Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kiko Alonso’s Role

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

Kiko Alonso. Melina Vastola / USA Today

Today’s question comes from Nick, via Twitter:

We’ve discussed Kiko Alonso’s role before, but since the Eagles didn’t trade any players during the draft, it’s worth revisiting once again.    

Chip Kelly was asked specifically earlier this month whether Alonso could be used as an edge rusher.

“Do I think Kiko can be an edge rusher? I think Kiko can do a lot of things,” Kelly said. “So yeah, that’s one of the things that’s part of his repertoire, yeah.”  

At 238 pounds, Alonso isn’t as big as some of the players we’ve seen at outside linebacker for the Eagles, like Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. The OLBs are asked to rush the passer, set the edge and drop in coverage. We know Alonso can drop into coverage effectively, but is he going to be better than Graham in the other two areas? And if not, what would be the point of playing him outside?

Maybe the Eagles get creative with Alonso at some point, but the guess here is that most of his snaps in 2015 come at inside linebacker.

“He’s going to be a big help for us,” said inside linebackers coach Rick Minter recently, per PhiladelphiaEagles.com. “He does all the things that we want our linebackers to do. He’s big, he’s tall and he moves side to side and attacks the football. He’s really the prototype of what we’re looking for inside.”

I understand what Nick is saying about the mirrored look, but I’m not sure Alonso will win one-on-one against left tackles. And given that he’s a tackling machine, he’s probably best utilized in a read/diagnose/attack role, as opposed to setting the edge against the run.

Of course, the inside linebacker setup is still a mystery. We’ll have to see how DeMeco Ryans is recovering from his Achilles’ and whether the Eagles are still trying to trade Mychal Kendricks.

Hints should surface on May 26 when the Eagles have OTAs. But regardless, the guess here is that Alonso’s primary role this season will be as the starting inside linebacker – both in base looks and sub packages.


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Does Chip have a plan? T-Mac answers that question and more in his Eagles mailbag.

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McManus projects the Eagles’ starting defense.


Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz takes a look at whether the Eagles got better this offseason.

I think the Eagles are better. But they are still flawed, probably too flawed to be a legitimate title contender. Bradford is the X-factor. If he gets hurt or is simply so-so, this team will have some issues. If Bradford somehow turns out to be a perfect fit and thrives in the new system…who knows. In a fantasy world, he turns out to be Kurt Warner of 1999 or Drew Brees of 2006. In a nightmare world, Bradford turns out to be a combination of Joey Harrington, New Coke and Google Plus. I know…the horror, the horror.

A little draft note here from Gil Brandt:


We’ll take a look at three Eagles numbers that matter.