Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks showed flashes of excellence in his rookie season in covering tight ends down the seam and stuffing running backs. He had his lumps like any rookie defensive player new to a system, but overall Kendricks’ rookie season should be seen as positive.
Kendricks learned under the tutelage of veteran Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans who showed him the ropes and what it takes to be a professional player both on and off of the field. This seemed to really help his game as the two had great chemistry as by far the best play-making linebackers the Eagles had to offer. In a season filled with turmoil, Kendricks, along with Ryans and fellow rookie Fletcher Cox, were certainly some of the few bright spots on a shoddy defense.
Kendricks will look to take his game to another level in year two. He is playing in an entirely new system under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis which will show elements of a 3-4 where he will play inside linebacker. This scheme and position is not all that unfamiliar to Kendricks as he played inside in the 3-4 with the Cal Bears. Kendricks in this scheme should be more freed up from opposing linemen to make more plays on the ball which is an asset of his.
Kendricks and Cox showed flashes of great play last season and look like two building blocks for the defense moving forward. Kendricks will even have the responsibility of calling the plays on defense. With his feet to the fire we will see how the young play-maker responds being relied on not only to make plays but make calls and checks at the line of scrimmage and in essence be the leader on defense. 2013 is a big year for Kendricks. Will he step up and be the next great linebacker for the Eagles? Time will tell, but he is certainly well on his way.