Eagles linebackers look to carry their momentum into Cleveland

Nakobe Dean #17, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Nakobe Dean #17, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles got their first crack at a live competition last Friday night in their opening preseason game against the New York Jets. While they ultimately fell in a last-second rally (after scoring a go-ahead touchdown themselves), there were still a lot of positives to take away from the game. One of those positives is the play of the linebackers.

The Eagles have struggled to field a formidable unit at the second level for several years. They’ve lacked depth. They’ve cycled through a lot of guys, but it looks like they have found the right mixture. Three of the big names, T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, and Nakobe Dean, all stood out Friday night, and now they look to carry that momentum into the second preseason game.

Here’s one last look at the performance the Eagles’ linebackers put on before we move on to Miami.

The Eagles’ defense began its run through the preseason with a bang. T.J. Edwards and Brandon Graham combined for a nice tackle that resulted in no gain for the Jets. On the next play, Kyzir White gave his starting teammates on defense the rest of the night off.

White read Zach Wilson’s eyes, picked off a pass, and returned the ball nearly thirty yards setting the Eagles offense up with a red-zone opportunity on its second drive. It was a short night for Jonathan Gannon’s starters, but the reserve linebackers showed some flash and kept the party going, something the fans haven’t seen in years and, no doubt, hope continues through the regular season.

Nakobe Dean ran with the second team defense, and he made the most of his opportunity. The rookie recorded five tackles and was flying all over the field. The Georgia Bulldogs product is already proving to be one of the biggest steals of the most recent NFL Draft. He was disruptive in the run game versus the Jets, making nice reads and tackles for minimal or no gain.

As of now, the starting middle linebackers look to be Edwards and White, but Dean figures to see a lot of playing time once the regular season rolls around. This is turning out to be a nice rotation.

The mixture of depth, youth, and talent in the linebacker room is one that fans haven’t seen in quite some time. All three of the aforementioned guys have the capability of becoming consistent playmakers and contributors to the defense. Haason Reddick, Davion Taylor, and Kyron Johnson figure to play key roles as well.

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Vice president/general manager Howie Roseman was able to turn one of the Eagles’ weaknesses into a position of strength. Hopefully, the momentum continues through the preseason. Philadelphia travels to Cleveland for joint practices before meeting the Browns at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday.