Matt Lombardo is the Lead Writer for Taking It To The House. Matt is also a Producer for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Follow Matt on Twitter @MattLombardo975 or Email him atMDLombardo@yahoo.com
Minutes after Thursday’s practice ended, Eagles second round pick linebacker Mychal Kendricks immediately sprinted to the blocking sled alongside Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney and Demeco Ryans, for some extra work.
Welcome to life as an NFL rookie, where every second on the practice field is valuable.
“It’s great when your work is doing what you love,” Kendricks said under the sunny South Philadelphia skies. “It’s definitely a lot different from what you do in college. Every day is different and every day I’m learning, getting better.”
As if the adjustment from the University of California to Philadelphia weren’t enough, Kendricks has been thrust into the first team at the SAM position alongside Role and Ryans. The Eagles are clearly banking on him contributing immediately in his first year.
“Every day we’re learning five new plays,” Kendricks explained. “That’s just the part of if you have to get over, and with me being on the first team it forces me to pick it all up quicker. I’m lucky to have some of those older guys around, it makes it much easier.”
Kendricks is known for his speed and heady football instincts. He finished his senior season with 110 tackles.
It’s no secret that linebacker has been a position that has been highly maligned with the Eagles in recent history. One need look no further than last season’s failed Casey Matthews experiment to see a team that was desperate to milk any value from a draft pick that many believed was too early, at a position that this defense clearly wasn’t predicated around. That won’t be the case this season as Kendricks is a pedigree linebacker with a great nose for the football and has looked solid in pursuit in practice.
Having a veteran like Ryans anchoring the middle is going to benefit not only the Eagles, but Kendricks as well.
“He’s great and helps me alot,” Kendricks said of playing next to Ryans, a Seven-year veteran. “He’s a humble guy and I’m blessed to have him on the same team.”
While the linebackers as a unit only produced one turnover last season, an interception by Chaney, they will be looked upon to bridge the cap between one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL and a secondary that has yet to establish an identity.
“Our whole line has been in the Pro Bowl every year,” “I haven’t put the pads on yet but I can only imagine, the holes those guys create are going to be huge. Those guys up front are dogs and I want to be there for those guys just like they’re there for us.”
teams feasted on the Eagles defense targeting both the middle and edges on short to intermediate routes, a trend the Eagles hope to reverse this season. If all goes well, Eagles fans will get used to seeing Kendricks pushing around more than just blocking sleds this season and beyond.