalk she's mean to me... and I wasn't even a part of the eye when shit got hairy
@Leyden Yeah well, don't worry she has shown everyone her true colors... She is just a bitter bitch.. So don't let it bother you. Just sit back and let her be Le Misérable...Its pathetic/hilarious