Our gatekeeper of editorial quality, GK Brizer himself, has been after me to stay on the trails of active Eagles football players this offseason and get some inside talk from an actual Iggles…
Thanks to Jamar Chaney, the 2nd year linebacker out of Mississippi State, we have a story to satisfy the GK…
No Eagle has been more willing to talk to the media during the lockout than Jamar Chaney. After tweeting him with several requests for an interview, Chaney graciously accepted our invitation to talk football.
A 7th-round pick in the 2010 Draft, Jamar Chaney, 6-1, 248, 4.54 in the ’40, Mississippi State, may end up your starting Eagles middle linebacker in 2011…
We don’t quote Gary Cobb here very often, but I think it’s noteworthy to repeat what Cobb once wrote about Jamar Chaney:
“All I can say is the sky is the limit for Chaney. He’s got the potential of being a very special player for the Birds. Next to Michael Vick, Jamar Chaney was the best surprise of 2010 for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
That’s an ex-player at LB putting some things into perspective for appreciating what Jamar Chaney has accomplished in moving up the depth chart to a possible starting role at MLB for the Eagles in 2011.
The Eagles are excited about linebacker Jamar Chaney. “He’s a playmaker who has the ability to find the football regardless of where it is,” said Cobb. “You can’t teach that to a linebacker. He either has the instincts it takes to find the football and make things happen—or he doesn’t.”
“I mean, you put Chaney in and it’s a playoff run, and he’s going in on national TV, and he’s making 16 tackles against the Giants and he’s calling out defensive signals and he’s pointing people in the right spots… and that’s impressive…”
As Cobb also pointed out, Chaney forced fumbles at key times. He forced a fumble to help the Eagles come back and win the Giants game with the season on the line. He also forced a fumble in the Green Bay Packers playoff game that allowed the Birds to get back in that game.
“If something happens once it’s not a big deal,” wrote Cobb, “But when it happens again, it’s not a coincidence. This kid is good. Like a number of the other rookies, he needs to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger.”
I like the way Chaney took charge of the huddle and earned the respect of the veterans in such a short period of time. The rookie middle linebacker started making plays the very moment they put him on the field. This young player is good now but he’s got room to get better— in fact, much better.
A few minutes of conversation with Jamar Chaney produced these bits of info for our readers:
EE: Do you see yourself as a weak side linebacker (WILL) or strictly as a middle linebacker (MIKE)?
Chaney: “At Mississippi State I played WILL my freshman and sophomore seasons. My junior year, they moved me to MIKE. I prefer the middle, but I’ll play anywhere they need me to play…”
EE: Who helped you most on your technique when you came up with the Eagles?
Chaney: “Assistant coach Mike Caldwell worked with me on using my hands and arms to get off blocks. It was something I needed to develop at the NFL level.”
EE: I’m still shocked you lasted until the 7th round of the 2010 Draft, just based on your speed alone. Did staying around that long bother you?
Chaney: “I thought the 3rd or 4th round was where I’d go, but no regrets. With maybe more physical size, I’d have gone sooner. But absolutely no regrets, things happen for a reason…”
EE: What is your training system like during the offseason?
Chaney: “It’s weights, running, diet, and more running… and agility drills based on lateral and backwards movement.”
EE: How do you approach technique for tracking down a running back or a receiver coming into your zone of responsibility?
Chaney: “The first thing is stance…as I anticipate the snap, I stay in a balanced, ready position…Feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with knees bent and body leaning slightly forward. My weight should be on the balls of my feet. Keep my head up seeing the whole field, with the butt of my hands on my knees without leaning…”
“Once the ball is snapped, I shuffle my feet when moving laterally. I do not want to cross one foot in front of the other. Doing so will force your body to turn, putting you at a bad angle to the ball carrier. Instead, I want to shuffle my feet and move down the line with my body square to the ball carrier. You’re now in a position to make a move on the carrier at the correct angle.”
“Then I judge whether the ball carrier is going for the edge or turning it upfield. Then I make my approach keeping my shoulders square to him. At the point of impact, I keep my head up and in front of the carrier. If your head is behind him he can easily shake you off and continue downfield. Always wrap your arms.”
“Once you have the ball carrier wrapped up, drive your legs for at least four or five more steps, or until he goes down. Stay on the balls of your feet and reverse the carrier’s momentum using all the strength of your lower body. Driving the ball carrier back will eliminate the possibility of yards after contact.”
Chaney made his first NFL start against the Giants last year, and he recorded 16 tackles, 12 of them being solo tackles. After his start, NFL analyst Brian Baldinger said Chaney was “already one of the best middle linebackers in the league”, and that he’s “phenomenal in all phases of the game”.
I know of several regular posters here at Eagles Eye and back at the old “On The Inside” who swear by Chaney’s ability to take over the MLB spot in the Eagles’ defense, with veteran Stewart Bradley moving over to SAM (strong-side linebacker) as a result.
The best part of the Jamar Chaney story to me is he’s 7th-Round Gold… that’s Evergreen Gold Standard scouting at its finest.