May 22, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans (59) is interviewed after practice during organized team activities at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The one thing we heard repeated about a billion times when the Eagles traded for LB DeMeco Ryans in the spring was what a great leader he was. And really, the presence he was in the Houston locker room was undeniable. He was the guy who led the team on the field, he was on the sidelines coaching guys up, his teammates all gushed about him...
But that was in Houston, where he was their draft pick, he'd been there for years and was a face of the franchise. How does he now assume a similar role here where he's yet to play a down?
"Just be yourself," Ryans explained. "That is one thing you have to do. You just have to be yourself. That is one thing I am going to do. I will just be myself. All those things will come. That's not anything that I am just looking to come in and do. I am just worried about getting the football part of it right and all that other stuff will come."
Normally, I would be skeptical that a new guy is going to step in be an instant leader, but if you think about the Eagles LB situation it really does make sense. Aside from Akeem Jordan, this is a really young group. Mychal Kendricks is a rookie and guys like Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle are 2nd year players. The veterans of the group are Jamar Chaney, Keenan Clayton & Moise Fokou who are 25, 25 & 26 respectively.
These are guys looking for a leader. They need to be taught. So I really think Ryans can fill that role despite this season being his first in Philadelphia.
Of course, what we really care about is how he performs on the field. That as to begin with his picking up the Eagles defense, which he says doesn't feel overwhelming now that camp has begun.
"I've learned most of it during OTAs and mini-camps. It's not a crash course. Right now it is just a refresher to go back through the things we already learned in the summer. Right now it is just a refresher course to iron out those little kinks. It is just getting back, getting used to lining up, and running the plays so it is not a crash course."