‘Pro's Pro' Mychal Kendricks Continues to Build Strong Résumé in Preseason

It's not a secret Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks would like to be somewhere else. 

In Jim Schwartz's defense, he's been relegated to a part-time player who played just 27 percent of the team's defensive snaps last season. It got to the point that this offseason, Kendricks asked for the Eagles to trade him. 

When the Eagles declined, Kendricks didn't hold out. He didn't throw a tantrum. Instead, he kept showing up to work - Doug Pederson called him a "pro's pro." And through two preseason games, Kendricks has been one of the best players on the field. 

How has Kendricks gone about his business in recent months? 

"I'm blessed, man," he said. "That's the God's honest truth. Just knowing that there's so many things wrong with this world today and so many things going on in this world today, you look at your situation and it's not that bad. I just try to approach every day like that. Have an attitude of gratitude and just keep balling, man."

Kendricks was certainly balling on Thursday night. He picked up his second interception in as many preseason games, to go along with a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass defensed.

After two preseason games, Kendricks' stock is extremely high. The Eagles didn't trade him in January, but there's still a chance they could move him now. He might be more valuable to the Eagles on their own team, but trading him would still make some sense - if they can find the right partner. 

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"It's a résumé, man," Kendricks said. "We're all renting space like I told you guys a couple weeks ago. This is a résumé. But it is preseason. It's not going to go in the books for Pro Bowl, ya feel me? It doesn't count but everything matters." 

Kendricks wasn't surprised that he played a lot against the Bills on Thursday night - 27 snaps, most coming with the first team - because the Eagles were in their base defense to combat what the Bills put on the field. The Bills didn't come out with three wide receiver sets, so Kendricks stayed on the field. Normally, he's the odd man out when the Eagles go into their nickel defense, which happens much more often than not. 

Despite the normal lack of playing time, the 26-year-old linebacker is still technically a starter in the Eagles' defense. But the pass-happy NFL has gone the way of three wide receiver sets and Schwartz values having Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham on the field over Kendricks. 

Kendricks' career path has been an interesting one. He once looked like he was on his way to becoming a Pro Bowler in Philadelphia, signed a long-term contract extension but then became a part of a rotation under Billy Davis and a part-time player under Schwartz. He actually has a bigger base salary than Hicks and Bradham combined in 2017. 

While Kendricks has looked dynamic through the first two preseason games, he claims nothing has changed from last year. 

"Everything's still there," he said. "It's always been there. It's always been there." 

A problem for Kendricks has been that his best skill is probably blitzing, something Schwartz does very rarely, especially when they're not zone blitzes. On Thursday night, however, Schwartz dialed some up and Kendricks had a chance to get back to what he does best. 

"Obviously, you know, [Schwartz] used him in a little bit of a blitz package tonight," Pederson said. "He can definitely put some pressure on the quarterback. It's exciting to see where he's at. [I'm] very comfortable with that, and we've just got to keep them coming."

Kendricks wasn't sure if blitzing will become a part of the Eagles' normal defensive plan. Last season, Schwartz worried about the predictability of using Kendricks in those situations. 

But Kendricks has no questions about his role with the team. 

"I think my role is to uplift people around me and make people around me better," Kendricks said. "And that's at a minimum. If I know that, I'll be cool." 

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