Mychal Kendricks the latest tool in the Eagles' toolbox
The Eagles’ best defensive player is probably Fletcher Cox. Their most feared defensive player probably does not exist at this point -- or certainly hasn’t yet raised his hand. But their most interesting defensive player might just be linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
It has been the summer of Kendricks, a summer that continued Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. Eagles coach Chip Kelly has already said that Kendricks is the Eagles’ best cover linebacker, and on Thursday night, defensive coordinator Billy Davis helped add to the portfolio by blitzing Kendricks in certain situations and watching him get into the backfield.
Kelly warned that we shouldn’t get carried away, of course, and kind of dismissed the notion that the blitzes were being dialed up with Kendricks’ specific abilities in mind. “I think a lot of it is by formation and who is coming and who is not coming,” Kelly said.
“I've seen that since we started with (Kendricks),” Kelly said. “He's a very, very athletic linebacker, and he's arguably our most athletic linebacker. I think he does possess the ability to blitz the quarterback, but he may be our best cover linebacker. So that is a quandary for you.
“Do you want to bring him and create pressure or do you bring the other guys and leave him in coverage? But I think his ability to do both, that versatility is going to be key for us.”
The Eagles’ first outing, against New England, was a horrorshow of over-pursuit and missed assignments. The Panthers game, a 14-9 victory, was much better. Some of it was obviously that the Patriots have an elite NFL offense and the Panthers have a middling offense, but part of it was just an overall settling down by the Eagles. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis suggested Kendricks was one of the people who needed some calming.
"I thought Mychal's one of the ones who settled down a little bit,” Davis said. “He was a little too revved up last week . . .