This weekend’s NFC Wild Card matchup of the 3rd-seeded Philadelphia Eagles and the 6th-seeded Green Bay Packers will provide the NFL fan with not only a tight, probably high-scoring game, but also an array of stars to watch – Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson and Asante Samuel (their respective nemeses), Trent Cole and Clay Matthews. The Eagles are 2½-point favorites as I write this, but in reality this is a likely dead-heat footrace. Hall of Fame football writer Ray Didinger said January 6th he wasn’t sure which team he’d pick, and as usual, around Philly, fans and professional observers were worried about the Birds. Didinger also said, however, that close film study shows ways that the Eagles could justify their status as favorites – run the ball and pass in the middle of the field – but not near Clay Matthews, Green Bay’s hyperactive Blonde Bomber of an outside linebacker.
Matthews (#52 in your program) has become a star inside of two years in the league. Ironically, though, his tackle of Eagles’ QB Kevin Kolb in Week 1 paved the way for Vick’s MVP-level season. (Matthews cleanly pinned Kolb’s arms on a tackle and bounced his head off the turf and into the locker room.)
For fans wanting to see a potential star in the making, however, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan suggests that eyes seek out Eagles’ middle linebacker Jamar Chaney, who has only played 2½ games in the NFL. Sheridan suggests that Chaney may well be a victim of various evaluations that have underrated him.
Whereas Matthews was the 26th player overall taken in the 2009 draft, Chaney was taken by the Eagles with the 220th pick in 2010. Interestingly, though, Chaney seems determined to follow in Matthews’ high energy footsteps. Like Green Bay’s star, he is both quick and fast, he tackles well, and he never gives up on a play until the whistle blows. Propelled into his current role when the Eagles’ first team MLB, Stewart Bradley, dislocated his elbow, the 6′, 242-pound Chaney has also shown that he can run with receivers in the middle of the field who turn to go deep – better than Bradley does, in fact. The backup is reportedly a bit sensitive about his status, until now, as a fairly anonymous seventh-round draft choice. Moreover, the former Mississippi State player has apparently been undervalued in other regards as well.
Coming out of high school, according to Sheridan, Chaney’s commitment to play ball at Georgia was road-blocked by his SAT scores.
They were too high.
The geniuses at Georgia apparently felt his 1260 score was suspicious, out of line with his graduating GPA of 2.9.
Allow me a bit of personal data – when I came out of high school, my GPA was 3.1. My SAT score was 1280. Have students become so much weaker that Chaney’s score becomes disconcerting? How bad is that school that gave him a 2.9?
It’s an intriguing story. Did Georgia feel that someone else took Chaney’s SAT? (I’m sure they wouldn’t say.) It’s an unspoken but clearly implied notion in the mainstream press, but one that Chaney’s articulate interviews belie…and in the end, part of the past that remains the past.
Keep an eye on this guy as long as the Eagles stay in the playoffs. He wears #51, and he certainly isn’t cheating on the field.
Daily News Live. Comcast SportsNet. CSN, Philadelphia. 6 Jan. 2011.
“Jamar Chaney #51 LB.” ESPN.com. 7 Jan. 2011.
“Las Vegas [NFL] Lines.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 7 Jan. 2011: D7.
Sheridan, Phil. “Chaney gets his chance to make his mark.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 7 Jan. 2011: D1.