Jamar Chaney's improvement will be the key to the Eagles' defense.

Counting Down the Five Eagles Who Need to Step Up: Jamar Chaney

Staff writer Steve Fini continues his look at Eagles who need to step up after the bye week. Number three on his list is middle linebacker Jamar Chaney.

I wish I could ask defensive coordinator Juan Castillo why he didn’t go with Jamar Chaney at middle linebacker from the start of training camp. He’s obviously best suited to play in the middle, so one has to wonder what attributes Castillo saw in Matthews that made him think he was the right man for the job.

I must have been right–his wife loves to watch Casey Matthews’ hair blow in the wind as he misses tackles.

But for as bad as Matthews was, Chaney hasn’t been much better. He’s missed a ton of tackles and has had trouble shedding blocks. To be fair, Chaney has improved in recent weeks, but he has a long way to go.

Along with outside linebacker Brian Rolle, they’ve upgraded the Eagles’ defense from horrendous to below average. The Eagles have tightened their “wide nine” front and over the last six quarters of football have played better on defense. Chaney must continue his progression, however, in order for the Eagles to make a legitimate run at the postseason. Teams can’t run wild on the Eagles and play keep away from the offense–and that starts with Chaney.

He calls the plays, the defense runs through him, and the coaches trust him. Physically, he can get the job done. Now, he must find a way to clear the mental hurdle.

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