LB Review: Eagles’ Run Defense Falters

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jamar ChaneyHere’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles linebackers after having re-watched Sunday’s game.

DeMeco Ryans – The coaches credited him with a season-high 12 tackles, and while Ryans had some good moments, this was not his best outing. Steelers fullback Will Johnson got the best of Ryans on a few occasions. One was the Rashard Mendenhall 24-yard run that was called back for an illegal formation penalty. Another was his 17-yard run. And a third was Mendenhall’s 9-yard run. We’ll get a better look at Ryans in coverage once the All-22 comes out, but it looked like he got beat by tight end Heath Miller on a 15-yard completion near the end of the first half. According to Pro Football Focus, Ryans blitzed five times. He delivered a big hit on Ben Roethlisberger as he let go of the ball in the second. Steelers offensive linemen didn’t like the gesture and got in Ryans’ face after the play. Ryans hit Roethlisberger again on the 3rd-and-4 completion on the final drive.

Mychal Kendricks – Up and down game for Kendricks, who left the game briefly in the second half after suffering an ankle injury. Early on, he combined with Cullen Jenkins to stop Mendenhall for no gain. And Kendricks had good coverage on Emmanuel Sanders on a first-quarter incompletion. He also brought Isaac Redman down after a gain of 1 in the first. But not a good series in the second. He fell for the Roethlisberger fake lateral on a 9-yard run. And later on the drive, Kendricks had a chance to bring down Mendenhall one-on-one, but couldn’t make the play, as he ran in for a 13-yard touchdown. Later, he got taken down by guard Ramon Foster on Mendenhall’s 9-yard run. Kendricks blitzed three times. He had a chance to sack Roethlisberger in the second but couldn’t bring him down. And in coverage, it looked like he lost track of Jerricho Cotchery on the 7-yard red-zone completion in the second.

Jamar Chaney – Not a good game for Chaney, who started at WILL and was on the field for 36 snaps. The coaching staff did not credit him with a tackle. He was blocked by center Maurkice Pouncey, allowing Mendenhall to pick up 17 yards in the third. He couldn’t get off his block on Mendenhall’s 9-yard run and was blocked again on Redman’s 13-yard run. Chaney probably got away with a hold on Mike Wallace in coverage in the third. There were some good moments. He got in the backfield to help stop Redman for no gain in the third. And Chaney made a good read to help break up a screen to Mendenhall in the third.

Casey Matthews – He only played three snaps, filling in for Kendricks, but Matthews had two tackles. He brought Redman down for no gain in the third. And again after a 4-yard gain on the next play. In coverage, it looked like Matthews might have lost track of Miller, but Roethlisberger’s throw was off-target on third down in the red zone in the fourth.

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

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