Linebacker Goode Providing Solid Depth For Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles picked up Linebacker Najee Goode in 2013 after he was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Goode earned a spot on special teams and saw spot duty at Linebacker before ultimately starting a game later that season.
More than a year into his time in Philly, Goode is pushing some veterans for a starting job.
“That’s what I am working towards,” Goode stated. “I told DeMeco (Ryans) today I am pushing him every day. I told Mychal (Kendricks) that if they don’t step aside I am going to be right there on them.”
Goode spent his first full offseason with the Eagles and has a much greater understanding of the defense. That understanding coupled with his ability to make plays is catching the attention of his Defensive Coordinator and Head Coach.
“I'm glad we have Najee for training camp and off‑season this year,” Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis said. “Our scouting department did a great job picking him up off the waiver wire and he learned from scratch.”
“You obviously have two good linebackers in Mychal and DeMeco but where is our depth behind them and who is it going to be?” Head Coach Chip Kelly asked. “Najee has done a really good job when he's been put in those situations so we are starting to get a little bit more comfortable with him.”
The extra time studying and gaining an understanding for the defense has allowed Goode to learn more than one position. He has a complete grasp on both Inside Linebacker positions, which in turn helps the Eagles depth at those spots.
“I am a lot more comfortable just being able to play both Linebacker positions,” Goode said. “We meet with each of the groups and it adds a weapon as being able to fill in wherever we need to. When my number is called I am going to be able to do it.”
Goode is getting occasional reps with the first team unit. Kelly was quick to indicate it did not mean he beat either Ryans or Kendricks out, at least not yet.
“We know what DeMeco is,” Kelly stated. “DeMeco is going to be our starting linebacker on day one, but we don't know as much about Najee [Goode]. There's a lot of guys that look good but when you put them in with the first group, all of a sudden they don't look as strong. What we are really trying to do is see how some of those players do when they get a chance to go with the 1s.”
“We're excited about having guys like him,” Davis said. “We have very similar athletes at the inside backer position and we are anxious to see the preseason kind of sort that whole mix out.”
Goode is entering his second season with the Eagles. This city and this team already had a place in his family prior to his arrival last year. Goode’s father, John Goode, played tight end for the Eagles in 1985.