The Eagles will make use of their array of linebackers against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Andy Reid told the media following Friday's practice. Jamar Chaney has reportedly been working alongside Mychal Kendricks in certain nickel packages during practice this week, a spot that was previously occupied by DeMeco Ryans.
"They're all going to play and they all have a role in one phase or the other of the game and we'll go," Reid said. "We had success with (rotating linebackers) last year; towards the end of last year. So, the guys know their role, they can focus in on it and they can go. They're all interchangeable, which is a good thing, and they all know each other's position and have gotten reps at all the positions so it works out well."
Reid was then asked if rotating linebackers runs counter to "putting your best players on the field," even though the Eagles also rotate at least eight players along the defensive line.
"Well, we've done this in the past," Reid said. "We did it as far back as when (former defensive coordinator) Jim (Johnson) was here. We put guys in and took guys out for certain situations and I think you see that throughout the league. You see linebackers that rotate. I don't think it's any novelty here."
The insertion of Chaney into the nickel package does raise questions about Ryans, who was brought to Philadelphia to be a three-down force in the middle of the defense.
"I've been very happy with DeMeco," Reid said. "I'm giving everybody an opportunity. The one thing we've got is some experience with play time at positions there. So, everybody's going to have an opportunity to get in and do their thing."
Included in the mix of linebackers who figures to get a chance to play on defense is second-year linebacker Casey Matthews, who missed most of the preseason with a high ankle sprain. Matthews told reporters in the locker room that he expects to play on Sunday, a notion that was backed up by Reid.
"Well, we're trying to get him reps in here, yeah," said Reid. "We'll just see how things go for the game, but we're trying to get him out here in practice. He hasn't had any setbacks. You see that a lot with high ankle sprains, where they tweak the thing. He's gone three days here without a tweak, so that's a plus."
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