Has Haason Reddick been everything that the Eagles hoped he would be?

Eagles Haason reddick
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick (7) prepares to rush during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Haason Reddick is earning his paycheck in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles after signing a three-year deal worth $45 million in March.

The addition didn’t propel his new team to the center of the NFL offseason buzz. When Russell Wilson, Tyreek Hill, and Khalil Mack are all involved in trades within the same week of a signing, the big names will inevitably dominate the conversation.

However, the Camden native has made as big of an impact on the NFL’s top team in 2022 as any of the long list of key additions made by Howie Roseman over the past year.

Reddick Sacking the Quarterback

The Eagles paid Haason Reddick to sack the quarterback.

He has eight sacks through 11 games, putting him slightly above a 12-sack pace over a 17-game schedule. He is currently tied with four other players for 12th in the NFL. The eight players in the league with double-digit sacks have all played a higher percentage of their team’s defensive snaps than Reddick.

He broke out, along with the rest of the defensive front, in Week 3 against Carson Wentz in Washington. The Eagles sacked their former quarterback nine times with Haason Reddick contributing 1.5 off the edge.

The former Temple University standout truly announced his homecoming to Lincoln Financial Field with a monstrous effort in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Haason Reddick first got involved with a tackle for loss early in the first quarter. He then added a fumble recovery after a mishandled snap by Trevor Lawrence in the second quarter. 

His first sack of the afternoon came in the fourth quarter when he got to Lawrence to force a fumble and recovered the football himself. 

The turnover set the Eagles up deep in Jacksonville territory to take a commanding 15-point lead. When they left their opponent hanging by a thread in a one-possession game at the two-minute warning, Haason Reddick sealed the win with yet another strip sack. This time, he had help from his teammate Javon Hargrave on the recovery. Reddick earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

John Kincade spoke on 97.5 The Fanatic about the timely sacks provided by Haason Reddick. All eight of his sacks have come on either come on third or fourth down or forced a fumble. He continued the knack for impact plays in key moments by keeping Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts out of the end zone on a drive that could’ve put the Eagles on the wrong side of their Week 11 hiccup.

Gannon’s Use of Reddick

Sheil Kapadia of The Ringer spoke about Haason Reddick’s potential role for the Philadelphia defense just before the 2022 season began.

“I believe Haason Reddick is the type of player who basically tells you what you have in a defensive coordinator. Do you have a defensive coordinator who knows how to put him in positions to succeed and really make him a difference-making player, or do you have a defensive coordinator who’s a little confused about it?”

-Sheil Kapadia

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon deploys Haason Reddick in the “overhang” position. The space allows the former NCAA walk-on to utilize his incredible athleticism in space.

“As our overhang players, they’re going to rush the passer to affect the quarterback, and they’re going to be violent in the run game and set edges and then they’re going to have to drop a little bit in coverage,” Gannon said about the unique position.

While Gannon took criticism at points early in the season for using Reddick in coverage too often, he has let his defensive “weapon” out of the holster enough to make the impact plays that earned him the big ticket in free agency.

Haason Reddick broke out for his two best NFL seasons in 2020 with the Arizona Cardinals and 2021 with the Carolina Panthers. He has set a comparable statistical pace with the Eagles this season in the key categories of sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits.

Eagles Pass Rush

The Eagles finished 31st in the NFL with 29 sacks during the 2021 season. They’ve already shattered that total in 11 games in 2022 with 36 sacks, tied for third-most in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The pace would land them at 56 over a 17-game season, just short of doubling their total from last season.

The Cowboys and the Patriots are the only two NFL teams with more sacks than the Eagles. The two defensive units are anchored by Defensive Player of the Year candidates Micah Parsons and Matthew Judon. Both players own a high percentage of their respective teams’ sacks.

Haason Reddick leads the Eagles with eight sacks, but he is not a star player carrying the entire weight of the unit. He has played 69% of the defensive snaps in 2022, less than his share in 2020 and 2021.

The organization believes in a deep rotation of pass rushers. Hargrave has seven sacks while Fletcher Cox is coming off arguably his most invigorated performance of the season in Week 12. Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat have contributed solidly to a strong rotation, and newcomers Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh have added some beef to the middle.

Gannon’s defensive scheme took heavy (and justified) criticism throughout the 2021 season for his fixation on eliminating explosive plays. The goal had logic to it, but a unit that finished 26th in takeaways and failed to get the quarterback was never going to succeed against top competition without their own big-play ability.

The Philadelphia defense has the firepower in 2022 to compete with the league’s best offenses. Can their depth on the pass rush help them take the next step into the league’s elite tier?

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire