When the Eagles made the move to acquire Texans' linebacker DeMeco Ryans, I thought one thing: "I love DeMeco, but do Eagles fans grasp the immensity of this deal?" Hopefully, you Eagles fans can answer "Yes!" to that question.
Ryans is the best linebacker, with the exception of long-time Eagle Jeremiah Trotter, Andy Reid has every had at his disposal. Not only does he fill a gaping hole at middle linebacker, but he also has the leadership qualities that the Eagles have lacked in a defensive player since Brian Dawkins' departure after the 2008 season.
The wide-nine scheme, as I've mentioned ad nauseam already in this article, requires a talented, physical middle linebackers to come up and make plays in the running back. That is exactly what Ryans is. He has the strength to get off blocks, the downhill ability to get into the backfield quickly, and the athleticism to make impressive tackles on runners.
Before being injured two years ago, Ryans had four straight 110-plus tackle seasons to start off his NFL career. Four. He would've had similar success last season, but the Texans made the abrupt change from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which left Ryans in somewhat of a no-man's land.
Not only does this move fill the void at middle linebacker, where DeMeco will play, but it also helps solidify the other two linebacker spots.
Brian Rolle, a human pinball who makes nice plays but is somewhat inconsistent, will have the freedom now to be a play-maker on the outside, knowing that Ryans will also be present to make the play.
Jamar Chaney, the Eagles' fastest and best pass-coverage 'backer, will now be able to use those traits to his advantage on the outside as well, covering tight ends and working on outside runs. His size makes him suitable for that position, which is why putting him at middle linebacker last year showed the Eagles' deficiency in linebacker talent.