To piggyback on my little rant yesterday about the Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker rotation conundrum, I have to point out something that Andy Reid stated yesterday.
Reid was asked for an explanation about the apparent game plan to rotate and play all 6 of their linebackers. As you might now, this concept irritates the crap out of me, and now even moreso after hearing what Reid said (courtesy of Eagles press releases):
“We had success with it last year; towards the end of last year. So, the guys know their role, they can focus in on it and they can go. They’re all interchangeable, which is a good thing, and they all know each other’s position and have gotten reps at all the positions so it works out well.”
Umm, come again Andy? The first thing he said was “we had success with it last year” but then had to correct and/or clarify himself by adding “towards the end of last year.”
Either which way, the man is delusional. The linebackers stunk ALL of last year. Hence, why they traded for Ryans and drafted Kendricks.
If he wants to reference how well the LBs played towards the end of last year, his own boss called those games “fools gold.” And Lurie was right, they played four seriously deficient offenses in the final four weeks, so it’s nothing to hang your hat on.
Furthermore, Reid said that the LBs were “all interchangeable?” Hey Andy, wake the hell up! They are not all interchangeable! If you actually had a good linebacker, you would never say he was interchangeable.
And if they are, that means the Eagles still have a linebacker corps where no one player is any better than another. Is Patrick Willis interchangeable? How about Brian Urlacher or Ray Lewis?
By describing your LB corps as interchangeable, it would mean they have a group of merely average players where nobody does more than one thing well. Is that what we have here?
Let me rephrase that question: Is that what we still have here?
That statement explains exactly why the Eagles have been so deficient at this position under Andy Reid. If you view a position this way, it becomes an afterthought and you end up with subpar play.
Have the Eages suffered from subpar play at the LB position? I know, dumb question.
I realize this isn’t groundbreaking news here regarding Reid’s feelings about linebackers, but to hear it again just ticks me off.
Reuben Frank pointed out recently that the Eagles have started 19 different linebacker combinations since 2009. I mentioned that in a recent article and it’s worth mentioning again here.
19 different starting linebackers in three seasons. Think about how bad that is…that’s an average of a little more than six different starting LBs per season! Plus, I can’t recall any of the changes being due to injury.
They keep changing linebackers for one reason and one reason only: Because the guys they had in there struggled mightily (aka, they stunk).
That trend is set to continue this season if what we’re hearing is true.
Reid needs to take his head out of the sand and get it through his head that linebackers are important. That’s especially the case for linebackers that play behind a wide-9 defensive front.
I’ve been begging for a “blue chip” linebacker for a long time. DeMeco Ryans is seemingly the best thing we’ve acquired under Andy Reid (besides Carlos Emmons). However, we got him for a cheap price so maybe that means something.
Kendricks has been the best looking linebacker of the bunch so far. Hopefully he develops into a real player and becomes a playmaker from that position.
But, for right now, I’m extremely irritated about this whole “LB by committee” and Reid’s stance on the linebacker position as a whole.
Hopefully two or three guys will stand out from the pack and lead the way (Ryans and Kendricks). Hopefully Reid and Castillo don’t insist on taking playmakers off the field just because they want to be cute with defensive packages.
And lastly, I was listening to sports radio yesterday and I heard Sal Pal come on and give his take on the Eagles game this week.
Sal Pal offered an interesting theory: that this could be just like a 5th preseason game for the Eagles.
Basically, he was saying that the Browns are so bad that this will be the Eagles’ true “tune-up” before the real games begin.
And you know what? I hope he’s right because that would explain the tinkering with the linebackers and allowing them all to play. Maybe Reid and Co. plan on doing that just this week to get all the LBs into game shape.
Then, when the Ravens come to town, we’ll see a more “set” linebacker corp. The LBs will seriously be tested by Ray Rice so they better be prepared.
One can only hope.