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The last time Eagles fans saw Jordan Hicks on the field, he was racing 67 yards for a pick-six against the Dallas Cowboys in early November, a return touchdown that was extremely important given the 33-27 final score in overtime. Later in the game, Hicks suffered a pectoral muscle injury that prematurely ended a special rookie season in Eagles green.
The story of Jordan Hicks’ 2015 rookie season is well-known. The third-round pick, thought of at the beginning of the year as a depth player who could play a role on special teams, breaks into the starting lineup due to injuries and skyrockets into one of the most dependable players on the Eagles’ defense. His interception return touchdown against Dallas in late November stands as one of the most memorable plays of the entire season.
Jordan Hicks accepts the challenge, and it’s a large one, as the middle linebacker of a defense that will play with a downhill mentality 180 degrees opposite of what the Eagles defense did in 2015, his rookie season. The Kid sure has been asked to grow up in a hurry in the NFL.
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We saw it last season, how the third-round pick from Texas who was supposed to have a “redshirt” rookie year was instead tossed in the ocean with no life raft to hold. Injuries forced Hicks onto the field, and he excelled from the jump, igniting an Eagles defense looking for a spark.
He was in the right place for sure late in the first half on Sunday night, dropping into coverage and intercepting Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott as he threw for wide receiver Brice Butler in the end Philadelphia Eagles jersey cheap zone to kill a Cowboys drive. The play turned out to be a big “swing” moment in the game as the Eagles used eight plays to move from their 20-yard line to the Dallas 36-yard line. It gave Caleb Sturgis a chance to kick a 55-yard field goal just before halftime that pushed the Eagles to a 13-10 lead after two quarters.
Does that mean he’s going to hear his name called when the NFL Network has its Pro Bowl Selection Show on Tuesday? Maybe. Maybe not. Hicks is a second-year player who hasn’t yet established his name and his reputation throughout the league, but that’s going to come in time. What we’ve seen from Hicks in 13 games has been encouraging and impressive.
“He’s been playing at a high level for us this year, playing good against the run and the pass,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “There’s a lot on his plate when it comes to making adjustments, making checks. We have a lot of calls that are double calls, one call versus one thing, another versus something else. Does a good job with all that stuff. I think he’s been a good, consistent player for us this year.”
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This Sunday’s Vikings-Eagles matchup is more than just a game for the Kendricks household. It’s a family affair.
Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks will face his younger brother, Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, for the first time in his football career.
Mychal Kendricks has posted at least 88 tackles in each of his first four NFL seasons. So far, he has only 10 on the season and he’s playing slightly fewer than a third of the snaps on defense.
“I’m taking it one game at a time. Where I’m at as a player as a person as a teammate,” Mychal Kendricks. “You know I’m a true believer that I can only control the things that I can control. When I’m in there, I have to capitalize on the time that I’m in and that’s that.”
In 2012, Mychal Kendricks anxiously awaited draft weekend. He didn’t know which team would select him or what the future would hold. Now, the linebacker is set to be an Eagle through the 2019 season, thanks to the extension he signed in 2015, and has four seasons worth of starting experience under his belt.
With the 2016 NFL Draft coming up, Kendricks discussed the things he’s learned from his time in the league in hopes of passing down those lessons to players who are now going through a similar process. Read what the linebacker had to say about his journey.