Linebacker Watch: DeMeco Ryans Unfazed By Public Angst

You may be concerned, but DeMeco Ryans is not.

A good portion of the fan base is growing anxious about their new middle linebacker following a quiet preseason. After such a long wait for a bona fide MIKE to step in, there is trepidation that the two-time Pro Bowler might not live up to the billing.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” said Ryans of the doubters. “I don’t take it into consideration. My job is to be credible to my teammates, to go out and be accountable to what we’re doing in our defense and our scheme, and that’s the only thing that matters to me.

“I understand those expectations, but the expectations of ourselves are what weigh on me more than anything else. The expectation within the organization and the locker room is to get it done.”

Ryans has been asked about his Achilles, which he tore back in 2010, dozens of times since he was acquired from the Texans for a fourth-round pick and a swap of third-rounders back in March. He has maintained that it is not even remotely an issue any longer. His play appeared to pick up as preseason went along, and he ended with five tackles in three games.

“Everything counts now,” said Ryans. “When the season is over, I don’t remember anyone going back and talking about the preseason — you never hear anything else about it. It’s the flavor of the month, that’s what it was at the time. Football is back, it’s what people had to talk about. But the season is what they remember.”

* Mychal Kendricks said that nothing  changed for him at practice Monday. He is still running as the starting strongside linebacker and in the nickel. The expectations continue to rise for the second-round pick out of Cal as the regular season draws near. He is starting to be mentioned as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

“The pressure is going to be there, it’s just whether you’re going to rise to the occasion or not,” said Kendricks, who has been a standout both in training camp and preseason games. He is prepared for things to ratchet up, and up, and up…

“It’s only going to kick up from here,” said Kendricks. “Then playoffs, I’m sure that’s another level. Then you’re talking about the Super Bowl, that’s something I can’t even fathom yet. So yeah, I’m expecting it to kick up a notch.”

Good to see the rookie thinking ahead.

* It was brought up Monday that Ryans’ first game in the NFL came against, interestingly enough, the Eagles back in 2006. He led his team with 13 tackles that day, and got right into the mix.

“On the first play I made the tackle on Brian Westbrook,” said Ryans. “I had a pretty good game. I always remember that first one. I think that was my first and only time playing against the Eagles.”


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  • VA Eagles Fan

    The measure of Ryans’ success is not going to come just by his individual statistics. The measure is going to come if he and the other LBs are in the right position to make tackles all season long. Naturally, his health and performance matters, but Ryans has value on the field that can’t be measured by the numbers. No unit was as discombobulated last year as the LB corps, and I for one am counting on Ryans to be a coach on the field.

  • borntosuffer

    He doesn’t have to be Urlachcer. As long as he is an obvious step up from last season, the D will improve significantly. I still get the feeling that if this D doesn’t produce early – get off the field on 3rd down, avoid stupid penalties, etc. Juan will be gone before we hit game 6.

  • Adam

    Accountability is the biggest thing I want to see from Capt’n Meco. All of the team leaders on D last year (Jenkins, Cole) came from the d-line, and all the d-line is concerned about is rushing the pasher. I have no gripes with that, they do their job and they do it well. But when you have a LB and secondary that was filled with either young guns or fish out water (Nnamdi) there is no veteran presence to keep everyones heads level and to correct mistakes. Demeco needs to be this presence. I don’t see Nnamdi as a vocal leader, more of a lead by example type of guy. I’m hoping Demeco is vocal leader.

    • xlGmanlx

      Agreed, it has been a long time since the igg’s defensive leader was a MLB.

  • Ryan W

    And he is playing the wide 9 which lineman are up in your face faster, let him get used to the new scheme and then let’s make our judgements. Plus like what was already mentioned you have to take his intangibles on the field as well. Being a leader and getting everyone lined up right and calling out what he see’s on the field.

  • Ryan W

    Does anyone know how Coach Bowles was? Was he d coordinator or just interim coach? Players seem to love this guy and his knowledge, I could see him as our d coordinator if it don’t work out w Juan