The Philadelphia Eagles are playing in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs stand in their way of capturing football’s greatest annual achievement. Philadelphia’s season-long journey has exceeded expectations. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman laid down the groundwork for Philadelphia’s current success with an aggressive offseason.
Roseman entered the offseason with a clear plan in mind. He wanted to retain his own contributors while adding key pieces in specific areas. Roseman managed to re-sign veteran center Jason Kelce and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, a pair of local legends who agreed to short-term deals to “run it back.” The Eagles did just that.
With his leaders back in the fold, Roseman’s top priority shifted to improving a pass rush that struggled mightily in 2021. The Eagles recorded a pathetic 29.0 sacks in 17 regular-season contests. That was the second-lowest mark across the league, with just the Atlanta Falcons (18.0) sacks being more inept at sacking opposing quarterbacks.
Roseman immediately attacked his biggest weakness in free agency by signing Haason Reddick to a three-year contract worth $45 million. Reddick has been worth every penny and more. Reddick led the Eagles in sacks with 16.0 quarterback takedowns this season. Collectively, the Eagles recorded a league-leading regular-season 70.0 sacks!
The Eagles’ relentless rushers have amassed 78 sacks including their consecutive postseason victories. It represents the third most QB takedowns in NFL history. Philadelphia is three sacks shy from surpassing the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears for the second-most sacks of all time, and five sacks shy of eclipsing the 1984 Bears (82 sacks) for the league’s single-season record. History is within striking distance.
Reddick’s impact on his teammates has been historic. The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to roster four different players with 10-plus sacks in a single campaign. Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, and Josh Sweat all totaled career-highs in sacks with 11 apiece. Reddick was arguably the best free-agent signing of the offseason.
Roseman made his next standout move, arguably his most aggressive, approximately one month later during the 2022 NFL Draft. The 2021 Eagles lacked a quality No. 2 receiver to divert attention away from DeVonta Smith. Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins masqueraded as starting-caliber receivers. Deciding that his team needed more help, Roseman traded first and third round picks in the 2022 draft to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for disgruntled receiver A.J. Brown. Roseman immediately signed Brown, who was in a contract dispute with the Titans, to a four-year extension worth $100 million.
Brown has been everything the Eagles hoped for and more. His chemistry with quarterback Jalen Hurts has been electric. Brown, whose production was previously capped in Tennessee’s run-first offense, posted a career-best 1,496 receiving yards. Brown also matched a previous-high 11 touchdowns and averaged an explosive 17.0 yards per reception.
It’s difficult to measure the complete extent of Brown’s impact on Hurts and the Eagles’ well-balanced offense. Hurts has taken sizable steps forward this season, going from a fringe-type starting quarterback to a legitimate MVP candidate. Brown and Hurts have quickly formed one of the more fearsome quarterback-receiver duos across the league. Bravo, Roseman.
Roseman then turned his attention back to the second wave of free agency to find his next crucial contributor. Their NFC East rival New York Giants released veteran cornerback James Bradberry. The cash-strapped Giants required immediate salary cap relief and couldn’t justify paying Bradberry’s salary.
Bradberry has been excellent for the Eagles. Bradberry has played a total of 727 snaps in coverage this season, postseason included, per Pro Football Focus. Bradberry has allowed just 44 receptions on 94 targets, good for a conversion rate of 46.8%. Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 54.2 when targeting Bradberry in coverage. The Eagles allowed a league-low 179.8 passing yards per contest during the regular season. Roseman took a chance on Bradberry, who has repaid his faith by putting forth shutdown performances.
Bradberry wasn’t Roseman’s lone difference-making addition in the secondary. Never believing his team was a finished product, Roseman took advantage of another cap-strapped squad when he traded for New Orleans Saints safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson just weeks prior to Week 1. Gardner-Johnson has been one of the league’s most successful ball-hawking safeties since joining the Eagles. Gardner-Johnson recorded a league-leading six interceptions (four-way tie). Roseman. Can’t. Miss.
Roseman’s mentality never wavered in-season, even as the Eagles obliterated the competition en route to a 14-3 finish. An injury to first-round defensive tackle Jordan Davis revealed temporary cracks in the armor. Following Davis’ injury, Philadelphia’s opponents rushed 464 yards in three consecutive contests. Roseman was having none of it. He responded to new-found adversity by signing veteran defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh on back-to-back days in the middle of November. It’s almost unprecedented. The additions of Joseph and Suh immediately put a stop to Philadelphia’s run-stopping woes.
Roseman also made a splash at the NFL trade deadline by acquiring EDGE Robert Quinn from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a fourth-round selection. Quinn unfortunately suffered an injury shortly after the Eagles acquired him, but is healthy now. Quinn could make an impact on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Eagles are competing for a Super Bowl this weekend largely due to Roseman’s aggressive pursuit of improvement. Roseman never wavered and maintained a familiar mindset throughout the offseason, training camp and even the regular season. He pushed his chips into the middle of the table and deserves your applause.
NFL Rule Changes League Should Implement In 2023
- Mar 24, 2023
Colts 7-Round Mock Draft 2023: March Edition
- Mar 24, 2023