LB Review: Competition For Rolle?

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jamar ChaneyHere’s a review of how the Eagles linebackers performed against the Browns after having re-watched Friday night’s game.

DeMeco Ryans – Like the rest of the starters in the back seven, he only played a couple series, and Ryans didn’t have much of an impact. He got blocked on Montario Hardesty’s 6-yard run. In coverage, Greg Little got behind him in zone on third down, but Brandon Weeden misfired badly. I don’t think the preseason was enough to accurately judge Ryans one way or another. We’ll see how much of an upgrade he provides in the middle when Week 1 rolls around.

Mychal Kendricks – I think it’s fair to say he’s been their best linebacker this preseason. Kendricks was in on a couple plays against Cleveland, tackling Hardesty after a 3-yard run and knocking him out of bounds after a 2-yard gain. Expect him to be a three-down linebacker right out of the gate.

Brian Rolle – Let’s start with the two offsides penalties on the first drive. One was completely bogus. Rolle was nowhere near the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped. The broadcast said it was him, but it had to be a defensive lineman. In coverage, (while it’s difficult to tell off of TV), it looked like Rolle might have been responsible for tight end Alex Smith, who ran free for a 20-yard gain in the first. And Rolle was a little slow picking up Hardesty out of the backfield on a 7-yard completion in the second. Against the run, he stopped Hardesty for no gain in the first. Overall, credited with four tackles (three solo). Rolle also played nickel with the second team.

Jamar Chaney – He played WILL with the second team and also stayed on the field in nickel. Chaney was in on a tackle, but Andy Reid said his hamstring was tightening up during the game. Reid also said that Chaney is still competing with Rolle for the starting job. That may be the case, but I still think Rolle is the favorite to line up at WILL when the regular season starts. Chaney’s been battling the injury and could get a shot down the road.

Ryan Rau – With Casey Matthews out, he played middle linebacker with the second group and forced a Hardesty fumble. Rau and Vinny Curry stopped running back Adonis Thomas for no gain in the third. Not going to make the roster, but got some good plays on tape.

Akeem Jordan – He played SAM with the second team and brought Hardesty down after a 4-yard gain in the first. Jordan’s had a solid preseason, and I think he’ll make the team.

Keenan Clayton – He made his case Friday night, but the feeling here is that the coaches know what Clayton brings to the table at this point. One preseason game is not going to dramatically change their opinion of him. Clayton came up with a punt block in the first. He played WILL and stayed on the field in nickel with the second team. In coverage, Clayton broke up a pass, nearly coming up with an interception in the third. He deflected a Seneca Wallace pass in the fourth, leading to a Cliff Harris interception. Poor tackling attempt on a 3rd-and-16 completion, allowing the Browns to pick up the first down and extend their drive. Against the run, Clayton tackled Thomas for a 2-yard loss in the third. He sits squarely on the roster bubble. Clayton could beat Jordan out for a spot, or if they wanted to, the Eagles could keep a seventh linebacker. That seems like a longshot though.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jones.9400 Joe Jones

    Sheil and Tim, why is Clayton competing with Jordan for the last spot? You go thru each player, the only mention of Casey Matthews is that, “he’s out.” Yet, he’s firmly entrenched on the roster? Last year he was gifted a starting position without the benefit of a single practice. Not exactly commonplace for a 4th round pick. How’d that work out? And here we are a year later and again, the guy has done nothing and is gifted a spot on the roster. Oh yeah, I forgot, he had a full offseason and bulked up. Great, maybe he can pursue a career in WWE or hopefully with some other team.
    I get it, teams dont like to part with draft choices. Clayton was also a 4th round pick. In limited opportunities, Clayton has shown playmaking ability. In starting opportunities, Matthews has shown to be a liability in coverage(Brandon Jacobs wheel route for a TD) and in the run game. So other than his last name and that he was a 4th round draft pick, why exactly is he a lock to make the team?
    Teams make mistakes in the draft all the time. Its ok. Whats not ok is compounding the mistake by keeping lesser players on your roster to validate their draft selection. Jarrett is another one. Jerome McDougle? Daniel T’eo Nesheim? Bryan Smith? The Giants recently cut 2009 2nd rd pick Clint Sintim. The year the Eagles drafted Desean Jackson in the 2nd rd, the Redskins drafted 2 receivers in the same round, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. Neither is with the team, Kelly was out of the league last yr, I think Thomas retired this year. It happens, It frustrates me that more productive players are probably gonna be released, so Casey Matthews gets the opportunity to demonstrate more ineptitude.

  • LGRick

    Thought Ryan Rau looked impressive.

  • ICDogg

    Looks like Jordan is more than making the team… he’s now our starting WILL.