The best linebacker on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles early on in training camp and preseason hasn’t been the veteran Demeco Ryans, but rather the young Mychal Kendricks. And he can do it all. He is great in coverage with the speed to trail tight ends down the field. He is a sure tackler that can fill gaps in the run game. Last but certainly not least, in a defense that wants to be aggressive, he is a highly-effective blitzer from the inside linebacker position.
Kendricks was not utilized properly by former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last season. One of Kendricks’ biggest strengths coming out of college was his ability to blitz and get after the quarterback. He recorded eight sacks his junior year displaying the type of ability he has at terrorizing quarterbacks when given the chance.
New Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis‘ scheme has him using his strengths in the aggressive 3-4 hybrid scheme. Davis has repeatedly stated he wants to go back to the old Jim Johnson days where the Eagles blitzed with regularity, and at times when offenses didn’t see it coming. It is Davis’ job to design exotic blitz packages that take advantage of Kendricks’ athleticism and pass-rushing ability as an inside backer in their 3-4.
If Kendricks is deployed correctly in this defense, I can see him wreaking havoc on the inside. Ryans is the veteran steady presence that will always be in the right place, filling the right gap. Kendricks is the man responsible for make plays at the linebacker spot. Whether it is deflecting passes, getting an interception or getting to the quarterback, Kendricks has it in his arsenal to do it all. Watch out for No. 95 in 2013.