Mychal Kendricks in Year 2

Posted: July 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 20 Comments »

Last week I wrote about the Eagles coaching staff. I talked about how the coaches were veterans and good teachers. These guys might be new to the NFL, but they know football. They can teach technique. They are experts in the fundamentals of good football.

Young players stand to benefit the most from the new assistant coaches. Think about Mychal Kendricks. Last year he had to learn to play 4-3 SAM. He had to learn Juan Castillo’s unusual system. Mike Caldwell was his position coach. Caldwell was a good NFL LB, but was new to coaching. Caldwell was learning how to coach, while simultaneously teaching Kendricks how to play. Now Kendricks gets to learn from Rick Minter. Things should be better. Kendricks is playing ILB, a role that is a more natural fit. He is playing in a conventional system. And Kendricks will learn from a man who has been teaching kids how to play football for more than 30 years.

Kendricks needs that coaching. Anyone who watched him last year could see his natural gifts. There were times when Kendricks looked like a star. He was able to cover TEs, RBs and even some WRs. According to the Eagles in-house stats, Kendricks was 3rd on the team in both total tackles and solo tackles. He had 8 TFLs and one sack. He deflected 11 passes. Those are solid numbers for a rookie LB.

Anyone who watched Kendricks could also see some issues. He missed too many tackles. He took poor angles at times and was caught out of position in space. The worst moment was when he failed to contain RG3 on a scramble and let Griffin get wide for a good gain. There were some poor moments in coverage. Kendricks failed to force a fumble, recover a fumble or pick off a pass. He’s still got plenty to work on.

His issues have nothing to do with talent. Kendricks needs work on technique and fundamentals. Think about the resources he can now draw upon. Minter has an extensive background as a coordinator and assistant. Bill McGovern is here to focus on OLBs, but he developed Luke Kuechly into one of the best MLBs in recent college history. He might have a nugget or two that could help Kendricks. And while Bill Davis track record as DC is only slightly better than Les Bowen’s as a polka dancer, Davis does know how to coach LBs. He got great results from D’Qwell Jackson last year. Karlos Dansby thrived under Davis in Arizona. Keith Brooking thrived under Davis in Atlanta. You could counter that all those guys were stars anyway, but that’s part of the point. Kendricks has that kind of talent. He needs the right coaches and system to bring it out of him. Kendricks should develop into a top shelf LB.

Most players make their biggest jump from Year 1 to Year 2. If Kendricks can do this, he could become a key player in 2013. He will be in a role that is designed for him to be a playmaker. Kendricks has the skills and athleticism for that. He covers a lot of ground. He can rush the passer. He can cover in the flat or downfield. Kendricks is a tough, physical player. There is no reason he shouldn’t become a star player. I can’t promise that will happen in 2013. He should get headed in the right direction, but it may take another season before he’s able to process everything and shine.

* * * * *

Sheil Kapadia had a blurb on Kendricks from a recent post.

41 – The pass-tackle stop rate for both DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks in 2012, according to Football Outsiders.

What’s pass-tackle stop rate? It goes back to the success rate mentioned above and is the percentage of pass-tackles that prevent the offense from having a successful offensive play. In other words, tackling a tight end after a 27-yard completion is different than tackling him after a 7-yard completion on 3rd-and-9.

The good news is Ryans and Kendricks ranked tied for fourth overall in this category. The Eagles were the only team that had two linebackers with a rate of 40 percent or better.

In a previous edition of Three Eagles Numbers That Matter, we noted that Kendricks missed a lot of tackles last year. But this shows another side: He was around the ball a lot and has big upside, especially in coverage.

* * * * *

Zach Berman had a good piece on Fletcher Cox and Kendricks from a while back. This is a good quote from Kendricks.

Both have noticed a marked difference between their first and second seasons. Kendricks remembered the veterans telling him how much easier the second season is compared with the first, and he is “astounded” by how accurate they were.

“The speed of the game has completely slowed down to the point that I’m thinking a whole lot more faster, seeing things a whole lot more clear,” Kendricks said. “Just the general understanding of the game, of the way the NFL game works.”

There is also a funny bit about how Kendricks taunts Chip Kelly in regard to the 2010 game when Cal and Kendricks played stifling D against the Ducks and shut down LaMichael James.

* * * * *

One change for Kendricks this year is that he will be making the defensive calls. I was surprised when heard this. DeMeco Ryans is a veteran player. Surely you would want him making calls and adjustments. Then it hit me. Only one player can have a radio in his helmet. The Eagles must feel that while both guys will be on the field most of the time, there will be some situations when Kendricks will be the only ILB out there. Give him the radio. Have him make the calls.

I don’t know for a fact this is the reason for him to make the calls, but it certainly makes the most sense.

* * * * *

Chip Kelly certainly likes Kendricks. Check out this quote from a previous piece from Sheil Kapadia.

“He excels in pass coverage, but he’s physical enough to play on first and second down,” Kelly said. “He’s one of the more athletic linebackers in this league, so really excited about his future and what he can do. He can do everything we’ve asked him to do.”

* * * * *

Finally, PE.com has a couple of videos that are worth checking out.

First up, Dave Spadaro talks to Kendricks.

The highlight they show of him tackling DeMarco Murray is a thing of beauty.

Next, Rick Minter is interviewed.

It is funny to hear how excited the college coaches are to get to the NFL. No recruiting. No worries about kids going to class (or not going to class). Football. Just football.

* * * * *

Dr. James Bama has up some notes worth checking out. Jerry Jones and Hulk Hogan are now in-laws? Not exactly, but close enough for us to make lots of jokes.

 


  • zbone95

    TIme for what we learned about chip kelly system (offense, defense, special teams) article.!!

  • GEagle

    Article on my man crush, Mr. Mykal Kendrick’s?….Awesome!!
    ..
    Speaking of Aweome, Rasheed Wallace is the man!!!! team Rasheed vs. Team McNabb celebrity softball game with both team leaders scheduled to play in the game. So who did the awesome Rasheed recruit to his team? Lol The most Diabolical McNabb Hater in the game, the awesomely awesome Mr. Bernard Hopkins lol…This could get interesting.. let McNabb do some Winey, passive aggressive McNabb ish, and watch him eat a 6 piece combo all in the name of Charity lol.l.I have to get tickets for that game!

  • Neil

    I think they’ll give Ryans some time with the radio in practice too; though I bet they feel comfortable with him not practicing it as much, maybe at all. I figured they were giving the playcalling to Kendricks in practice so that they would have a backup if Ryans went down, but I think the 1LB package is probably a better bet for the real reason.

  • GEagle

    the most exciting aspect I learned about Kendrick’s came from the interview you posted…as well rounded as he is, and as many things he did well at Cal, the one thing he had NO experience in was man to man coverage. last year was his first year ever being asked to play a lot of man, and not knowing this info, I still thought he showed gLimpses of ability to become elite in this regard. Who knows how much better this kid can be this year. he is easily one of my top 5 fav eagles and players I’m most excited about. I don’t even see a ceiling for this kid. Sky’s the limit, and he has the Charecter that will give him a chance to realize most of his potential. very Excitedd about him.l

    What’s interesting is that he had some decent showings against TE’s last year and only 1 OLB on this roster could be asked to lineup against a TE and have us not crap our pants with fear. His role in this defense traditional doesn’t ask that he covers TE, but with Barwin as the only OLB with any experience doing that so of thing, I expect some on unconventional assignments that ask the WIL to cover TE’s at times.

    To think he was a wide eyed rookie, playing in a weird scheme, with probably not the best teachers, no experience doing the main thing that was asked of him(man coverage), in a highly dysfunctional situation, still was able to flash some serious skills. A man of Minters knowledge and experience focusing it all on just two players(WIL and MIKE). Few players I’m more excited about than Kendrick’s…Paired with Meco, come 2014, they can be one of the top ILB tandems in the league. Our front 7 could be a player or two, and a year or two of development away from being a Nasty Unit!

  • theycallmerob

    Tommy, where/when/how did you learn about Kendricks and the radio? This post was the first time I heard that, and I was similarly surprised. Do you also think this has any implications for Ryans’ future with the team after this season?

    • Tumtum

      I don’t think the radio thing has any indication of Meco’s future here. There are times when there might just be 1 LBer like Tommy said. They clearly want their most athletic guy in that role. Demeco can take that mantle if need be, but M.K is better suited.

    • TommyLawlor

      Watch the Spadaro interview. They talk about it.

  • Tumtum

    Man that interview with Minter was great. For a guy like that to be a position coach, wow. Exciting.

    • GEagle

      Absolutely…that dude has all the knowledge and experience in the world and only needs to focus it on two players. very exciting…

  • Mitchell

    Do you think if Kendricks was 3 inches taller he would have gone in the first round? Is height as an ILB a bit overrated? Do you think when Meco leaves we can have a top ten, top five ILB in Mychal? These questions will all be answered, next time, on Dragon Ball Z!!!!! Errrrr, I mean the 2013 season!!!

    • TommyLawlor

      Ideally, you’d like him to be 6-2.

      Height isn’t essential at ILB. Just a good option if available.

    • Tumtum

      Meco leaving shouldn’t have an effect on it. They will see the field together with up to 5 DBs on the field. Now that I have had time to think about him with the radio I do get a bit nervous about teams spreading us out and running the ball ala Colts 2007. When we go with 1 LBer that is, of course. In those instances you would expect there are 4 down linemen though. Hopefully the big bodies will keep that from happening.

      Also nice DBZ reference and very fitting!

      • Mitchell

        Thank you thank you. Lifetime dbz’er here

  • barneygoogle

    I know this is a little off topic, but does anyone think the Eagles might pull a little “sixers” during the pre-season– trade some veterans who don’t fit, clear cap space, and add draft picks for 2014?

    • TommyLawlor

      Definitely possible. Kelly needs to see how the guys play in TC and PS games. He also needs to see who stays healthy.

      • GEagle

        How typical are trades in the middle of the season?

        • TommyLawlor

          All NFL trades are rare.

    • D3FB

      Not sure that there are many guys who would bring anything of particular note in return. Avant would be a late rounder at most. Cole is coming off a down year with a fairly high price tag so that minimizes any substantial value. Harbor maybe gets you a 6th/7th. Hunt’s probably going to get another full off season to develop before coaches make a decision. I don’t see anyway they move DJax. Celek may get you a mid/late rounder.

      That leaves two possible trade pieces:

      Graham, which I’m not sure makes sense. He has a history of injury so no team is going to throw out a blockbuster pick and potentially could thrive in new scheme. Also would only leave us very thin at OLB.

      Maclin to me is the only player would would bring about a return large enough to justify letting him leave. I think you could probably find a WR needy team to make a deal similar to what the Dolphins got for Vontae Davis. A second rounder next year would be very beneficial to this team moving forward.

      • GEagle

        I think NFL GM’s like howie value late round picks significantly more than the average fan does. just ask Howie how much he was sweating this year not having a 6th round pick and holding his breath hoping Jordan Poyer and Kruger fell to round 7…The Hold your breath and pray for a player to fall approach won’t always work out for us. Every single pick in every draft is an opportunity to make your team better if you know what you are doing. The more picks you have in every round gives you better odds of landing your targets…So while I pretty much agree with your analysis of what players are worth…I don’t really see it as a case of its not worth trading this player because he only gets you a 6th or 7th in return….I certainly don’t think we should be trading away players that could potentially still be helping this team in 2015 for a late round pick…but the moment Chip Kelly identifies a player that he knows just doesn’t fit what he is doing and won’t be here in 2014, then I hope we get whatever value we can for that player even if his contribution in 2013 on paper is more valuable then a 6th or 7th round pick with a high probability of failure..The only way we should scoff at 6th n 7th round value for a guy that won’t be here the following year is if our coach truly believes we can contend for a Super Bowl this year and that trading away that player lowers our chances at winning it all this year. if you don’t truly believe you can really contend, I would hope we make moves that will help us become contenders ASAP. I have seen plenty of playoff games and NFC hampionship games already…Everything we do should be about getting us a Super Bowl trophy as soon as possible

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