There might not have been a more publicly shamed group than the Eagles’ linebackers last year. Poor linebacker play became the poster child for the failure of the so called “Dream Team” last year as the Eagles, widely projected to win 12-13 games, won 8 and missed the playoffs. The Eagles, who have always notoriously devalued the linebacker position, have spent a lot of focus this offseason on getting better in that area, bringing in veteran former Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans through a trade and Mychal Kendricks in the 2nd round of the draft.
As of recently, it remained pretty unclear how everyone would line up at linebacker for the Eagles this season, but with the start of OTAs, it’s becoming more clear. Ryans will play middle linebacker, which is obvious for a player who has made the Pro Bowl out of that spot before. Ryans could have a bounce back season now that he’s back in a 4-3. Mychal Kendricks will likely start at strong side linebacker, barring an injury or unforeseen awful play between now and the start of the season.
At weak side linebacker, incumbent Brian Rolle will face competition from Jamar Chaney, who will be playing his 3rd different linebacker position in 3 years. Chaney started last year as the starting strong side linebacker before moving to middle linebacker. Casey Matthews will likely not be part of that competition and will instead remain at middle linebacker, where he was a starter briefly last year, as Ryan’s backup. He could see action on passing downs because of his ability in coverage. The Eagles seem to have shored up their biggest weakness and are still a very talented bunch. They ended last season on a 4 game winning streak and could carry that into this season and resemble the team they were supposed to be last season.