LB Review: How the Eagles Used Ryans
Here’s a player-by-player review of how the Eagles linebackers performed Sunday against the Ravens, after having re-watched the game. Click here to find all of the game reviews.
The Eagles’ defense has played 132 snaps through two games. On 125 of those, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks have been on the field together.
Linebacker rotation? Not as long as those two guys are healthy. Against the Ravens, they each played all 70 snaps. Akeem Jordan got the nod at WILL and played 37 snaps.
Here’s the breakdown:
DeMeco Ryans – Juan Castillo actually chose to blitz a decent amount in this one. By my count, he sent extra pressure on nine of 44 pass plays, or 20.5 percent of the time. And Ryans was the most frequent blitzer, going after Flacco on seven occasions. He broke through in the second, but Joe Flacco made a nice, subtle move to his right, giving him enough time to hit Jacoby Jones for the 21-yard touchdown. On a third down in the fourth, Ryans got there, blitzing off the left edge and picking up a sack. Overall, he played another great game, specifically in the second half. Ryans had nine tackles (eight solo). Through two games, he has five tackles for loss. In all of 2011, no Eagles linebacker had more than six. In addition to the sack, he had a third-quarter interception. When Kendricks and Cullen Jenkins missed tackles on Ray Rice in the second, Ryans was there to clean up, stopping the running back after a 3-yard gain. On the very next play, he had great coverage on tight end Dennis Pitta and tackled him after a 2-yard gain on third down, forcing a punt. Ryans dropped Rice for no gain in the third and again after a 1-yard pickup in the fourth. Later in the quarter, he stopped Rice after a 3-yard gain and dropped Pierce for a 2-yard loss. If you missed the NFL Films piece from the Eagles-Ravens game, click here. Some good Ryans footage in there.
Mychal Kendricks – Looking forward to watching the All-22 and focusing on him. Kendricks was really good in coverage. Examples: Tackled Pitta after a 4-yard completion in the second. Forced a Flacco incompletion to Rice on a third down in the second. Dropped Rice for a 5-yard loss after a completion. Broke up a pass for Pitta in the third. And another to Pitta in the fourth, where he nearly had an interception. Of course, the one we all remember is the break-up on the final play of the game where Flacco was looking for Rice. Against the run, Kendricks got blocked by Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda on Rice’s 16-yard run. And he hustled to eventually bring down Rice on the 43-yard run.
But here’s one thing that will make you like the rookie even more. After the game, he was at his locker, and a reporter asked him if he was happy with the way he performed in coverage against the Ravens’ running backs and tight ends.
“I’m pretty pleased with the way I played as far as that’s concerned,” Kendricks said at first. “I gave up one pass though, which was probably the most crucial moment, little stick route.”
Even though he ended the game with the break-up against Rice, Kendricks still had another play on his mind. It was the one where he got beat by Pitta for a 12-yard completion on third down on the final drive. Those plays are of course going to happen, but Kendricks has been impressive through two games.
Akeem Jordan – Don’t have a lot of notes on Jordan. As I mentioned above, he played quite a bit. Pitta knocked him over and then caught an 8-yard pass from Flacco in the third. But other than that, didn’t notice Jordan get beat in coverage. Didn’t notice him much in the run game either. The team credited him with two tackles.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.