THE 12: #6 ANOINT A LEADER

Posted March 11, 2013

 

WHO speaks for the Defense on the rare occasions when a defensive player gets to speak for the unit? On most teams that guy is usually the heart and soul of the unit. Around here (for years now) there hasn’t been a heart and soul of the Defense. As a result, the Defense’s public face has been a weird mixed bag that has rotated between: a captain (Trent Cole);  the guy who calls the signals (DeMeco Ryans); sometimes the soft-spoken, high priced FA (Nnamdi Asomugha) gets a crack at it; and even the flake with no lenses in his glasses (DRC) has had a go.

The Defense needs an anchor. I’m not just talking about a loudmouthed, rah-rah guy, or an emotional leader. I mean a guy who can provide answers in the huddle and has enough experience to trust what he knows and act accordingly. A guy who will get in your face if you keep screwing up, but will also talk a coach into giving you a second chance out there.

We need a Field General.

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THE MEAT:

It’s easy on Offense. The starting QB is expected to lead his side of the ball, and is given carte blanche to yell at teammates, change plays at the line, and even sway the HC on who starts at WR. In most organizations this is done with the backing of the coaching staff.

It’s stickier on Defense. For example, Brian Dawkins was this team’s unquestioned emotional leader, but it was Quintin Mikell that made all the calls and got guys in position. While Dawkins role was understood (and likely appreciated) by the coaches, the guy they handed the actual responsibility to, was Mikell. For as much as the former coaching staff owed to what Dawkins did, there was never any sort of public acknowledgement of what he was to the organization, not just the team.

 

THE MOVE:

Look, the guy who calls the signals will always be a LB or a S. That’s just football. A DE or a DT simply doesn’t have enough of a view to see the full formation, and CB’s may not be heard past the MLB. So it’s going to be a S or a LB, probably for as long as you live or until they put radios in every helmet.

DeMeco Ryans is (by any account that you’ll read), the guy who barks the most on the field AND the guy gets guys into proper position. Players are used to him in those roles.  It would make no sense to change that. What does need to change is the public recognition by the coaching staff that Ryans is the Defense’s leader. The Defense’s leader also needs to have the HC’s ear, so that when he barks, the other players know his words carry real weight.

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12 Comments:
  • The Eagles lack the player you speak of. I don't think Ryan's is a rah rah leader type. No one is even sure he will be on the team longer than two seasons. The Eagles need a leader to emerge from either this draft or the previous one. Hopefully Kendricks can take his game and his leadership to the next level.
  • Yes they need a leader. Hoping that one will emerge took us from 2008 to 2012 without one. Ryans has so far been as close as we've gotten and instead of hoping for a hero, it just makes sense to work from what you already have. Especially given that he was the guy doing it last year.

    Ryans has the players respect already. Believe it or not, it's not at all easy to get a 10 Alpha Males to voluntarily follow one guy. He may not get the fans riled up, but if the huddle will follow him, you use that.
  • U can't just make someone a leader. That's lime when romo said I'm gonna be the leader but didn't do anything. If ryans wants to be the guy than he needs to go out n be the guy not wait for Kelly to say "ok now everyone follow demecco he's our leader".
  • Agreed. I don't think Ryan's would be that guy, because he hasn't been here long enough. I think a leader just has to be one. Ryan's isn't a guy who does a lot of talking anyway. He doesn't fit that mold.
  • Actually (firsthand knowledge here) you CAN appoint a leader AND have it turn a unit around.

    This whole thing of waiting for Prince Charming to ride up on a horse and rescue the Defense is silly. When you need something repaired you have to get in there and do it yourself.

    Hope does not win ball games. I know that from experience.
  • They appointed Vick as their leader and that was a disaster. The player better bring it and be here.
  • The QB is the leader of the offense by default. Nobody "appoints" them.
  • First hand knowledge here, if they guy isn't liked it isn't gonna work. Having babin claimed a leader wouldn't have turned the team around. Having ryans anointed the leader is obvious cause he is the leader he's the captain of the defense as of now. He makes the calls he's the one people look to already but to have the guy to get u fired up anointed doesn't work unless that's the kind of guy he is.
  • The emotional leader can't be forced. Guys like Dawkins, and Ray Lewis don't come along very often with that motivational bonus. What flip is saying isn't that type of guy (although it'd be nice). He's saying we need a guy who knows the defense inside and out, where everyone is supposed to be, and makes sure they are held accountable. Kelly is going to play a large role in this because he's going to have to lean on someone from the defense to get everyone on board with whatever changes are coming.
  • You get it! THANK YOU!!!!

    Even though Ryans will be learning the Defense along with everyone else, they already respect his knowledge and are used to having him call signals. The idea is to get the HUDDLE to follow him. Whether or not fans like his leadership style is irrelevant.

    For the record I dig what he does.
  • Eagles fans have just wanted another presence like Dawk since he left and it's a void harder filled then most think there aren't that many type of leaders in the league when a team gets on they rarely let them go.
  • Right. I just want to see the staff get behind a guy O/D/ST who other players know has the staffs ear. That gives that Field General's words more weight in the huddle.

    It really should be an appointed position not a player voted position. Elected guys have to make sure they keep that popularity. Appointed guys get called stuff like "Company Man" but the team sees playoff games.
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