(Eds: APNewsNow.) By ROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer DeMeco Ryans has plenty on his plate, and his every move is heavily scrutinized.
When the Philadelphia Eagles acquired the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker from Houston in March, Ryans was viewed as a savior for a much-maligned defense. Expectations are that high for Ryans, and he knows it.
Fans want Ryans to be a combination of Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter. The defense has been missing a leader since Dawkins departed for Denver after the 2008 season. The Eagles haven't had a playmaker at middle linebacker since Trotter wreaked havoc nearly a decade ago.
So when Ryans failed to make any sparkling plays in the preseason, some wondered if he was overhyped. But defensive coordinator Juan Castillo measures his value by more than what the stat sheet shows.