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Why LB Is Losing for the Philadelphia Eagles Many P…….

Why Philadelphia Eagles Losing LB Nakobe Dean is Being Overlooked By Many

While Nicholas Morrow has performed admirably when given the chance, the Philadelphia Eagles are having issues with Nakobe Dean’s most recent injury.

PHILADELPHIA – While Nakobe Dean hadn’t seized the Philadelphia Eagles’ Mike linebacker position as some had hoped by turning into the same kind of playmaker he was in college at Georgia, the emerging starter’s impending second stint on injured reserve has gotten lost in the sauce during the team’s bye week.

A fractured forearm to star tight end Dallas Goedert and the realization that veteran linebacker Nicholas Morrow has been more impactful during his opportunities at Mike are the culprits when it comes to downplaying Dean’s absence due to a Lisfranc sprain.

It is difficult to disagree with the opinion that Sean Desai’s best tandem defensive coordinator option at this time is Zach Cunningham and Joey Morrow.

That said, the upside of Dean was enough for Philadelphia to overlook that reality despite the Super Bowl window being wide open for the Eagles.

To a certain extent, every NFL team must constantly serve two masters: the present and the future. That scale fluctuates depending on where one is in what is always a cyclical industry, though.

For a rebuilding team, the decision of Dean vs. Morrow would always be an easy one because the goal is the future. The 8-1 Eagles have the best record in the NFL, however, and the meritocracy argument has more merit for them.

According to Pro Football Focus, Morrow has been the 11th-best off-ball linebacker in the NFL over his 371 snaps, which started in Week 2 when Dean injured his other foot in the season-opening win over the New England Patriots.

This forced the second-year pro to miss the next four games.

Dean has graded in at No. 59 with 182 reps per PFF.

Morrow, who signed a one-year deal with no guaranteed money as a free agent, told SI.

com’s Eagles Today that he wanted to play behind the Eagles’ imposing defensive front after toiling behind arguably the NFL’s worst during the 2022 season with Chicago.

Rewind to the summer, however, and the Eagles felt the need to bring in Cunningham and fellow veteran Myles Jack, who ultimately retired, because the confidence wasn’t there with Morrow or Christian Elliss, a valued special-teamer.

Morrow was actually released at the cut to 53 on Aug. 29 and took a few days to consider his options before returning to the Philadelphia practice squad on Sept. 4.

Only when Dean got hurt against the Pats was Morrow promoted to the 53-man roster and the veteran quickly solidified that roster spot.

Despite the stellar play of Morrow in Dean’s absence, the Eagles were intent on getting back to their plan in the middle when Dean returned against the New York Jets on Oct. 15.

The two essentially split time against the Jets with Morrow getting the slight edge as Dean worked his way back into football shape (a 51-49 split from a percentage standpoint).

From there Dean spiked to 61 percent and 69 percent before being injured again vs. the Cowboys.

The Eagles were again trying to serve two different masters in a more micro sense, acknowledging Dean was still their guy while also validating Morrow’s on-field performance by keeping him in the mix.

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With the decision made for them now, it’s easy for Desai with Morrow and Cunningham set to be the two linebacker moving forward and throughout the playoffs but that’s at least eight games that the Eagles hope will turn into 11 at a very physical position.

And that means the Eagles are one snap away from Elliss at off-ball LB, a major reason the team kicked the tires on Anthony Barr earlier this week before the veteran decided a return trip to Minnesota was a better option.

Dean may have not lived up to some expectations from some unrealistic observers early on but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t an important part of the defense despite his projected role as the three-down green dot being scaled back.

The margin for error at the position is now razor-thin for Philadelphia.

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