The Eagles are making a great move if they sign veteran middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who played for the Eagles current defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Detroit. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Birds are pursuing a contract with the veteran middle linebacker, who was recently put on the free agent market by the Lions.
“I’ve got a lot of background with Stephen,’’ Schwartz said earlier today. “I was in Tennessee when we drafted him. He ended up being the starting middle linebacker for us there. When I was the head coach in Detroit we brought him up there. I have a lot of respect for the guy and his production.’’
Tulloch will not only be able to backup second-year potential star, Jordan Hicks, but he’ll also be able to give him great advice in how to play the wide nine defense. He’ll be able to talk to Hicks about his own experiences at the position. In some ways that will be even better than a coach, he’ll be able to talk through things with Hicks, which will allow him to anticipate what he’s going to see on game day.
One of the keys to being a linebacker in the wide nine defense is being able to anticipate where a run may break because it will surely allow some runs to get through. The linebackers are asked to be great open field tacklers because the defensive line is focused on getting to the quarterback. Quick hitting plays up the middle or traps with the centers, guards and tackles pulling, take advantage of the defensive line getting upfield. The linebackers have to anticipate where dives and traps will break before the ball is snapped.
As I said earlier, Tulloch will also be able to backup Hicks, which is very important because the young linebacker has an extensive injury history throughout his years at the University of Texas. He got hurt last year after playing Pro Bowl caliber football. If Hicks were to go down, there’s not a better player they could find to step into the middle linebacker spot in the wide nine than Tulloch. During his time in Detroit, he did an excellent job of anticipating where these runs would break and hopefully he can do the same thing here in Philly.
Eagles and former Lions' LB Stephen Tulloch now in "heavy negotiations", per source. Eagles could soon have a new linebacker.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 6, 2016