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Big weakness turning into strength for Eagles defense

Linebacker overhaul making huge difference early on.

Something strange is happening to the Eagles. The linebackers are starting to get press, a lot of it actually -- and it's all been good.

The arrival of DeMeco Ryans certainly has steadied one of the biggest weaknesses in recent seasons. Ryans is the quiet, unassuming quarterback of the defense. However, the emergence of rookie Mychal Kendricks might have had the biggest impact on the entire defense. The kid can play the run when he needs to, and has the speed to keep up with tight ends.

"We all bring something to the table," Kendricks said. "I bring what I bring. I think I'm downhill, I'm definitely in there [the huddle] talking, I'm a rah-rah type of guy. I bring enthusiasm, energy and I know I have heart."

Kendricks has 23 tackles, but stats don't tell the whole story. The Eagles drafted him -- 46th overall out of California -- to be their starter on the strongside. From the first day of OTAs, he's held that spot down, in impressive and humble fashion.

"The pressure was what it was just like in any situation," he said. "Going into a game people are counting on you, your teammates are counting on you to be perfect and to do things right and you want to do your best. It's my first year and I still have so much to get better on, and that excites me. I'm learning stuff every day."

Ryans said that the first-year player is getting better each week.

"He's doing well," Ryans said. "He works hard at it, always asking questions, always into what we're doing."

Kendricks doesn't play like a typical rookie. Some need half a season to adjust to the speed of the pro game, but Kendricks admits it has already slowed down for him. Maybe that's why he doesn't feel like a newbie with four NFL games under his belt.

"Expectations are higher and that whole rookie thing is ... I kind of want to say is out the window," he said, "because I am still a rookie but a lot is expected, so I don't tend to lean on that anymore."

Vick trying to avoid the ‘kryptonite’

Mike Vick said what everyone has been thinking for weeks. He was trying to do too much.

Vick was responsible for nine turnovers in his first three games. Last Sunday, he played his cleanest game, with zero turnovers.

“Sometimes you just get in situations where you just try to force things and make things happen,” Vick said yesterday. “Sometimes that can be kryptonite for a quarterback, when you know you can get it done and you try so hard you don’t let it come naturally.”

Vick admitted that he’s been shaking off rust after sitting out virtually the whole preseason. Heading into Week 5, he’s starting to get his groove back.

“As the weeks go on you tend to get comfortable with what you’re doing and the game plans.”

 
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