Updating the LB Situation

Posted: July 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 31 Comments »

The LB corps got shuffled a bit this offseason. Jordan Hicks moved from ILB to MLB. Mychal Kendricks moved from ILB to WLB. Nigel Bradham was signed in free agency to come in and be the SAM. Najee Goode was brought back to be the key backup and the team spent a 7th rounder on Joe Walker to be the backup in the middle. The starters seem to be good. The backups are more of a question, with Goode being new to the 4-3 and Walker being a late round rookie.

Things got interesting early in the week when Bradham was arrested in Florida for assaulting a cabana boy man. Doug Pederson said Bradham isn’t going to lose his job over the incident and it sounds like Bradham was somewhat provoked in the situation rather than just being a total knucklehead. We have to wait and see how things play out, but for now it doesn’t seem the incident is going to affect Bradham’s season all that much.

Jimmy Bama took note of the LB depth chart based on where/how they practiced on Thursday.

Linebacker

SAM MIKE WILL
 Nigel Bradham Jordan Hicks Mychal Kendricks
 Najee Goode Joe Walker Deontae Skinner
 Myke Tavarres Don Cherry Quentin Gause

That is interesting because it’s different than what we’re used to. Goode and Tavarres were mostly WLB in the spring, with Gause and Skinner at SAM. This tells you the coaches are moving the players around. That cross-trains them, but also lets the coaches see them in different roles. You never know when a player is going to shine in a different spot than what you originally anticipated.

Zach Berman has a piece up on the rookie LBs.

Gause chose the Eagles because of the opportunity at linebacker and their special teams’ reputation. He already made his presence felt this week when he closed down on a pass catcher on what would have resulted in a big hit had the Eagles been in pads.

“He allows his ‘backers to fly around and cover the backs and the bigs, so I love it,” Gause said of Schwartz’s scheme. “It’s definitely similar to what I did at Rutgers. . . . I’m making sure I know every single thing, knowing what the safety is doing, where my help is. Once I know that – and I know it already – but study it, solidify it in my head, I’ll be able to teach it to you. . . . That’s what’s going to make me a great player and help me make this roster.”

The rookie linebackers met in the hotel lobby this week to discuss their responsibilities. Their workload will decrease once the veterans arrive for practice, but, unlike many rookies, they’re not buried deep on the depth chart. The Eagles lack depth at linebacker, and unless they find a veteran they like elsewhere, they’ll need to turn to these rookies in key reserve roles.

“Right now, we’re very pleased with the work that these guys have done in the offseason, what the rookies have shown these last three days, and just looking forward to putting the pads on,” Pederson said.

We know some of these guys are going to struggle and get cut. If just 1 or 2 pan out, that will help the team immensely. Walker has the best chance because he has the size and speed to play in the NFL, along with major college experience. Tavarres is the most interesting. He is a terrific athlete with big upside, but he’s never faced talent like this. Gause is the guy we all want to root for. Lacks ideal size, but smart and tough as nails. Cherry is the new guy. I think he’s a longshot, but he does fit the scheme so we’ll see how he performs.

Jimmy Bama had this interesting note on Tavarres the other day.

Linebacker Myke Tavarres said he was around 225 pounds when he signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He has since bulked up to 240. Tavarres said that playing behind a wide-nine defense can be easy.

“What kind of makes it easy is that you have the front four, and they’re going to set up and play their gaps, and really you have a choice between one or two gaps,” he said. “Wherever the ball goes, you go to that closest gap. It’s pretty simple.”

For that reason, I believe that Mychal Kendricks will be a more effective defender playing a “downhill” style under Jim Schwartz than he was in a more “read and react” type of defense under Billy Davis.

I completely agree with Jimmy on Kendricks and the new defense. Kendricks is more of an attacker than a thinker. Keep things simple and let him use his athleticism. That puts him in the best position to succeed.

Josh Paunil has a good piece on Tavarres.

But Tavarres, who told Birds 24/7 that he is looking to model his game off of special teams stud Bryan Braman, remains cognizant of his most likely path to a roster spot: “Hard work. Dedication. Special teams.”

While those are just words, they are the right words. You want players to be confident in themselves, but also realistic about their path to staying in the NFL. Most young LBs have to start out by being role players and STers. That’s especially true for UDFAs. Tavarres has the right mindset for trying to make the Eagles.

It would be great if the Eagles had more proven depth at LB, but that’s just not the case. If there is a year to play the young guys to see what they can do, this is it. We don’t see this Eagles team headed for the Super Bowl so give the young LBs a chance to show what they can do. After all, we are talking about backup spots. You need backups to be cheap, young and good on STs. That’s just part of roster building. We’ll find out if the Eagles have the right young LBs or if the group needs a lot more new blood in the coming year.

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31 Comments on “Updating the LB Situation”

  1. 1 Updating the LB Situation - said at 8:29 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor The LB corps got shuffled a bit this offseason. Jordan Hicks moved from ILB to MLB. Mychal […]

  2. 2 Gary Barnes said at 8:51 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    Sproles extended on 1 yr deal at supposedly 4.5M.

  3. 3 Dave said at 9:00 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    Sproles and Burton need more playing time with Ertz and JMatt. Chip kept underachieving WRs on the field (Cooper/Huff) while other formidable players were in the sidelines.

  4. 4 Media Mike said at 9:25 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    No, his taking off mini camp had nothing to do with anything. Trust us……………….

  5. 5 daveH said at 10:54 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Sounds like y’all know sumpin that I dont…

  6. 6 Ireneejones2 said at 12:44 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    <<o. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!br1009p:….,….

  7. 7 Media Mike said at 11:41 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    Nothing really. Its just that Sproles was missing from the non-mandatory stuff and folks were being really coy about explaining why.

  8. 8 SteveH said at 11:39 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    our lack of depth at RB is all the leverage he needed.

    “Please stay Darren, we don’t want to have to sign Nick Foles to tote the rock!”

  9. 9 BobSmith77 said at 1:28 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Depends how much is guaranteed but not a fan.

    He was already in decline last year and I doubt he is that productive this year even with the increased opportunity if Mathews misses significant time.

  10. 10 Media Mike said at 9:23 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    Hey look; today is just like yesterday…………..when is cut down day?

    https://twitter.com/BrandonGowton/status/759015542380371968

  11. 11 peteike said at 2:20 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Ha

  12. 12 A_T_G said at 3:44 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    I wonder if we could swap him for some San Fran hooligan. You know, a guy that spins the ball after a touchdown or something.

  13. 13 Media Mike said at 5:09 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    OJ?

  14. 14 Drew said at 9:58 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    If he’s trying to follow in Braman’s footsteps, wouldn’t his path be Maim, Kill, Destroy?

  15. 15 Tumtum said at 10:00 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    He better start getting teeth pulled.

  16. 16 D3FB said at 10:09 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    Looking through teams depth charts for an Eagles Rewind article on potential LB waiver/conitional pick options.

    I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the Eagles are probably at least middle of the pack in terms of LB depth.

  17. 17 meteorologist said at 12:46 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Forgot about that website. Thanks for the heads up

  18. 18 Tumtum said at 12:48 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Middle of the pack on paper at this time of the year is fine for me.

  19. 19 Insomniac said at 12:27 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    Is that with Tavarres making the team?

  20. 20 D3FB said at 8:37 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    I’d say I’d weight the backups in the following way:

    Goode’s a lock

    Walker 50-50 roster/PS.

    Skinner is 50-50 roster/cut.

    Tavarres is basically a lock for the PS at minimum. The big problem is he’s probably more of a WILL, which is Goode’s primary position. I think short of him playing out of his mind, you put him on the PS and pay him the equivalent of rookie minimum to keep him from signing elsewhere once he clears waivers.

    Gause is PS or cut.

    Cherry is a camp body.

  21. 21 Cafone said at 12:54 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    That site crashes my browser. It should show excerpts/previews of the articles on the homepage so it doesn’t try to load thousands of video clips and images.

  22. 22 MOOOoooooo said at 10:50 AM on July 29th, 2016:

    Has this off season been more boring than normal?.

    I am from the UK and I’ve had next to no interest in NFL news for a few months now. I don’t know how Total Access etc fill their programmes.

    When it restarts I will be all over it though.

  23. 23 Tumtum said at 12:44 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    Yeah it sort of has been. NFL wide for a couple months the only new things that came out had to do with Johnn NoBall.

  24. 24 A_T_G said at 3:46 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    I want to apologize in advance to Mr. Tavarres. I believe he has been chosen as my designated long-shot underdog that I want to see make the team.

    This designation seems to come with a guarantee of an impressive preseason game 4, followed by fading into obscurity.

  25. 25 Cafone said at 12:43 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    I don’t know if he is enough of a longshot to qualify. Kempski had him making the team in his chat session the other day IIRC.

  26. 26 Cafone said at 11:07 PM on July 29th, 2016:

    funny how when you go from a 3-4 to 4-3 you actually need to find more linebackers because your OLBs are really DEs and you only have 2 starting LBs left for 3 positions.

  27. 27 A_T_G said at 1:23 PM on July 30th, 2016:

    Even more so when you remember that when we went to a 3-4 we also needed to find more LBs.

  28. 28 Tdoteaglefan said at 10:16 AM on July 30th, 2016:

    Brian dawkins hired to the scouting department

  29. 29 A_T_G said at 1:21 PM on July 30th, 2016:

    We are going to start bring in some tough cats.

  30. 30 Gian GEAGLE said at 12:10 PM on July 30th, 2016:

    Isn’t Najee Goode better suited for the WIL?

    Seth Joyner thinks Hicks is also best suited for the WIL spot which makes sense since the WIL is where you want your playmaker but his value is in being capable of playing any of the 3 LB positions in a 4-3, so he can play MIKE accommodating Kendricks needing to play the WIL.
    ..
    As a big Kendricks fan, im losing my patience with his lack of durability and not playing up to his potential. however, players do have down years that they bounce back from so hopefully that will be the case with Mykal but this is an important season for him. He needs to play at least 14 games, and if he is going to occupy the playmaking WIL spot, he needs To produce in a big way. he is too talented not to, and there is no blaming the coaching this year with Schwartz in town, and you can’t blame the crazy tempo and practice style wearing your body down when Pederson has two decades of NFL Experience from Player to head coach and everything in between. We have Hicks, Bradham, Goode who are all fully capable of playing the WIL so Kendricks production needs to justify starting at the playmaking Linebacker WIL spot.

    Hicks played half a season and made more plays than the rest of our LB combined. That can’t happen again. Kendricks is too talented to not carry his own weight. Bradham is on a short term deal which can be them best motivator. Ideally this group of LB proves that we don’t need to invest in the position but they need to stay on the field to even have a chance of proving that they are the long term answers at LB
    .
    We have the talent. On paper we easily have the best group of Lb in the division, we have the coaching, we have a quality DL in front of them, and all the safety support we could hope for, so it’s time to put it all together, play to our potential and prove it.
    .
    Kendricks owes us a big year.

  31. 31 A_T_G said at 1:20 PM on July 30th, 2016:

    We all hope Krndricks is able to be the player we dreamed of when he was drafted, but your bounce-back-from-a-down-year narrative simply isn’t true, as I pointed out before.

    SOLO, AST, SACKS, FF, FR, INTS, PD, STUFFS

    62, 21, 4, 3, 0, 0, 3, 6
    64, 22, 3, 1, 0, 0, 3, 6

    Which one is the down year and which is the rebound we hope to see? I am putting my hope in Kendricks thriving in the new scheme, but framing it as one down year is downplaying the problem.