Every team in the NFL has a certain problem position. One where they try different pieces all the time and it just doesn't seem to work. For the Eagles, that's been middle linebacker. Probably Jeremiah Trotter left the first time, it's been hard to say that the Eagles have had a legitimate MIKE in the defense. Stewart Bradley looked the part for a year, but a major knee injury derailed his career. Wil Witherspoon had maybe the best debut ever, but fizzled out and was shuffled around. Takeo Spikes came in with promise, but wasn't quite up to the MIKE role in a 4-3.
There's so many more names, ending of course with last year's mess starting with Casey Matthews and finishing with... I don't even remember.
But now, we've got our MIKE. DeMeco Ryans was arguably the best 4-3 middle linebacker in football prior to his injury two years ago and that, combined with the Texans shift to a 3-4 led many to believe DeMeco's best days were behind him. Its also a reason the Eagles were able to get him for basically a 4th round pick.
"You can see his leadership out there," said Andy Reid. "What more can you say about the guy? He made big plays when we needed big plays in the last couple of games here. He's been right there making them. He brings a good energy. He has a calming effect out there, yet he is intense."
He has made plays. He was second on the team yesterday with 7 tackles, two were for a loss and he added a sack & an INT.
And if you needed more proof of his presence and leadership, look no further than his snaps counts. He played all 70 snaps for the defense. After some rumblings prior to the season that the Eagles would rotate their LBs more, that hasn't been the case. DeMeco has been an every down back.
And while it's impossible to tell what kind of effect he's had on rookie Mychal Kendricks, who also played 100% of the snaps Sunday, its undeniable that his influence is felt and Kendricks clearly identifies him as the leader.
"We all knew what was on the line and that's our Mike backer on defense. So, he led the ‘D', as he should," said Kendricks after the game.
So my reason to celebrate after week 2? We've finally find our man in the middle.