Eagles linebacker/edge rusher Haason Reddick filled the stat sheet against the Jaguars: 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries 1 tackle for loss and 1 quarterback hit. Crooked numbers everywhere.
And one victory for the 4-0 Eagles, who rallied from a 14-0 deficit to win, 29-21.
This production is why the Eagles signed Reddick to a 3-year, $45 million deal in March. The Eagles wanted Riddick, a Camden native who played at Haddon Heights High and Temple, to add desperately needed punch to a pass rush that had 29 sacks last year, 31st in the league.
Today, the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks with 16 — thanks to the nine sacks they registered against Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz. The Eagles essentially had an all-access pass to the Commanders’ backfield.
Interestingly, Wentz was only sacked twice Sunday against Dallas, a team noted for getting after the passer.
- “For a guy that’s a speed rusher, he’s very powerful,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said about Reddick. “That shows up not only in rushing, [but] in the run game.
- “So he can rush, he can play the run. We can deploy him different ways where he can play in space. He can play different spots along the line.
- “That’s a really good piece to have for us because one, he can handle it mentally, and two, that gives us a chance to create different match-ups that we like. So, he can play right and left. He can stack. He can do it all.
- “I’m really pleased with where he’s at. But that’s what I mean by the unique skill set. He’s not just a one-trick pony. He can do it all.”
EAGLES’ HIGHLY RANKED DEFENSE
After allowing 35 points in Week One, the Eagles’ defense has been excellent. They rank third in total defense, ninth against the run, seventh against the pass and tied for ninth in points allowed.
Reddick said the defense is not satisfied. He also said there was no quit when the Eagles trailed Jacksonville early, their winning streak in jeopardy.
The defense will be challenged Sunday by elusive Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
- “We still have some ways to go,” said Reddick, who leads the league with three strip-sacks and three forced fumbles. “We know that. Right now, it’s just getting better each week and so far we have been doing that.
- “We’ve got to continue to harp on the details, continue to hold everybody accountable so we can rally back in games like this.
- “We were on the sideline saying, ‘There’s a lot of ball left.’ We knew the game was far from over, so we decided to go out there, work and do our best to dominate the men that was in front of us.”
Reddick was on his way to a fine NFL career in Arizona playing linebacker. But after four years, the Cardinals did not pick up his fifth-year option.
That fine career faced potential turbulence. If the Cardinals didn’t value him enough to extend his contract, what might be in his future?
Reddick took matters into his own hands. He talked to his Arizona position coach and defensive coordinator about moving from an inside linebacker to the edge, where he could get after the quarterback.
“They weren’t picking up my option,” Reddick said. “What did I have to lose?”
His career exploded. He had 12.5 sacks in 2020 with the Cardinals. He followed with 11 sacks last year with the Panthers. Then, his big deal with the Eagles.
HOW-TO GUIDE TO GET AFTER THE QUARTERBACK
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Reddick and Gannon said it’s the techniques they utilize in practice.
- “What you want to do is get as many guys as you can that have a knack for taking the ball away and then drill it and teach it better and hopefully it comes to fruition, which it has,” Gannon said.
- “I think the coaches have done a really good job with that as far as how we’re teaching that and drilling it, and then we always keep it on their mind, and our guys know that’s a winning stat.
- “There’s a lot of plays out there that we show our guys, ‘Hey guys, look, there it is, right there. This is what we talk about it. It has to be on your mind. The ball has to be on your mind if you want to take it away.’ ”
Reddick was awarded the key to the City of Camden in April. Yes, he’s happy playing for his hometown team.
- “A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to come back home and play, and the fact that I did and that offer was on the table. I jumped at it,” Reddick said.
- “I’m just glad that I get to come back home and play in front of some of the people that got to watch me grow up, that got to watch me in my Temple days. To be able to be home, where I grew up at, it’s a lovely thing.”