The Eagles’ beating defender is on the list of the most important players

OIn the next few weeks before the training camp, we will count the 25 most important Eagles of the 2022 season.

25. Quez Watkins
24. Gardner Minshew
23. TJ Edwards

TJ Edwards was able to save the Eagles for the 2021 season.

OK, maybe it’s going a little too far. But it’s hard to overestimate how important Edwards was to Jonathan Gannon’s defense in the Eagles’ second half last season.

At the beginning of the 2021 season, when Edwards started a game, he didn’t play as much. But in the second half of the season, when Edwards barely left the field, the Eagles’ defense looked very different. Of course, there were other factors involved – most importantly, the schedule became easier – but the second biggest change was Edwards’ presence on the pitch. It meant a lot to their protection.

In the first eight games of the season, Edwards played 36.8% of the Eagles’ defenses. In the next eight games, he played 94.9% of their defenses. The Eagles were 3: 5 with their first 8 games and 6: 2 with their next eight games.

Leaving aside the pointless final season finale, where Edwards was passive, here’s an overview of how the Eagles defended:

First eight games: 344.0 yards per game (10th NFL), 123.5 yards per game (23rd), 220.6 yards per game (9th), 23.9 points (16th).

The following eight games: 295.3 yards per game (6th in the NFL), 84.4 yards per game (4th), 210.9 yards per game (14th), 17.9 points per game (7th).

He finished the season as the 10th best defender in ProFootballFocus in 2021 and was given an extension for the 2022 season.

Edwards added a layer of strength to the Eagles’ defense that they lacked. The defense coordinator even handed the green helmet point to Edwards.

“I think it has a calming effect on the defense to have one signal caller, and if you play a lot of packets like ours, it can sometimes be a challenge. But he’s really settled in,” Gannon said in the second half of last season. dot and makes all the calls to the front engineer in the front.I mean he’s backing up with the guys at the back and he’s just a very good communicator.

“You hear me talk about being emotionally stable. She’s one of those men I occasionally juices at her ear and she just keeps her thumb in.” I got you, Coach. “Or” TJ, do it. “” I got you “Coach,” and then comes the call. He has had the pleasure of being together. He is smart, tough, physical. We are looking for him in MIKE ‘s position and he is playing well.

Why isn’t Edwards even in the top 20 after all this?

Well, the Eagles have made great strides in improving their position this off-season, and now Edwards is suddenly in a pretty crowded defender room. Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean are both playing an awful lot this year, and it’s up to Gannon and Davion Taylor to figure out how to use the three.

Edwards doesn’t seem worried.

“The more depth you have, the more chunks, the more you can do,” he said this spring. “We’ve brought in some very good additions, guys who have played football at a really high level, so I think it ‘s just adding to what we can do.

“So you look at it and look at it as competition and everyone gets better at it.”

However, it’s hard to imagine Edwards playing more than 90% of the shots as in the second half of last season, but he shouldn’t be forgotten either. Edwards may never become a Pro Bowler in the NFL, but he has had a fairly long career as an undisclosed newcomer to Wisconsin.

And he has proven to be a trusted and instinctive advocate who deserves a role. He will get one again in 2022.

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