Eagles like their formidable group of inside linebackers

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Mychal Kendricks watched during the offseason as the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Kiko Alonso, extended the contract of DeMeco Ryans and selected Jordan Hicks in the third round of the draft.

Oh, and there were also rumors that the linebacker was about to be traded.

''I never worried about any of that,'' Kendricks said Tuesday, a day after he signed a $29 million, four-year extension that includes $16 million in guaranteed money. ''The trade rumors, I don't know even know if they were true. The other guys, I know those guys. I'm excited to be able to go out there with them.''

Kendricks' extension runs through the 2019 season. Alonso, who was acquired in a deal with Buffalo for the franchise's career leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, could be around for a while as well.

''He's a three-down player,'' defensive coordinator Billy Davis said of Kendricks before Tuesday's practice. ''We have three good inside backers and it gives us a lot of options. It's nice to have that ability to match up against different offenses.''

With Kendricks, Alonso and Ryans, the question becomes how to get all three on the field.

Neither Kendricks, nor Davis seemed concerned.

''With the way we play, there will be plenty of reps for all of us,'' Kendricks said.

''I think they'll all get a lot of reps,'' Davis said. ''They're three quality players who need to get a lot of reps. Hopefully, I can put them in the right situations and let them do what they do best.''

Kendricks' strength has been making plays. Since the team converted to a 3-4 scheme under Davis in 2013, he has eight sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

There were questions about Kendricks' size in Davis' defense. He is listed at 6-foot, 240 pounds. The coordinator says he is just what he wants.

''In this day and age he is the prototype,'' Davis said ''Because of the way offenses are spread out now you need guys with speed. In the old days of the 3-4 you needed those big guys like Levon Kirkland, who could go up and butt heads with the guard. Now, you need guys who can run with backs out of the backfield.''

Kendricks, who missed four games last season with a groin injury and has been bothered by a hamstring issue in training camp, is expected to make his preseason debut Saturday night in Green Bay.

Alonso, coming back from a torn ACL last year and a training camp concussion, also is expected to play for the first time this summer. Ryans, returning from a torn Achilles, is 50-50 to play.

''Hopefully by the time the weekend comes around they'll all be ready to go,'' Davis said.


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