As Haason Reddick leads Eagles protection in Super Bowl, sacks aren’t sufficient for him

Counting the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles have 78 sacks this season. That’s probably the most within the NFL, and sufficient that if they’ll get 5 within the Super Bowl towards the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, they’re going to have probably the most of any crew in league historical past.

And by outdoors linebacker Haason Reddick’s requirements, most of these sacks — together with his personal — have been disappointments.

“My college coach, he always challenged me: Why just go get a sack when you can get a strip sack and get the ball back for the team?” Reddick stated Thursday, calling again to his place coach at Temple, Elijah Robinson, now at Texas A&M. “When he said that to me, I understood what he meant. I said that could be a way that I could separate myself. I was conscious of making that a part of my game.”

Nobody within the NFL is healthier at forcing fumbles than Reddick, who had a league-high 5 within the common season and an enormous one within the playoffs, attending to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and forcing a fumble early within the NFC Championship Game win over the Niners. Over the final three seasons, he has compelled 13 fumbles, greater than any participant within the league.

“When we acquired Haason, that was one of the things that jumped off the table, that he took the ball away,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon stated. “Not just a high-production sack guy, but he did have a knack for getting the ball out. 

“We actually studied that tough within the offseason. We thought that we left some on the desk final 12 months. It’s a testomony to the coaches, how they drill it, and clearly simply going again to Haason, he is extraordinarily ball-aware. He’s not simply making an attempt to sack the quarterback. He’s making an attempt to create a takeaway, and when you’ve that sort of mindset, it involves fruition so much. That elite ability set of having the ability to win one-on-one and take the ball away, that is proven up all 12 months.”

Reddick is pretty good at racking up regular sacks as well. He had 16 this year, second only to the 49ers’ Nick Bosa, and he became the first player to record double-digit sacks in three straight seasons with three different teams. A first-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2017, Reddick spent most of his first three seasons as an inside linebacker before shifting outside in 2020.

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That switch hypercharged Reddick’s career. He routinely speaks of this being his third season, not his sixth, because it’s his third as an edge rusher, where he’s excelled. His 39.5 sacks in those three seasons trail only T.J. Watt (43) and Myles Garrett (44) for the most in the league. He set a lofty personal goal before this year started, knowing it would put him among the very best at his position.

Haason Reddick on sacking Patrick Mahomes

Haason Reddick on sacking Patrick Mahomes

Eagles cross rusher Haason Reddick hasn’t sacked Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes but. He says it “would be historic” to take action within the Super Bowl.

“My goal for this year, being my third year, was to get 15 sacks,” he stated. “I broke this thing down, when I first got back to the edge. I looked at how many guys are getting double-digit sacks, how many guys are getting 13, which puts you in that good area, and how many guys are getting 15 or more. That’s what puts you in the elite, what separates the elite from the good.”

Reddick has completed this season on an absolute tear. In three video games on the finish the common season, because the Eagles labored to safe the No. 1 seed within the NFC for the playoffs, he had two sacks in every sport. He has constructed on that within the playoffs, with 1.5 sacks within the victory over the New York Giants and two towards the 49ers.

This season introduced Reddick his first Pro Bowl honor, and whereas he wasn’t among the many three finalists for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Sunday’s sport (6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App) can elevate him to a different degree fully. 

Getting to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes with constant strain is a should for the Eagles protection, although forcing turnovers from Mahomes is not straightforward.

Mahomes went the whole 2022 common season with out dropping a fumble, although he had one within the playoffs towards the Cincinnati Bengals. In final 12 months’s playoffs, he had one other fumble towards Cincinnati that was recovered by the Chiefs. A sack within the Super Bowl could be large, in fact, however Reddick units the bar excessive.

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“It’s a want-to, something you have to be conscious of,” Reddick says of his strategy to every play. “It’s always a split-second decision between getting there, and what you’re going to do when you get there. For me, if I see the ball, and I can go attack it, that’s what I like to do. I’ve always prided myself on it in that moment.”

He goes again to his final sport, with two sacks towards the 49ers and a game-changing play in hitting the throwing arm of Purdy and limiting him the remainder of the sport on account of a major elbow harm. He’ll level to his second sack within the sport as a possibility that obtained away, falling in need of his final objective.

“That second sack I had, I was pissed off, because when I got there, I immediately went for the wrap,” Reddick stated, elevating his arms on the podium to pantomime his strategy to the quarterback. “But if I would have gone for the ball first, it would have been easy to just take the ball out of his hands. I could have probably scored or something, made it a definite turnover. So hell, yeah, I’m still not happy with that.”

What makes Reddick particularly good at forcing fumbles? His place coach, Jeremiah Washburn, factors to his uncommon soccer background, not simply as an inside linebacker within the NFL, however taking part in all around the area earlier than that. He was a operating again and security in highschool, walked on at Temple and was nonetheless 6-foot, 215 kilos after two years on campus. 

“He has a unique ability to finish rushes,” Washburn stated. “He has a skill-position background, has carried the ball before, and did different things at Temple and started as an inside linebacker in Arizona. His experience being able to locate the ball and punch it out is a little different than a big guy. He comes from a different mindset.”

The Eagles made the playoffs a 12 months in the past, however did so with a protection that compelled 16 complete turnovers, tying for the fifth-lowest complete within the league. This 12 months, with Reddick main the cost, they compelled 27, tying for fourth-most, and have compelled an NFL-best three fumbles within the playoffs as nicely.

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“It’s always on his mind,” teammate Brandon Graham stated. “When you’ve been in that moment where you’re about to attack the quarterback and get your sack, he’s going for the ball instead of securing the tackle. When it’s on your mind like that, you’re going for the ball every time, and I think that’s why he’s been successful.”

Headlines are all the time on the quarterbacks on the Super Bowl, however Reddick sees Sunday as an opportunity to place this Eagles protection up on a platform, to remind the nation of a storyline he thinks hasn’t been written sufficient.

“I don’t feel like we’ve been getting the respect that we deserve this year,” Reddick stated. “Some people have been talking about us, but not the way you’d think for a team that has 70 sacks in the regular season, up to 78, and we need a couple more to beat the [Chicago] Bears’ record. 

“Especially on this period, you’ll have thought that one thing like this is able to have gained extra consideration. But if we go on the market and play the identical sort of ball we have been taking part in all 12 months and show this on Sunday, on the largest stage for soccer, they’re going to need to respect us, and we’ll go down as the most effective d-lines in modern-day historical past.”

Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.  

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