Kendricks Hopes to Make the Most of Scaled-Back Role
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - On the same week his little brother was earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors with Minnesota, Mychal Kendricks was settling into his new reality as a part-time player.
Kendricks played sparingly in the Eagles’ season-opening win over Cleveland, 19 snaps to be exact as the team’s third linebacker who plays only in the base defense, a role coach Doug Pederson admitted is the fifth-year player’s reality for the foreseeable future.
“That's exactly how right now that he's going to be used, yeah,” Pederson said on Monday.
Kendricks, who has typically been on the field in the nickel situations under prior regimes due to his impressive athleticism, has fallen behind Jim Schwartz favorite Nigel Bradham and when another long-time Schwartz favorite, Stephen Tulloch, was brought in, Kendricks stopped talking to the media.
Late Thursday afternoon, however, that changed as the embattled LB went on the record in the Eagles’ media workroom.
“I have to make due and take advantage of the reps I’m getting,” he said. “I think it’s natural for any football player who really wants to play to be a little frustrated when reps are (scaled) back.”
Over the course of a 16-game NFL season, there are going to be bumps and bruises and Kendricks is always one play away from getting another chance to prove his worth, something he seems to have finally accepted in order to make the most of his current situation.
“I used to be so wound up and tight, I wanted everything to go the way I wanted it to,” Kendricks said. “Still do in many ways. But there are some things you can’t control. There’s pride and there’s ego with men in general. Lately, I’ve been trying to one, stay humble, two remember I’m blessed -- my family’s healthy, I’m healthy, And three, put the ego aside and feed your soul instead.”
And that means staying ready for when he’s called upon.
“I just have to be ready. I can’t focus on things I can’t control, but I still have high expectations for myself,” Kendricks said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen