TJ Edwards knows how much it means to lead the team in tackles while Eagles linebacker Alex Singleton real guard as they fight for that honor at the end of the home stretch.
âI notice every time I do a tackle Alex is there too,â Edwards said on a Zoom call Tuesday. âHe’s been joking with me about it since the start of the year so I’m sure it will continue. At the end of the day, Alex and I always keep things pretty light. The only thing that interests us is the way the defense plays and the way the team plays. We just want to do our job to help the team win.
Singleton leads the Eagles with 137 tackles while Edwards has 129. If Singleton is unable to get off the COVID reserve list by the weekend, Edwards has a golden opportunity to finish in head.
The big if, of course, is whether the Eagles determine they’re better off playing than letting Edwards rest on Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys to keep him cool for the playoffs.
It’s new territory for the Eagles (9-7), who have won four straight games and seven of their last nine starts to clinch a playoff spot.
If the Eagles beat the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field and the San Francisco 49ers lose to the Los Angeles Rams, the Birds are the sixth seed.
If the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, who can still get the second seed, they will most likely be ranked seventh and open the road playoffs against the Los Angeles Rams or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Edwards is just thankful for being healthy and being a part of the possibilities. The trip earned each of the tackles.
When the Eagles were 2-5, Singleton recalled how head coach Nick Sirianni simply stayed the course under immense pressure. At this point, the quarterbacks were eager to play against the Eagles, as contenders like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Derek Carr completed 70% of their passes against the defense.
Sirianni also didn’t know what his identity would be in the event of an attack. Finally it worked.
âThe coach has been very frank with us just in terms of (how) he doesn’t really care what people think of him,â said Edwards. âHe wants us to be at our best. He wants us to understand what he’s trying to say. We knew what he was talking about. At the end of the day people will want to say what they want to say, but I think the response he got from the team is what he really wanted. We have moved in the right direction. I think it went well. You can take it however you want … We are good.
Sirianni’s attention to detail will likely make the Eagles a badass in season two. Whether it’s the Rams, Bucs, or even the Cowboys, it’ll take four quarterbacks to beat the Eagles.
This weekend Edwards will likely have a chance to play, although how long Sirianni will keep a secret until game time.
Sirianni said on Monday he was not sure to let the starters rest. Later in the day, the Eagles placed defensemen Genard Avery, Fletcher Cox, Marcus Epps, Rodney McLeod and Avonte Maddox on the COVID reserve list. Also on the list are Dallas Goedert, Nate Herbig, Boston Scott, Jack Stoll and Jason Kelce, whose streak of 121 straight center starts is at risk.
To fill the void, the Eagles elevated defensive end Cameron Malveaux and linebacker JaCoby Stevens from the proactice squad to the active roster as COVID substitutes for the Cowboys game, and also activated the winger. brought Noah Togiali closer to the Reserve List / Covid 19 training team.
Decisions to play or not to play are new ground for the Eagles, who have gotten to where they are largely by staying healthy on and off the field.
âOne of our goals this year was to make the playoffs and have a chance,â said Edwards. âIt’s great, but we know it’s just the start. We want to continue to build on what we do. As for Saturday’s game, that’s how it is. We need to speed up our process this week.
The lifelong footballer that he is, Edwards watched the other TJ – TJ Watt – take four sacks from Baker Mayfield in a win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. With 21.5 sacks, Watt needs just 1.5 sacks on Sunday in Baltimore to beat the New York Giants’ Michael Strahan record of 22.5 sacks in 2001.
This mark has special meaning for Edwards as he trains with Watt and his older brother, JJ Watt, during the offseason in Wisconsin. All of them played collegially for the Badgers.
âJust guys from all over the area and we’re just trying to compete every day, get better every day,â Edwards said. âI give all the accessories to my trainer at home. â¦ TJ Watt, he’s a monster himself who just runs around making coins. I’ll be back in the offseason with him to try to catch up.