Eagles Coach Admits Linebacker Unit ‘Not Ready’ for Week 1

Nathan Gerry

Getty Nathan Gerry has been getting a lot of attention from both the Eagles and Patriots coaching staffs in recent days.

This isn’t exactly breaking news for anyone that watched the Eagles-Titans preseason game. The team’s linebacker situation is quite the mess right now. It’s a problem largely stemming from an injury to starter Kamu Grugier-Hill. Still, Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole came right out and said what everyone was thinking.

According to The Inquirer’s Les Bowen, Flajole admitted he doesn’t feel the linebackers are ready for Week 1 of the regular season. The Eagles sent a starting unit of Nathan Gerry, Zach Brown and L.J. Fort out in the preseason opener against Tennessee. They left much to be desired, including allowing two touchdowns.

The first one, a short touchdown throw from Ryan Tannehill to McCoyle Pruitt, was a direct result of Gerry being out of position. The second touchdown could be blamed on Fort, but safety Johnathan Cyprien also looked to be at fault. Either way, it’s clear the linebackers need more practice reps.

“I think we’ll go out and perform. I don’t think we’re quite ready for Game 1 right now,” Flajole told Bowen. “I don’t think we’ve had enough reps. But that’s what the preseason is for. We’ll get those things, going forward here in the next few weeks.”

Grugier-Hill is supposed to miss several weeks as he recovers from an MCL sprain. He could be out until at least October, maybe November. The Eagles are also in a holding pattern with another starting linebacker, Nigel Bradham, as he battles back from offseason foot surgery.

They have veteran Paul Worrilow and rookie T.J. Edwards behind them on the depth chart, along with second-year linebacker Asantay Brown and newcomer Alex Singleton who came over from the Canadian Football League.

Nathan Gerry Takes Blame for Bad Game

Nathan Gerry had been receiving a small token of hype after standing out in the dog days of training camp. After Thursday night’s performance, that excitement has been scaled back a bit. Gerry, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft, agreed with linebackers coach Ken Flajole’s assessment. The unit has much to improve on before they line up against the Washington Redskins on September 8 at Lincoln Financial Field.

“We have a lot to improve,” Gerry told The Inquirer’s Les Bowen. “[Against the Titans] we saw some new things that we haven’t gotten to see from our offense. They just ran a lot more stretch. Up front, they climbed up to the second level more than our [offensive linemen] do. Ours will sit on the d-line before they get up to the second level.”

Gerry knows he can let up the big plays, especially easy pitch-and-catch touchdowns, as he did Thursday against Tennessee. He admittedly made a mental mistake and got caught looking, completely out of position on a seven-yard score.

The Eagles head to Jacksonville this week to play the Jaguars in their second preseason game. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on NBC10. The game should provide a nice little trip down memory lane for both players and fans as Nick Foles is now the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. He has looked impressive so far in training camp for his new team.

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