DeMeco Ryans Coming Back, Says Kelly

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Amid all the big-picture topics Chip Kelly discussed on Wednesday, there was a smaller roster note that is worth mentioning.

Asked if DeMeco Ryans will be returning, Kelly said point blank that he would be.

“I like having really good football players,” he said. “So you have no idea. Mychal [Kendricks] missed some games last year, DeMeco missed games last year. Kiko [Alonso] has missed games. We’re trying to accumulate as many good football players as we can is what we’re trying to do.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Who Is Kiko Alonso?

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

During the 2013 season, Chip Kelly was asked about his former Oregon linebacker, Kiko Alonso.

“I take extra pride that I had an opportunity to coach Kiko,” Kelly said. “He’s awesome. I think everything that people are seeing in Buffalo is what I’ve known about him all along is that [he’s an] extremely dedicated, driven person both academically and athletically. He was a great student too. Over a 3.0 student.

“He made a couple missteps early in his career and really changed. I think he understood the opportunities that he has in front of him and everything that is happening to him now. I don’t know if it surprises other people, it doesn’t surprise me. Kiko is a special player. When you watch him on film, it’s Kiko see ball, Kiko tackle ball. We saw that at Oregon a lot. I think people in Buffalo are seeing that right now.” Read more »

Inside Voices: Graham Not Out Of Picture

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The league year begins in just over a week. Here’s the latest Eagles buzz as free agency approaches and the draft draws closer:

* The Eagles still have interest in re-signing Brandon Graham. The two sides are expected to meet early this week, we’re told, presumably to try and knock out a deal.

It’s understandable why the Eagles would want to hold onto the 26-year-old. He has had a high production rate in two years under Chip Kelly, turned into a solid special teams contributor this past season and is already familiar with the system and culture. Without him, they would likely have to dive into the free-agent pool for help. And while they could theoretically grab someone like Jason Worilds, whom they’ve shown interest in previously, they would probably have to overspend to get him. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Talent Better Suited For a 4-3?

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Today’s question comes from Silvio on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page:

Two of our best young defenders (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) are better fits for a 4-3 scheme, and we are underusing them and risking losing them. Also, Trent Cole and probably Fletcher Cox are more suitable to a 4-3, while only Connor Barwin is a true 3-4 player. If the target is maximizing your talent, does it make any sense keeping this odd front?

Thanks for the question, Silvio. I actually think the job the coaching staff has done with the front seven in the past two years has been the biggest success story on defense. Read more »

Eric Kendricks, Through His Family’s Eyes

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

The similarities, Yvonne Thagon says, are uncanny.

The mother of Mychal and Eric Kendricks has old photos of the brothers playing sports back when they were kids, and says their mannerisms — like how they’d squat down while waiting to go in a game, their hands placed just like so — are identical. During the one year they played football together in high school, she had a difficult time telling them apart on the field  given that they played the same position (middle linebacker) and had similar builds and playing styles.

“They are so alike,” said Thagon, “yet so different.”
Read more »

Eagles Offseason Outlook: Inside Linebacker

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles

Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receiversrunning backs, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line and outside linebackers so far. Now it’s on to the inside linebackers.

STATE OF THE ROSTER

The Eagles have quite a few decisions to make at this spot. The starters at the beginning of last year were DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

Despite missing four games, Kendricks finished second on the team with 108 tackles, according to stats kept by the coaches. He had four sacks, three hurries, two passes batted down and three forced fumbles in what was an extremely productive year.

Ryans was playing well also before suffering an Achilles’ injury during the Texans game on Nov. 2. It’s the second time he’s suffered the injury, and at the age of 30, he’s looking at another offseason of rehab. Read more »

All-22: The Good And Bad Of the Eagles’ Defense

all22_ineligible_120914

Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.

The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.

For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.

That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.

“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »

Some Thoughts On Where The Eagles Stand

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Football is a sport and ours is a world where conclusions are drawn between heartbeats.

That’s why we pull out the measuring sticks and set up our tier systems and sift through our data to try and form something concrete — never mind that the concrete is weeks away from hardening. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

There was a lot of talk about measuring sticks in the Eagles’ locker room Sunday evening. Questions regarding what the players learned about themselves during a windy afternoon at the Linc. Discussions on whether the team is capable of competing with the best of the best in the conference.

After a 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in which the offense looked completely outmatched, the Eagles are now 0-3 against NFC teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The overall mood, though, was more upbeat than one might expect. As Russell Wilson knelt down to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, Connor Barwin walked around to his teammates and delivered fist-pounds and hugs. When Mark Sanchez returned to his locker after his press conference, Jordan Matthews greeted him a handshake.

Everyone seemed to share the same feeling.

“I don’t think that anybody in here feels that we can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks,” said center Jason Kelce. “I just think they were much better than we were today. And I think we feel the same way about Green Bay and about any team in the NFL. On any given day, you can win in this league. And it really comes down to us just continuing to improve each and every day.” Read more »

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