Jordan Hicks Working on “The Look” With Eric Kendricks

It’ll be strange seeing Eric Kendricks join forces with someone other than Anthony Barr, who is now with the Cowboys. Weirdness aside, the decision has been made to move on from Barr, so the team’s defense needs to pivot toward the new players. Jordan Hicks was signed to play alongside Kendricks, once again giving Minnesota a veteran pair of linebackers.

Yesterday, Hicks spoke to the media. One of the main topics centered around playing with Kendricks:

At the outset, Hicks suggests that one of the motivations for coming to Minnesota was Kendricks. He does note that they still have room to grow: “We’re getting there. We actually talked about ‘The Look’ the other day. Non-verbal communication where you just know what each other is thinking and reacting off of it. You know, that’s what we’re practising.”

Being able to know what the other is thinking without needing too much communication can make a difference, folks. Defensive football, of course, is a team effort, but the paradox is that the team effort consists of individual responsibilities. Being able to know what the person beside you is going to do will help you to fulfill your own job in an effective manner.

Not too long afterwards, Jordan Hicks spoke about how close the linebacker room is. “Luckily, I came into a linebacker room that’s really tight,” Hicks suggested, “they’ve done a great job building that off the field relationship and making sure that that’s an emphasis.” He also goes on to note how challenging pre-snap motion can be. The movement can confuse players, so defenders need to respond by ensuring they’re “disciplined.” Again, we can come back to non-verbal communication. Ideally, Hicks and Kendricks can see the same issue and both know how to respond.

Minnesota’s defensive coordinator also sees good things from his starting two linebackers:

As far as I can tell, Eric Kendricks will be dropping into coverage more often than Jordan Hicks. When the defense is looking to bring a linebacker to generate pressure, I expect Hicks to get the call. Fans will probably see the new linebacker getting after the QB with some regularity. Regardless of what Donatell decides, we can say with some confidence that both middle linebackers will be playing an important role in this year’s defense. Their current work building their relationship will pay off as the season unfolds.