THE PATH TO THE SUPER BOWL GOES THROUGH THE DEFENSE
Former Haddon Heights and Temple star edge rusher Haason Reddick is the key
One year ago the Eagles were 8-1; exactly like they are right now.
They were the best team in the NFC then and they are the best team right now.
They were the best team in the NFL a year ago with 30 minutes remaining in the Super Bowl.
As many players have told me, they let it slip away.
Many of those same players told me when the schedule came out in May that they couldn’t wait to get to Kansas City on Monday Night, week 11, for a rematch
That rematch takes place in five more days from whence I sit here and write this look ahead to the rest of the season. The schedule makers could not have been more prescient.
The two best teams in football; with the two best records meeting up in a Super Bowl rematch after both teams get rested with their bye.
It also kicks of Thanksgiving week which is always the prelude to the "stretch run" to the playoffs
I spent 20 minutes with Andy Reid yesterday on my podcast and I mentioned to him for the first time in his illustrious career spanning three decades in Green Bay,
Philadelphia, and Kansas City that we are talking more about his defense than his offense.
This is the long way to say that the key to a Super Bowl run and a Super Bowl win for the Eagles is about their defense.
I think Jalen Hurts has had a chance to get his painful knee bruise healed up and the offense minus Dallas Goedert is healthy and ready to score a lot of points
The defense is a different story.
A year ago the Birds had the No.1 rated pass defense in the NFL
It was partially fueled by a defensive line that sacked the QB 70 times.
They haven’t come close to those numbers this year.
They are currently 28th in this league in passing yards/game (defense); and in a pass happy league that is a metric that has to change.
The good news is they have the players, especially up front, to turn those metrics around. It all starts with their defensive line.
The key is Haason Reddick. He is a special player that is capable of beating the best offensive tackles, and affecting the QB.
He is beginning to heat up after starting the season with a cast on his hand trying to get broken bones to heal.
He currently has 7.5 sacks in the last six games after getting rid of the club.
On the interior, Jalen Carter is as good a rookie defensive lineman as I have seen in a long time. Josh Sweat and Fletcher Cox all look healthy and fresh. I don’t know if they can accumulate 40 sacks in the remaining eight games but it’s not out of the question.
That would get them to 70...the league leading number from a year ago
It was Haason who hit Brock Purdy's elbow on the seventh play of the NFC Championship game which turned that game into a rout.
While the secondary has been trying to overcome an assortment of injuries throughout the season, the best remedy is to create a fierce pass rush.
Guys on the backend know that the ball has to come out a lot quicker; one of the reasons the Birds had 17 INT's a year ago.. Currently they have 4 which are tied for 31st in the NFL.
If you look around the NFL right now the league is dominated by defense.
The Birds will see a great defense in KC this Monday night and they are led by a powerful defensive line and a talented DC, Steve Spagnuolo, who can play any style necessary to win.
But in SF, Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland and a few others it is defense that is carrying their teams and a heavy investment in the defensive line.
The Birds are built in the same way. The remaining schedule is loaded with winning teams but that shouldn’t matter, including the Chiefs.
If Haason and the defensive line step up and play to their capabilities they should see an abundance of sacks, takeaways, and poor QB play which should translate to more wins and an eventual #1 seed in the NFC come playoff time.
Time for this defensive line to prove their dominance. That is what I am looking forward to over the next 8 weeks...LOOK OUT!!! *