LB Review: Kendricks An Unsung Hero

It was an up-an-down day the for linebackers Sunday against the Giants. That is particularly true for DeMeco Ryans. 

Here’s the player-by-player breakdown of the ‘backers, after re-watching the game.

Jamar Chaney

Chaney got the start at weakside linebacker for the injured Akeem Jordan and was on the field for a total of 30 snaps, or 44 percent of the time. Overall he appeared to have a solid outing. On the Giants’ first offensive series Chaney got penetration and dropped Andre Brown for no gain. Later in the quarter he made a good read on a Henry Hynoski run and came up with the tackle after a four-yard advance. There were times when Chaney couldn’t get off his block. However, he didn’t give up any backbreaking plays, and acquitted himself fairly well in both run and pass defense.

Mychal Kendricks

Kendricks played all but three snaps against the Giants. He got beat by Martellus Bennett along the right side in the first quarter and then failed to bring the big tight end down, resulting in a long catch and run that was negated by a holding penalty. The rookie was left alone on Victor Cruz early in the second, and stood no chance. Cruz picked up 13 yards on the play. Kendricks had a nice one-on-one tackle on Hynoski in the flat on a third-quarter swing pass that went nowhere.

Some of his best work came late in the game. With the Giants facing a 2nd-and-10 on their own 35 on the their final drive of the game, Eli Manning got a low snap from center David Baas and had trouble pulling it in. Kendricks recognized this and left his defender to rush the quarterback. Manning was forced to throw it away.

His biggest play of the night went largely unnoticed. On the Giants’ last play before attempting the 54-yard field goal, Manning rolled right and threw into double-coverage deep along the sideline. That’s because his closer option, Bennett, was blanketed by Kendricks. Bennett actually stayed in to chip before breaking out on the route, and Kendricks read it perfectly.

DeMeco Ryans

Ryans played all 68 snaps Sunday night. The veteran middle linebacker was strong against the run. He bottled up Ahmad Bradshaw for a short gain early in the second and was routinely around the ball.  On a 3rd-and-4 midway through second, Ryans came unblocked on a blitz and  forced Manning to throw it away.

It was not Ryans’ finest night in pass defense. He was in the area for Cruz’s 14-yard TD reception in the third.  As Cris Collinsworth pointed out, the scheme was designed to trick Manning into thinking he had a one-on-one matchup between Cruz and Brandon Boykin, when in reality Ryans was setting a trap. He did not get to the proper space in time, however, and Manning fired a quick pass between the two defenders for the score.

He was also the closest defender to Bear Pascoe on the tight end’s six-yard touchdown. Ryans vacated the middle to go to Bennett, who was already covered by Nate Allen. Manning found the open receiver once again.

 Brian Rolle

Rolle was one of several Eagles to have a rough night on kick return coverage, as he got swallowed up by New York blockers on a couple occasions. He was released on Tuesday.