The 2014 NFL offseason has begun for the Eagles, which means Chip Kelly and his staff will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2013 roster. While the team was able to manage a 10-6 record along with an NFC East crown, there are still many ways the Eagles roster could be improved upon. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 11, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2014 season. Today we'll continue this offseason review series by looking at the inside linebacker position.
Tommy Lawlor already discussed the inside linebacker position here at BGN recently, so I intend to keep this position review more brief than usual. Make sure you read that piece.
Stats: 1189 snaps, 2 penalties, 4 sacks, 1 QB hit, 3 QB hurries, 103 tackles, 25 assisted, 14 missed tackles, 43 stops, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed
Review: Ryans was a very reliable player having played almost all of the team's defensive snaps. He was a key leadership presence in the middle as the "quarterback of the defense." Ryans had an overall solid year, but there were weaknesses in his game.
Stats: 1022 snaps, 2 penalties, 4 sacks, 6 QB hits, 12 QB hurries, 79 tackles, 22 assisted, 21 missed tackles, 44 stops, 3 interceptions, 1 pass defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumbles recovered
Review: Kendricks was erratic in his second year. His biggest struggles seemed to come early in the season. In his first three games played he missed 8 tackles. Kendricks gave up some big plays, but also made some big plays. He became just the third player in team history to have at least four sacks and three interceptions in a season. Kendricks looks like he belongs as a starter but more consistency is needed.
Stats: 192 snaps, 1 penalty, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 1 QB hurry, 8 tackles, 2 assisted, 6 missed tackles, 4 stops, 1 pass defensed, 1 fumble recovered, 1 TD (special teams fumble recovery TD)
Review: Goode filled in admirably when Mychal Kendricks missed some time due to an injury. He proved himself as a capable backup and also contributed on special teams. Goode scored his lone TD on the season when he recovered the failed Giants long-snap in the Eagles 15-7 loss. A hilarious moment in an otherwise forgettable game.
Stats: 24 snaps, 4 tackles, 1 assisted, 2 stops
Review: Knott emerged in training camp and preseason as a solid force despite being an undrafted agent. He mostly played on special teams. Knott also looks like he can be a solid backup.
Stats: 23 snaps, 1 tackle, 1 missed tackle
Review: Everyone's favorite backup linebacker was cut in early September despite looking like a future Hall of Famer in the preseason. Acho found his way back to Philly after the Eagles signed him off the Giants' practice squad. Acho spent some time on the Eagles active roster in a special teams role before the team released him again and signed him to their practice squad. Acho signed a reserve/futures deal after the season ended.
Review: Phillips signed with the team in free agency but suffered an ACL injury shortly after Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin went down with the same injury. Phillips is likely a reliable backup and a special teams player.
Who Could Leave
Ryans is due $6.8M and could be asked to take a pay cut. With no dead money on his contract, the Eagles could save that money by cutting him. It will be interesting to see how the team handles that situation.
Who Could Sign
It's already been noted that the Eagles have been scouting inside linebackers at the Senior Bowl. As far as free agency goes, Donald Butler and Karlos Dansby are the top names. Depending what happens with Ryans', the Eagles could be looking to add a body in free agency.