Eagles

No Jordan Hicks means Nigel Bradham wears 'green dot' responsibility

With the loss of Jordan Hicks for the season, the Eagles are going to put more on the plate of Nigel Bradham. 

Well, at least more on his helmet. 

When they take the field against the 49ers on Sunday, Bradham's helmet will have that little green dot, indicating he'll be the one communicating with the Eagles' coaching staff. 

Big deal, right? 

"I mean, you hear something and you say it again," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Wednesday. "You could put a tape recorder out there and do it." 

But a tape recorder can't tackle. A tape recorder can't set the front. And a tape recorder sure as hell can't become a leader of men.

Bradham can. And the Eagles hope he will.  

While maybe folks shouldn't make too much of Bradham being the new communicator among the linebacker group after Hicks' Achilles injury, maybe there is something to be said about his overall new role in the defense. 

"In some things, he needs to be able to make calls and some things he doesn't," Schwartz continued. "He's done a good job with it. And his leadership is starting to show. He's spreading his wings that way a little bit. 

"He plays with a lot of energy on the field. But being in front of the huddle and being the communicator, I think you start to see that a little bit more from him.

"I don't want to minimize what that is. I don't want to put too much on it. I mean, having a green dot on your helmet doesn't make you a good player.

"But he's done a good job in that role. He's done it already this year. And he's going to have to stay in that mode."

Bradham has been pretty solid since his arrival in Philadelphia in 2016, but he's been even better over the last month of the season. He said he'll need to become much more vocal as the team rides out the rest of the season without Hicks. 

Without Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) on Monday night, the Eagles used Bradham, Najee Goode and Joe Walker for most of the game. 

The good news is that Kendricks will probably be back for Sunday's game against the 49ers. 

While the Eagles have three linebackers in their base package, they spend around 70 percent of their defensive snaps in nickel, which means Bradham and Kendricks will be the two linebackers on the field. The two of them didn't get much work together all offseason but have been since the start of the regular season while Hicks dealt with a couple different injuries before the big one that ended his season. 

"We feel good, man," Bradham said about playing with Kendricks. "We'll play hard, we'll communicate and we'll try to keep this thing going. We want to keep it rolling and keep this defense solid."

In January, unhappy with his lack of playing time, Kendricks asked for the Eagles to trade or release him. 

Good thing the Eagles didn't. Because without Hicks, Kendricks is going to have to play a huge role on the defense for the rest of the season, which the Eagles hope includes a deep run into the playoffs. 

"It's huge," Bradham said. "We all know Mych. Mych is a tremendous player. His athleticism is unbelievable and his ability to make plays. He's made plays in this league throughout his career. It's obvious and evident what he can do on the field. It's a blessing to have him, honestly."

When the Eagles are in their base defense, head coach Doug Pederson hinted that they'll use a combination of Goode and Walker to fill in at the MIKE position. Either way, Bradham will still be the one relaying information and making most of the calls on the field. He doesn't think it will be a problem doing that from his normal outside 'backer position. 

Bradham handled those extra duties for most of Monday's game and thought it all went well. That's why he thinks things will continue the same way come Sunday afternoon as the Eagles try to keep things going without Hicks. 

"I think we'll be OK," Goode said. "We still have Mychal and Nigel to rally around."