Middle linebacker Jamar Chaney is working to get “bigger, stronger, and faster” wherever the Eagles use him this season. 2011 was an eventful season for the two-year pro, to say the least, and in an attempt to reestablish himself as one of the team’s impact defenders, the former seventh-round draft pick is taking a number of steps to improve upon an inconsistent performance as a full-time starter. In a discussion with Bleed Green on Wednesday, Chaney opened up on his offseason plans, the future of the Eagles’ LB corps, and continued development of Philadelphia’s defense.
When asked what he’s been working to improve heading into 2012, Chaney wasn’t hesitant to run through a list of goals. “Always bigger, stronger, faster,” he said. “Knowledge of the entire defense, trusting what I see on film when I get on the game field. And basically just go out there and play ball, don’t make things too difficult, just go out and make plays.” Chaney’s suggestion of simply executing rather than analyzing, which he acknowledged he did too much of last season, could play an integral part in the linebacker’s path back into the lineup. And any step toward regaining a starting job might be needed in an offseason that saw the Eagles trade for the Texans’ DeMeco Ryans.
Speaking of Ryans, Chaney has no problem with the former Houston standout coming to Philadelphia, and believes he could even benefit from the addition. “Well, of course he is going to be the middle linebacker and the signal-caller, it’s already been said,” Chaney said, mirroring expectations of fans regarding the team’s big-name acquisition of the year. “So it’ll be whatever they, the Eagles, want me to play in terms of my role. If they move me outside then I’ll embrace that role and compete for a starting job. And if they keep me at middle linebacker, I’m going to do the same thing I did my rookie year and push ‘Meco as much as I can to make sure I’m bettering myself.”
Chaney, who led the Eagles in tackles last year but had trouble shedding blocks at times, said he goes into the offseason at about 250 pounds, but likes to stay between 240 and 245 closer to the season. Adding strength while retaining his speed is just one thing he believes will help the defense improve in 2012. “It should be better for not only the players but the coaches also,” Chaney said, noting the unit has now had almost a full year to gel. “Going back and correcting things knowing that you’re going to be running that same scheme is nice. You get to focus on mastering the entire defense instead of just knowing what you have to do.” In the interest of fans, Chaney also made note of some teammates he thinks are in for breakout performances. “Phillip Hunt will have a big year. Also Nate Allen.”