One of the most underrated moves of the 2012 offseason came when the Eagles fleeced the Texans for Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. But with the Texans committed to a 3-4 defense and Ryans fitting much better in a 4-3 system, the Texans had no choice than to take what they could get.
For Ryans, he knew something was coming.
“My feelings weren’t hurt,” Ryans said over the weekend at his golf tournament in Alabama, via the Tuscaloosa News. “I saw the road changing during the season last year. I kind of start[ed] seeing that, maybe this can’t go on for too long. So when the move came, I was OK with it.”
While he embraced the move to a new team, the geographic aspect is taking some getting used to.
“It’s a big difference living in the [Houston] suburbs to living in the city,” Ryans said. “There is a lot more taking taxis and parking in parking garages. I’m happy I’m there now. I’m happy they didn’t trade me during the season, because now I can take my time getting used to the lay of the city.”
And so he sees it, as he should, as a new beginning.
“I’m happy to be a part of this team, happy to be going back to the 4-3 as a middle linebacker,” Ryans said. “It’s like getting drafted all over again. I’m excited about it and happy to be in Philly starting new.”
The Eagles and their fans are happy about it, too, given the struggles the team experienced at the linebacker position in 2011. Of course, some of that may have something to do with the team’s new “Wide Nine” get-to-the-quarterback approach to line play, which may be leaving the linebackers more exposed to blocks from the offensive linemen by whom the defensive ends are flying.
With an upgrade at the linebacker position, we’ll know more soon about whether it was the quality of the players or the consequences of the system that hurt the team’s linebacking corps during the season of the unfulfilled dream team.