THOSE who said they’d like OLB Mychal Kendricks either traded or released, may want to pump the brakes. He could be instrumental in helping us punk the NFL. Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz recently said, if the Defense can’t cover a pass-catching RB, that we’ll just blitz more to “keep his ass” in pass protection.
To do something like that takes two things.
First, Schwartz needs a horse he can ride. That means he needs a LB who can pass rush. One who can beat the blocks of TE’s and RB’s, and the occasional O-lineman. News flash! Kendricks has already proven himself adept at all of that. Every piece of it. Better still, he’s done it both on the inside and on the edge. This means he can be moved around, which makes him harder to game plan for. Better still, he’s already under contract. Schwartz’s new philosophy turns Kendricks from a liability into an asset.
Having the right player is great, but it isn’t the most important part needed to make this work. Second and more importantly, the DC needs the will to force teams to commit their RB to pass protection.
This part takes nerves, balls, and a thick skin. This philosophy requires the DC to play the part of the villain. He has to be willing to make enemies that will cost him future job opportunities. He must be willing to be eternally reviled as a devil by some, and worshiped as a god by others. He must become Buddy Ryan 2.0.
Look, every snap of a football player’s career comes with risk. Every single one. However, there is a difference between a possible catastrophe, and a countdown to one. The human body will only absorb so much punishment before it cannot perform well. Every blitz that results in a full speed hit on a QB, scares an opposing coaching staff, regardless of whether or not the QB completes that pass.
Allowing too many high speed hits on a QB, has a way of jeopardizing entire seasons. So trying to minimize the amount of abuse their QB takes, will be why teams keep that RB in to block. Schwartz is putting this out there now, to make sure that opponents know the risk they run, if they try to involve RB’s in the passing game.
I love that, because it’s a clear attempt at intimidation. As I said in THE 12 this year, we have to “Make Fear Our Ally”. In the article, I go into the reasons why we need to do this, and it seems like the Eagles coaching staff is somehow, eerily on the same page as me. Imagine that. (Yet again it seems like an Eagles staff member may have come across an article or two of mine. If that’s the case, I was at Broad and South for the Phillies parade. Wonder where I’ll stand during the one for the Eagles.)
Of course (and I say this part with the assumption that an Eagles staffer is reading it), the benefits I spoke of in THE 12, will not happen if the Eagles do not have the will to follow through on what Schwartz has now put out there. 31 NFL teams have been put on notice now, and whether or not we follow through will determine if they laugh at us or are intimidated by us.