Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kendricks Set To Return

kendricks_940_100113When Mychal Kendricks looks back now, he realizes things have could have been a lot worse.

The Eagles’ second-year linebacker fought off a block against Packers guard Josh Sitton and flowed to the ball-carrier, Eddie Lacy. That’s when teammate Earl Wolff came flying in and nailed Kendricks in the right knee.

“I’m glad that we had this bye week,” Kendricks said. “And I’m also thankful for the fact that nothing serious happened. Because we were talking something very serious. It could have been something structurally or if Earl hits lower down on the knee and my foot’s in the ground, everything could have been torn. So I’m just thankful for the fact that nothing serious happened and that I missed two games instead of three.”


Kendricks described his injury as a deep bone bruise/thigh contusion/hyperextension. He only played the first two snaps against Green Bay and missed the Redskins game. But Kendricks was a full participant in Tuesday's practice and barring any setbacks should start Sunday against Arizona.

"Today was the first day I was able to go full-go without any type of thought about it, babying it or favoring it or anything like that," he said.

The bye ended up coming at a good time for the Eagles. Wolff isn't expected to play vs. the Cardinals, but everyone else should be available.

Kendricks has lacked consistency, but the coaching staff felt he was starting to get on a roll before the injury. He followed a 17-tackle performance against the Raiders with a 12-tackle outing vs. the Giants.

"Being in the swing of things, starting to get the feel for it like, 'I'm a beast now. I'm killing it.' And then I get hurt, sit back down," Kenricks said. "It's frustrating, knowing I was top-26 for tackles in the league and I was pushing. I have my goals too. And having to sit out that game and I made the first two tackles… had to sit out the rest of that game and then missing one to kind of fall back in the ranks. But things happen and I'll pick up right where I left off."

The Eagles' defense has limited opponents to 21 points or fewer in seven straight games, but there are challenges ahead. As Chip Kelly said, they'll need all hands on deck for the stretch run. And that includes Kendricks continuing what he started before he got injured.

WHAT YOU MISSED

"You can't be naive," says Michael Vick. T-Mac on Vick's role as a backup.

Nick Foles on how he can prove to Kelly that he deserves to be the Eagles' long-term option at QB.

Full injury update from McManus.

Kelly explains the Foles decision.

A position-by-position look at the Eagles' offense going into the final five games.

The Eagles have placed a new emphasis on the LB position, says Howie Roseman.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Les Bowen of the Daily News catches up with Foles' Dad, Larry:

"I think Nick could play for most teams," his father said. "If a team ran a straight option, like in the old [wishbone] days, he wouldn't be good at that, but an offense that asks the quarterback to read and respond, I think he's really good at, because he's smart.

"He's young. He's going to get better and better."

ESPN.com has the Eagles ranked 11th in his power rankings:

Nick Foles is 4-1 with a 63.6 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns and no interceptions. Michael Vick is 2-4 with a 54.6 completion percentage, five touchdowns and three picks. End of controversy.

COMING UP

We'll talk to Billy Davis, Pat Shurmur and the players at the NovaCare Complex.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • nicksaenz1

    Hopefully Kendricks isn’t thinking about those personal goals down this stretch run. Can’t afford him not being in the game mentally because he’s worried about how many tackles he does or doesn’t have. That’s when he struggles and finds himself out of position or too anxious.

    • G_WallyHunter

      Agreed, it’s funny how before he would shoot for 10 tackles a game, and Meco told him to stop doing that “stop worrying about that, they will come”, it’s good the Meco got him to stop thinking about it on a game-by-game basis, but he still has it in his mind overall for the season. Hopefully ya he keeps his personal goal where it should be, at the bottom of priorities as far as the team goes..

      • WilmingtonDan

        Agreed. As soon as I read that line, I thought “You’re focused on the wrong things.”

        • G_WallyHunter

          Hey nothing wrong with a little motivation by it, but as long as it doesn’t take priority. Keep it a “casual” goal, with team first

          • BlindChow

            And never tell the media!

    • DirtyWaters

      If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t it his dad, who also played pro ball that put that goal in his head? I can’t say they are bad goals to have, it’s just the wrong thing to focus on. It’ still on his mind unfortunately:

      “It’s frustrating, knowing I was top-26 for tackles in the league and I was pushing. I have my goals too.”

      Who says ‘top-26″?

      • Andy124

        People who are 26th.

        • nicksaenz1

          Such a wise-a$$

        • DirtyWaters

          ahhh…hours later and it still cracks me up! hahahaha

      • ohitsdom

        I think it was his brother that emphasized tackle totals.

        • DirtyWaters

          Right. Things family role models say have a way of sticking with you. Can’t say I blame the kid, just glad his new older brother Meco is trying to knock it out of him.

    • cliff henny

      hopefully a couple weeks off and seeing Goode make play both relaxes and properly focuses him. he is just so athletic and fast, he has huge advantage, can play slightly less than full speed and still be as fast as everyone out there. plus, these goals, i get it, you’re trying to make a name for yourself, balance line beween being impact player and team player. hopefully he saw that goode, who isnt as talented as mychal, was making plenty of plays out there. just go out on field, relax, the system will puts mlbs in plenty of positions to hit any personal goals.

      • nicksaenz1

        Spot on, wasn’t even thinking about how well Goode played in Kendricks’ absence. Hopefully it’s motivation to go out and kill it, but do so within the system.

    • Myke Lowery

      the “beast” even mentioned he made the first two tackles of the game. his mindset is obviously on his stats first and foremost, regardless of what Meco tries teaching him.

  • cliff henny

    seeing Wolff’s hit live, thought ‘say godbye to an L or 2′.

    • G_WallyHunter

      same, that snap back, did the whole “ewwww” face, really happy it wasn’t IR material. Finally, the Eagles have had a half-decent season for injuries (knock on wood)

  • Stephen Stempo

    funny i read the headline quick and it said kendricks ready to return and in my head i added “kicks” to the end of the headline and thought i missed somethimg,

    • cliff henny

      rather MK a shot than send Damaris back out there

      • Stephen Stempo

        dunno if he can catch but he probably has the speed and touchness for it. kind of brian mitchell esque

        • cliff henny

          maybe, but i’ve seen enough of a 5’7 165lb guy, expecting to be lightning fast, look like he’s in slow motion.

          • nicksaenz1

            Can’t stand watching him. I hope he’s out after the year, with the best of luck with his new team (the Chiefs).

          • BlindChow

            I think he’ll become an impact WR with a team that doesn’t value blocking as much as we do now.

          • nicksaenz1

            I think that’s a bit of a bold prediction. Very hard to see him being an impact WR when everyone on the field that’s not a lineman is faster than him. Wouldn’t be shocked if a lineman or two was faster than him. I really don’t see, and never have seen, why he’s in the NFL. I get that he’s quick, but quickness alone doesn’t cut it. Especially when he’s 5’8″ 170.

          • BlindChow

            He ran a 4.52 40. That’s faster than Wes Welker, Jason Avant, Danny Amendola, and Riley Cooper. I mean, I get that you don’t like that he hasn’t broken a big kick-off or punt return (at least, not since his 98-yard TD last year), but he’s been good when he’s had the chance to play WR (particularly his YAC numbers).

          • nicksaenz1

            Touche. My counter is that all of those guys have other things that he doesn’t, which supports the case that quickness alone won’t cut it. Welker, quick AND incredibly football smart which always has him on the same page as his QB. Amendola, some of the same, poor man’s Welker. Avant, hands. Very rarely drops anything, plus leadership ( I know DJ2 hasn’t had opportunity to be leader yet) and Cooper is a huge target who is a deep threat. Oh, and all of those guys block, too.

          • cliff henny

            not saying he didnt run 4.52, but it certainly does not translate out onto the field. have yet to understand why these guys run 40′s in shorts and shirts. have them run in pads. think we’ve all added little weight to our frames (different kind of padding) and know it slows us down.

          • cliff henny

            think brad smith has already phased him out. want to like dj2, just too small and slow

        • Andy124

          I’ve seen PSU use a linebacker to return kicks last year. Once was enough for one lifetime.

  • Andy124

    Agree with the others that the focus on his personal goals makes me wonder about his priorities. These are just sound bites though so no reason to go assuming he’s a me-first kind of guy.

    In reality, you want your employees to have personal goals. The key is to make those personal goals align with organizational goals, so that achievement of the personal goals results in success for the organziation. For example you wouldn’t want a programmer to set a goal for number of lines of code written or a DT to set a goal for number of tackles, because garbage code and failure to eat up blocks is not what’s best for the organziation. But for an ILB whose job is to find the ball carrier and tackle him, # of tackles is probably a pretty healthy goal to set.

    Maybe someone can give him a little PR advice, always talk about the team. Pretend like those personal goals aren’t even there when you’re on the record.

    • G_WallyHunter

      Exactemon, “casual” goals to help motivate, but keeping team performance FIRST, none of this “I was top 26″ business

    • jabostick

      Agree with all of that, including the last part – I’m sure lots (maybe even most) guys stat watch or have people around them who stat watch, but just keep that to yourself or relate them to team success.

    • Explorer51

      I agree Andy124; the kid is only 23 years old and is coming back from an injury that kept him out of two games just as he was getting into a major rhythm…read all his quotes and it’s obvious that he is adrenaline pumped to be back. Do we really think that professional athletes don’t check out the stat sheets after games? He’s just young enough…and probably psyched that he was able to be full-go…to mention his tackle totals in an interview; and since when are tackles not a team-important statistic? The guy wants to get in on every tackle, shouldn’t we be applauding him for that? Remember, the defense they are playing now is set up for the LBs to make the tackle so why wouldn’t that, ultimately, be a team goal as well as a personal one?

    • EaglefaninAZ

      Regarding your last point, he needs to take a bus ride with Crash Davis and get the “dealing with the media” speech. It worked for Nuke in the end. Lol…

  • ohitsdom

    Glad everyone else is alarmed at his eyes being on his tackle total and rank. Just o oout there and play good football. DeMeco commented on it earlier in the year and said that he wasn’t playing well in the system when he was concerned with personal stats. I thought he settled down, but it doesn’t sound like it…

  • BlindChow

    Here’s the original article that talks about how Kendricks keeping track of his tackles (and trying to get to 10 per game) negatively influenced his play.

    Pretty bothersome that it looks like he hasn’t learned anything. At least now we know Goode can fill in for him if he reverts back to his earlier tackle-missing self.

    • nicksaenz1

      Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he plays upon return. It’s not like he isn’t aware that Goode just filled in for him rather capably. As has been noted, after Meco said something to him, he did start to clean his game up some by playing w/in the system.

      • BlindChow

        Yes, but it’s pretty easy for someone to revert to their old ways when they feel like they’re under pressure. And now that he’s missed some games, his stats for the season will be lower–and clearly stats are still a focus of his, which might cause him to “press” even more.

        We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.

  • Token

    not sure this is good news. Goode, though not as physically gifted, may just be the better football player.

    We will see how Kendricks responds.

    • Richard Colton

      Shame Bobby Wagner in ’12 or Kiko in ’13 didn’t fall to us. Based on style of play, have to believe both were on Bird’s radar. Still, Kendricks has flashed enough physical potential that I believe he could be the long term answer for us. Big/fast enough to spy the Kaps & RGIIIs of the world. Strong enough to plug up holes and take down RBs

      Knott and Goode? Not good enough.

      • Token

        You can have all the physical skill in the world and still be a bad football player. I question his instincts. I dont think he has the mental part of the game. At least not yet. The question is how long do you wait for the light to turn on? Because with some guys it just never happens. As it is right now at this moment, I think ILB is a need going into the offseason. Kendricks has 5 weeks to show otherwise.

        • Richard Colton

          I agree with a lot of what you said and, either way, ILB is a need. Still, Kendricks looked a lot better in the last three games he played this year than the first three. I’m willing to give him a little more rope. Defense over all is playing better, so we should be able to recognize the weak-links.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but was Lavonte David there as well when Eags took Kendricks? Just thought as you named some that were taken before we had a chance, I thought announcers mentioned that when Eags beat Bucs few weeks back, could be wrong they may have taken him a few spots ahead of Kendy

        • BobbyGL16

          Yes. Kinda disappointing, despite how good of a player Kendricks is.

        • Myke Lowery

          Wagner and David were drafted after Kendricks

          • Richard Colton

            Correct. Just checked. 1 spot after Kendricks. Now I’m extra mad. I remember our need for a MLB that year and a lot of draft publications had Wagner going to us with our #2. So far at least – Seattle got the better player. Jury is still out though.

            With Kiko – no need to even discuss. Guy is a stud.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Well, Damn. He’s a gosh darn beast

      • cliff henny

        in kendrick’s defense, last year was an absolute mess. then, he switches from outside to inside, while other lbs being listed got to play regular positions, go off talent and instincts, while mk is learning on the job. wagner, toss him out, not far, seattle, ’nuff said.
        .
        i’m not going to proclaim MK future pro bowler, but out of all the issues on the Eagles, he’s well back. off the top of my head, have cooper or new #2, need slot, need backup rb-shady needs more rest, extend ryans but still need to keep eye on that achilles, peters extend/achilles, herremanns/barbre @ g, corner, safety, heck even throw in returner and kicker before even begin to worry about kendricks. i’m with you, not sold on long term answer, but sold he can get them thru at least ’14 on just athletic ability alone.

        • Richard Colton

          interesting side issue you bring up – Herremans makes OT money, and he’s playing G. You’re suggesting he takes a seat to Barbre and makes starting OT money on the bench. What’s up with Toddfather’s contract, and is he here next year?

          • nicksaenz1

            Define OT money v G money (New Jack City reference). Highest paid Gs in the league are making over 7.5mil, highest paid OTs making 9-10. Todd’s 4.3 this year, 4.2 next. 5.2 in 2015/16, which will likely be restructured/released. I’m not saying he’s not overpaid a little for what he’s bringing to the table, but the phrase bothers me. Had this argument with Dutch over the spring/summer, so forgive me if my response seems a little aggressive given the nature of the topic and my seemingly minor dispute.

          • Richard Colton

            Thanks, yeah – that’s why I was asking about his contract. Todd’s # sounds right for a quality, (not stud) RT. Seems high for an average guard, and way too high for a backup. Hypothetical gun to your head – Todd here next year or not?

          • nicksaenz1

            That’s a tough question. Is anyone ready behind him that can replace him? Dead money is 3.6 June 1st is 1.2 but 2.4 in 2015. Who else is possibly being released/June 1st whose dismissal is of higher priority, i.e. an OLB (Cole/Graham)? I’m inclined to say no in 2014, 2015 100%. Can June 1st him in 2015 and it’s 1.2 against the cap in 2015 and 16.

          • cliff henny

            we’re like kids with new toys, with that june1st cut, sending everyone there. think both cole and graham make sense with the assumption of 1st rounder olb taking place. but herremann contract isnt all that bad, plus he can play both Ts and Gs, maybe not at level he did, but for 4m, considering eagles dont have money issues, certainly a nice asset to have. doubtful eagles will be as healthy next as this yr.

          • cliff henny

            that june 1st cut deal makes a ton of sense for him too. go from cap space of ’14 22m ’15 19m ro ’14 25m and ’15 24.5. using that on cole graham and herremann’s just clears a crapton! increases ’14 32m ’15 39m.
            .
            draft olb and put barbre right into those spots. cant see eagles losing all that much

          • Richard Colton

            Probably the right call, unless he renegotiates for G or backup $$$. I’m sentimental towards him though. Great use of “crapton” – a seriously underrated unit of measure. I believe Adam spells it “craptonne.”

          • cliff henny

            believe it 75% of sh!tton

        • Token

          Id like to see Barbre play right now. Money is the only reason Todd is on the field.

          I think Kelce and Todd are gonna get abused up the middle this week.

          • cliff henny

            token, you’d love the weather here in myrtle last 3 days…not a hint of sunshine and been raining 24/7

          • Token

            Hey, I wish I could live in make believe land where Todd is still a good player but I just cant. I dont get sentimental about players. Todd and Peters where really good once. But I dont see why they should be paid to start here next season.

          • cliff henny

            just like giving your constant negativity a hard time. the ‘abused’and lumping kelce in there is little more than is necessary. see below, i’d cut herremann, only because agree he’s not worth the combination of salary plus savings and seems like barbre is capable. i’d add into those cuts celek casey avant and benn, that clears 43m (outside of celek’s blocking not losing anything on field), plenty of room to renego jax, peters ryans and sign thorton and cooper…plus a safety like byrd, maybe another cb along lines of fletcher. draft would be wide open

          • Token

            Ive never been a big Kelce fan. He does do some things well. But he has a habit of getting abused by powerful lineman. Its just a physical limitation. The Cards have the DL and LBs to really punish us up the middle. Kelce is gonna have to play very well this week.

          • theycallmerob

            The “getting abused by bigger/stronger DL” thing is a bit overused at this point. It happened more his rookie year. This year, it’s not the size as much as the scheme and stunts. NYG was his worst game because of the stunting. He handled the size of OAK, WAS, and especially GB just fine.
            For the scheme Kelly runs, there are few better Centers in the league.

          • anon

            eh — not sure the staff works that way. They’re paying Vick more. Chung gets paid more than Wolff. Casey gets paid more than Ertz.

      • GEAGLE

        Dude…Kendricks got NO continuity…Not everyone will be firing on all cylinders 11 games into a scheme change…
        .,
        he spends his rookie season as a 4-3Sam, spending the majority of the time in MAN COVERAGE, the one thing he didn’t do in college, then he switches to a 3-4ILB in his sophomore season..the kid is going to be fine..it’s gonna be ANOTHER one of those situations “remember when everyone questioned whether Mykal would be the answer?”…..The kid is going to be a really good LB in this league…right now, there are a bunch of defenders who are playing at a higher level than Kendricks…yet out of all these players, two years from now Mykal will be one of our best defenders…Yous need to chill with the Kendcks fear….friggin Nate Allen put it all together after 3 horrible years…by the end of the 2014 season, Kendricks will be one of our best defenders and people will forget all about Wagner,Lavonte! and Burfict

  • mtn_green

    Goode v. Kendricks-
    People were really impressed with Goode and I think that was because Davis had him attack more because it is an easier assignment than filling the right gap and going into coverage with a RB or TE that shows block first

    Kendricks is a better player, but be happy we have an adequate backup.

    Kendricks goal should be to fill the right gap, cover the right guy and not miss a tackle. With his skills the stats will come. This defense strategy is meant to keep Meco and Kendricks clean as the DL and OLB occupies the whole OL and TE. The DL has done a pretty good job getting off those blocks to tackle rbs though.

    • jshort

      yea, he seems kind of selfish worrying about his stats. He should be more concerned about his assignments and not missing tackles. the stats will come.

      • cliff henny

        they all worry about stats, how they get paid, MK just needs to be less upfront about it. issue is now that cat is out of the bag, when he’s flying around too much, his focus on stats will be brought up. he almost needs to go other direction next time he’s asked, something to effect ‘ryans/coaches told me to play to my ability, all that will come, was just young, new, not focusing on it now’…even if it’s a lie, what 90% of these quote are anyways. the 10% that are true are the ones that annoy us, see cary williams

        • Andy124

          Honesty is important when your dealling with people. Not as much when you’re dealing with the media.

        • jshort

          Read the quotes before…was asking Ryans during the game “how many you have”. this is on his mind all game long. sure you get paid by stats, but don’t dwell on that all game long.

  • JofreyRice

    yeesh, sounds a little clueless here. Who gives a crap about raw tackle stats anyway? If you’re going for a stat, go for INTs, Sacks, TFL, something more meaningful. Not just, let me jump on the pile to maintain my 26th overall ranking in the league.

    He has been playing marginally better recently, I hope he can build off of it. It seems like Davis & Crew have scaled his responsibilities down, and he’s tried to slow down a bit as well. I don’t think we’re going to see more situations with Kendricks one on one vs a high caliber TE until he really shows he has some feel for that kind of coverage.

  • Tautalatasi Jr.

    “It’s frustrating, knowing I was top-26 for tackles in the league and I was pushing. I have my goals too.” … Nice that you’re shooting for the stars Mychal, isn’t Reno Mahe a top-26 rb in Eagles History. Junior Tautalatasi is 25 lol!

  • anon

    Does he have a higher tackle or missed tackle ranking?

  • jon h

    come on Les, what do you expect his dad to say?

  • Rohan Patel

    I think people need to relax with bashing Kendricks and just be happy about the situation we have. This is only his second year, and there is a lot of potential in this kid. Also, Najee will push him to keep his spot, and Meco will handle his tackle-goal issue. Let’s just be glad to have a solid starter back healthy after the bye week and wish them the best for Arizona.

    (Personally, I would love for Najee to play ILB, and move Kendricks to OLB like he played in college. Rake up some sacks, and not be a liability in coverage.)