Where the Heck is Haason Reddick?

Haason Reddick has all but disappeared from the Philadelphia Eagles' defense in 2023. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Haason Reddick has all but disappeared from the Philadelphia Eagles' defense in 2023. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

There are 22 players on the Philadelphia Eagles roster with more tackles than Haason Reddick in 2023.

You don’t need the stats to tell you he’s vanished this season either though. Heck, you don’t even need to watch the games with your eyes open. Just watch an Eagles game and keep track of how often you hear the commentators mention his name. You’ll only need one hand to keep tally.

So what the heck is going on? This guy was the heart and soul of the Eagles’ defense in 2022, finishing 4th in Defensive Player of the Year Voting. Where is he?

The first place your thoughts probably go are to his thumb injury. He underwent surgery before the season to repair ligament damage in his right thumb, so maybe that’s slowing him down?

But that wasn’t overly serious surgery. I’m not saying I could play an NFL game through it, but it’s something that was never expected to hold him out into the regular season. He’s also now played three games with it.

If it’s actually slowing him down you think the move would be to take some time off to recover. It’s not like the season is on the line and we need all hands on deck. I mean, not having Reddick for a game or two wouldn’t make this defense look any different than it has over the last couple games.

Are defenses just keying in on him more? Certainly not in Week 2 or 3. Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter are consistently getting the most attention from opposing offensive lines, with Davis being attacked with double-teams on run plays and Carter getting doubled consistently on passing plays.

Reddick is often being left with the kind of 1-on-1 opportunities that edge defenders salivate over. The kind of opportunities that Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat have managed to turn into positive production.

Maybe he’s making a quiet impact, doing the little things that allow others to thrive? Again, keep a close eye on his play over these last couple games — that’s totally not the case. And I’m not the only one who thinks so — Pro Football Focus’ grades from Monday aren’t up yet, but he was ranked as Philly’s 21st-best (a.k.a. 6th-worst) defender with a 59.2 grade through the first two games.

We haven’t seen Reddick play this poorly since 2019, when he was written off as a bust before finally turning his career around with a 12.5-sack season in his fourth year with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020.

Even in his first two breakout seasons, though, we never saw him play anything like he did in 2022. And every game that passes without him looking like the Reddick of 2022 is more and more worrying.

Was last season indicative of the level Reddick is capable of playing at consistently? Or was it a one-year wonder at the peak of his career, while the level we can actually expect from him is more like what he showed after his first breakout in 2020 and 2021?

I’m not saying we need to hit the panic button yet, that Reddick won’t turn things around or that he’s back to draft-bust Reddick from early in his career. But as he gets further and further out from that thumb surgery we do need to start considering that the 29-year-old Reddick may simply not be a long-term candidate for being one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Eagles fans need to prepare to begin significantly lowering our expectations if Reddick doesn’t turn things around soon.

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