Mychal Kendricks’ Strong Preseason Gives Eagles Tough Decision

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Just three weeks ago, it seemed like a given that Mychal Kendricks was going to be on the move sometime. But the linebacker has suddenly turned in a preseason that may make the Eagles reconsider.

With four tackles, three interceptions and a sack in his first three games, Kendricks is playing with a resurgence that hasn’t been seen in some time.

As the regular season nears, the Eagles will have to make a decision on Kendricks, and the strong preseason may have earned him another shot as a key part of the defense.

Before getting into the decision, let’s go back and remember why the Eagles are at this crossroads with Kendricks. In his second season in 2013, Kendricks had 106 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

That strong sophomore season was followed by two more seasons with 80+ tackles and 3+ sacks, which led to a four-year contract extension entering the 2016 season.

The 2016 season was far from successful for Kendricks in Jim Schwartz’s system. Kendricks played in 15 games and posted career lows — 32 tackles, no sacks, no interceptions and one fumble recovery. The idea of a trade became, seemingly, a presumed outcome. Kendricks’ struggles in Schwartz’s system seemed to give the Eagles nowhere else to turn.

Then came this preseason resurgence, amid all of the rumors that went on throughout the offseason. At this point, Kendricks’ resurgence is at least worth a shot to see if it can carry over into the regular season. It outweighs a fairly minimal savings against the cap and the possibility of adding a mid-round pick.

Kendricks himself has realized how critical the game-by-game success has been. By not trying to dwell on past performances, even the strong ones so far this preseason, Kendricks is staying focused on trying to remain with the Eagles, even if each game is like an audition.

“Every game is an audition, in the league. That's how it goes,” Kendricks said. “We're all renting space here. Coaches, players, we all go so fast. You go, you get back on a team, you play, it's a cycle. It's crazy. It's unlike any job occupation that I know. Like I said, just taking advantage of the opportunities given. People try to make it so complicated, but it's really simple, man.”

While a lot of regulars will get Thursday night off, Kendricks is still auditioning every game, so he will be on the field when the Eagles close out the preseason against the Jets. He should still be on the field when the Eagles take the field in Week 1 against Washington.

Simply put, from being a likely trade chip to alleviate cap space and add a pick, Kendricks has seen a resurgence in the preseason and it’s saved his job for now. With some confidence in his game again, it’s time to see if the sixth-year veteran can carry that over to the regular season.

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