Philadelphia Eagles News

State Of The Linebacker Position

It was one of the most overhauled positions in the offseason. Let's see how the linebacker position looks halfway through the season.

What They've Accomplished: After missing all of last season with a knee injury, middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is rounding into form with very good back-to-back performances. Bradley had 12 tackles and a sack against the Falcons. He only had two tackles against the Titans, but was very good at sealing any potential cutback lanes for running back Chris Johnson. Bradley admitted early in the season that he was getting used to reading offenses and felt at times a second behind the play. He was also asked to play an extensive role in pass coverage, maybe too much for the time off, but again he's played much better of late. Ernie Sims has brought a lot of energy and speed to the weakside linebacker position. Like Bradley, Sims is coming off his best performance as an Eagle against the Titans where he had his first 10-tackle game of the year. Sims was very physical at the point of attack and did a good job of forcing plays back inside. Sims has been a welcome addition with his attitude and coverage ability.

The most pleasant surprise has been the emergence of Moise Fokou on the strong side. The Eagles were struggling against the run early in the season and decided to insert Fokou to present a more physical presence at the line of scrimmage. Fokou has long arms, is strong and very aggressive and it has shown as the run defense has been much better in recent weeks against some of the league's best backs.

What Lies Ahead: It's important that the starting trio of linebackers continue their strong play especially with the bevy of NFC East games on the horizon. With run offenses stifled, it will be interesting to see whether teams try to attack with the pass game over the middle. That's the reason Sims was added, because teams had success in that regard last season. Now that the linebackers have the run game on lock down as well, it looks like the bevy of moves to improve this position has paid off. Right out of the gate will be one of the toughest tests in the Colts and Peyton Manning who will look to test that pass coverage ability.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:00 a.m., October 30

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