Based on some comments from Eagles coaches, it sounds like Bryce Brown is now going to be the backup RB this week vs Cleveland. Part of this is due to Dion Lewis being less than 100 percent, but it is a very interesting development.
I have no problem with using Brown as the backup. He had a good spring and very good summer. He got better and better and better. Blocking is still an issue. If the coaches trust his blocking, that’s good enough for me. The key here is that Brown just blew everyone away. He was sensational at times. The Eagles haven’t had a RB with his kind of natural gifts (size, speed, moves, hands, vision, etc) since Ricky Watters. LeSean McCoy is a great RB, but Brown is 15 to 20 pounds heavier and he’s faster. Might also have better hands.
The challenge for Brown is to now show that he can be trusted to not make mistakes. Blown assignments, missed blocks, dropped passes, and/or fumbles can lose games. Coaches don’t expect perfection, but mistakes will not be taken lightly. Players must show they are learning after a screw-up. They also better not repeat it.
Brown is a great complement to Shady. Brown is more N-S. Shady is more E-W. Brown is fast. Shady is quick. And so on. Defenses will have to adjust when Brown is in the game.
Don’t think Dion Lewis is completely out of the picture. The Eagles still like him quite a bit.
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The coaches announced that all 6 LBs will play. The starters will be Kendricks-Ryans-Jordan. After that, we have to wait and see how things play out.
Jamar Chaney played in the Nickel with Kendricks some this week. Will Ryans play in the Nickel at all? Who is the Dime LB?
Late last year the coaches put Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle in the Nickel. On some plays Keenan Clayton was in the Nickel. The goal was simply to get everyone on the field and take advantage of what they did well. The playing time was also a reward for doing well on special teams. Clayton and Matthews had really stood out while covering kicks and the coaches didn’t want to ignore that.
I don’t have strong feelings about the LB situation. I think you play Kendricks as much as you can without overwhelming him. Matthews had a ton of pressure last year and didn’t handle it well. Kendricks earned playing time this summer. He seems ready to go so I’m fine with playing him on the sub-packages as well as starting. We need Ryans to be a good run defender, first and foremost. I don’t care how much or little they play him vs the pass.
I like getting snaps for Chaney, Rolle, and Matthews is possible. Those are 3 young LBs. They will be needed at some point. Get them reps and let them develop as players. That said, they better show up on STs. If someone isn’t getting the job done there, take away his role on defense.
I understand where some people are nervous because of this. They see the changes and think “Here we go again…LB shuffle. Players can’t play and the coaches don’t know what to do.” I feel like this is different. Kendricks is the SAM. Ryans is the MLB. Those guys have earned their jobs. Jordan earned the starting gig at WLB. Now you’ve got the coaches mixing up how they use the backups. That is far different than what happened in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
After we see the opener we can critique exactly how Juan Castillo uses his LBs. Juan mis-managed them last September, but figured things out in December. Let’s hope he still knows what he’s doing.
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Jimmy Bama and I did an NFC East preview for today’s podcast. Pretty good show until I get caught thinking about pancakes an hour in. I know many Eagles fans are worried about the OL. Listen to this and you’ll learn that the Eagles might actually have the best OL in the division.
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Everyone starting to get excited for the Browns game? I know I am. Can’t wait to see the defense do their thing.