December 5, 2013 |
BEFORE THE BALL is snapped, Archbishop Wood junior Jake Cooper lurks at middle linebacker. His eyes dart side to side, reading offensive keys he picked up from film study. He gesticulates furiously, playing maestro while his teammates move to the rhythm of his hands. Opposing running backs must also see this from the backfield. The irony is thick, because both ballcarrier and defender must decipher where the line will fracture. What happens next comes down to something else. And, only one outcome is on Cooper's mind.
February 22, 2015 |
INDIANAPOLIS - Mychal Kendricks and Eric Kendricks played together at Hoover High School in Fresno, Calif., before Mychal starred at Cal and become a second-round pick and Day 1 starter with the Eagles. Eric did not follow his brother to Berkeley, instead going to UCLA, where he won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker last season. Now that Eric is one of the top linebackers in the NFL draft, there's a chance that the brothers could be teammates again. "That'd be crazy," Eric said Friday at the NFL scouting combine.
January 21, 2012 |
T.J. White, a rugged senior linebacker for West Chester Henderson, has committed to play football at Villanova. "I had a few other offers on the table," the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder said on Friday. "Villanova was a great fit for me, academically and football-wise. And I think I have an opportunity to play early on there. " White, a three-year starter who also played tight end, also had scholarship offers from Bucknell, Coastal Carolina, New Hampshire, Towson, and Western Michigan.
April 22, 2012 |
When the Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans, the feeling of relief and excitement among fans was palpable. The team had picked up a name linebacker. Finally. But the big move doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles solved the linebacker problems that were so plain and painful to see last season. Ryans is a two-time Pro Bowler and renowned leader, but after an Achilles tear in 2010 he wasn't the same player in 2011. The Eagles are optimistic about his health and returning him to the 4-3 system in which he excelled, but even if he returns to form, the team might need insurance and definitely needs an upgrade at outside linebacker.
June 28, 2012 |
THE COMMITMENTS for the class of 2013 continue to roll in at Penn State. The Nittany Lions received a verbal commitment from outside linebacker Zach Bradshaw, from Damascus (Md.) High, according to recruiting websites. Bradshaw, 6-3, 205, becomes the 13th junior to commit to Penn State. He cannot sign a letter of intent until February. He is considered a three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com. Scout has him as the 67th best linebacker in the country in his class.
December 10, 2011 |
Andy Reid is right; his linebackers are young. They range in age from 22 to 26, average out to 23.9 years of age, and are two years younger than the average age of the Eagles roster. "They're just a young group," Reid said Friday, echoing a refrain he's only recently made. "We're young at safety, we're young at linebacker. Zero excuse on that - that's not what that is - that's reality. " Apparently, it took four months for reality to hit Reid. When the Eagles were signing free agents left and right during training camp - sometimes overstocking at positions like cornerback and wide receiver - the general feeling was they also had to add a veteran linebacker at some point.
March 4, 2012 |
Germantown Academy's Keith Corliss, who committed to Princeton's football team before an injury ended his senior season - and, he said, his chances of enrolling at the Ivy League school this fall - has committed to Johns Hopkins. Corliss, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker and running back for GA, said he chose Hopkins over fellow Division III schools Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall and Ursinus, as well as Penn, which recruited him for wrestling. He said he will play linebacker in college.
September 2, 2014 |
Travis Long's No. 57 jersey was not going to be displayed in Philadelphia sporting goods stores this season, but there was considerable optimism about the linebacker in the team's headquarters this summer. So when it was learned that Long tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the final preseason game, it left the Eagles without a player who was expected to be a valuable reserve. It also made two backup linebackers even more noteworthy: inside linebacker Casey Matthews, who continues to survive, and first-round pick Marcus Smith, whose development requires patience.
February 19, 2012 |
Look over the Eagles roster and you don't find many glaring holes, particularly for an 8-8 team. They have a quarterback they are committed to, a star running back, and an offensive line that should remain intact if they can re-sign guard Evan Mathis. They have two talented wide receivers, at least at this moment, and a strong tight end. Their defensive ends create pressure, they have a glut of cornerbacks, and while there are concerns at safety, the team isn't ready to give up on the second-round picks it added there each of the last two years.
April 28, 2012
Who says the Eagles don't care about linebacker? For the second time this offseason the Eagles made a major move to improve their linebacker corps, a perennial weak spot that has been as much a part of the Andy Reid experience as screen passes, fastball linemen, and "time's yours. " After landing DeMeco Ryans in a stunning trade, investing in a veteran middle linebacker with a significant contract to fill a significant need, the Eagles on Friday used their second pick in the draft, number 46 overall, to bring in Mychal Kendricks, a 5-foot-11 speedster from Cal. It's the earliest the team has drafted a linebacker since Reid's first draft, when he took Barry Gardner with his second-ever Eagles pick, 35th overall.