Sunday, February 14, 2016

LB merry-go-round back on?

There's been a merry-go-round at linebacker over the last few seasons, but the Eagles made efforts this offseason to make it stop with the acquisitions of DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

LB merry-go-round back on?

(Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
(Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

There's been a merry-go-round at linebacker over the last few seasons, but the Eagles made efforts this offseason to make it stop with the acquisitions of DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

Could it start spinning again when the season opens Sunday at Cleveland?

Kendricks said Thursday after practice that the coaches had each of the Eagles' six linebackers practicing in various permutations in several packages on defense.

"I would expect for all of us to be playing because that's what we're game planning with," said Kendricks, who is expected to start at strong-side. He added: "It depends on what they feel and what they want because we're all playing every package. ... They're intertwining us with each other."

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For instance, Kendricks said that Jamar Chaney was playing alongside him in one variation in the nickel defense.

"That went fine," Kendricks said of working with Chaney. "That got us in a rotation all the time so we all know each other's tendencies and how we do. Couple of times Chaney helped me out today with my fits and what I needed to do. And Meco will do the same thing."

Chaney had been sidelined with a hamstring injury. He said he's completely healthy. While he was out, Brian Rolle was demoted at weak-side, and Akeem Jordan was promoted. He said he's back at strong-side backing up Kendricks, but that might not matter. All of the Eagles' linebackers -- Casey Matthews is the sixth -- appear to be interchangeable.

"They're going to try and find a way to put the best guys out there," Chaney said. "They just told us to be ready."

If Chaney is out there for parts of the nickel defense, it does call into question whether Ryans is the three-down linebacker the Eagles said that got when they acquired him from Houston in March.

Asked if he was still a three-down linebacker, Ryans said, "I am."

So that does mean you'll be out there for all three downs on Sunday?

"That's the coach's decision," Ryans said. "I don't decide who goes out on the field."

Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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