The Eagles have been through a roller-coaster ride at the line backer postion, and it doesn’t look like Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles organization is going to change that. However, Philadelphia does have a potential future star, in Jamar Chaney. The Eagles seventh round pick from a season ago, who was able to showcase his talents towards the end of season when Stewart Bradley was injured.
Chaney, who bounced around during his college career, ended up starting for Mississippi State. The Eagles originally made the choice to draft Chaney to provide depth and support behind Bradley as a first year player. Before week 14 of this season, Chaney had not started a game but only participated in certain defensive sets. In his first career start against the New York Giants, Chaney was able to rack up 16 tackles.
As the situation on Bradley began to worsen, it looked as if Chaney would be the Eagles starting MLB heading into the postseason. At first, I was apprehensive about such a young player taking the starting job at such a crucial time. However, Chaney stepped in and played like a veteran. Finishing his first playoff game with a whopping 10 tackles and one forced fumble. In reality, it was looking like Chaney was the better bet than Bradley.
Now that the Eagles have been eliminated, they need to address who will be the starting MLB next season. It is going to be an interesting decision, and a lot of the choice will be balancing on whether or no the Eagles resign Bradley. I would think that with the way that Bradley has been playing, and his injury filled past, the Eagles would elect not to resign him. As they have now a one year veteran that performed on a higher level.
Chaney is a different type of MLB from Bradley, as Chaney is a psychical and downhill player, as to Bradley who isn’t very physical. Depending on the type of defense that is being run, a soft linebacker could help in coverage or just in the scheme. Andy Reid runs the 4-3 defensive set, and a soft player like Bradley is not exactly a good fit. Through the course of Bradley’s career, and the numerous injuries he has sustained, he is not fit to be playing as a MLB. In actuality, Bradley always should have been playing the OLB postion as that is what he played throughout college, all the way up until he joined the Eagles.
Due to Chaney’s performance this season, he is the better choice. He is a quick and physical MLB that can get the job done. He is a tackling machine that the Eagles could easily build their defense around. With the right coaching and the right performance, he could find himself a new contract and the permanent starting role. Chaney proved last year that he can handle the starting job, and there is no reason to let Bradley take back over.
Let’s hope the new Eagles defensive coordinator, whomever that may be, feels the same way.
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