Friday, November 21, 2014
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Linebacker by Committee?

Several interesting developments from Friday's final real practice before the Eagles' season opener Sunday at Cleveland. The most interesting might have been Andy Reid's announcement that he plans to play all six of his linebackers --- not just on special teams, as you would expect, but in the defense.

Linebacker by Committee?

Andy Reid said that he has been "very happy" with DeMeco Ryans so far. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Andy Reid said that he has been "very happy" with DeMeco Ryans so far. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Several interesting developments from Friday's final real practice before the Eagles' season opener Sunday at Cleveland. The most interesting might have been Andy Reid's announcement that he plans to play all six of his linebackers --- not just on special teams, as you would expect, but in the defense.

This helps explain a dizzying back and forth in practice the past few days, with Jamar Chaney in the nickel, for example, along with Mychal Kendricks Thursday, and DeMeco Ryans back in Chaney's spot Friday, and Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle involved in other packages, along with starter Akeem Jordan.

Kendricks hinted at something like this Thursday, but reporters were more focused on an apparent increased role for Chaney, who was bothered by a hamstring during the preseason. Friday, Reid said he plans to rotate his linebackers, much as he (or, supposedly, Juan Castillo) does his defensive linemen.

"We had success with [using linebackers situationally] toward the end of last year. Guys know their role and can focus in on it. They're all interchangeable, which is a good thing. They all know each other's position and have gotten reps at all the positions," Reid said.

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Reid said he didn't think constantly shuffling linebackers in and out, in addition to d-linemen, would hurt consistency or flow. (Let's see an opponent go no-huddle; Andy's theory will get a nice test.)

Reid insisted this shuffle was not a commentary on the play of new middle linebacker Ryans, brought in to play three downs and eliminate the constant shuffle.

"I've been very happy with DeMeco. I'm giving everybody an opportunity," Reid said.

Other tidbits:

*The only Eagles not healthy enough to play Sunday are the ones previously announced -- wideout Riley Cooper (collarbone) and safety/special teams ace Colt Anderson (knee).

*Seems possible rookie running back Bryce Brown will get some touches, after an impressive preseason. LeSean McCoy compared Brown's running style to that of Bo Jackson. Asked about this, Brown, born in 1991, had no idea who Bo Jackson was.

*McCoy acknowledged he will miss having Jason Peters running in front of him, far beyond the line; King Dunlap probably won't be blocking at the second level that much.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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