Surprising Eagles Pass Rusher Grades Out Better Than Aaron Donald

Josh Sweat

Getty The Eagles defense, led by Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham, held the best offense in the NFL to no touchdowns.

The Eagles might want to consider giving a game ball to Josh Sweat. He was the brightest spot on a gloomy day.

The third-year edge rusher played on a career-high 49 snaps (70-percent) and recorded the NFL’s best pass-rushing grade, per Pro Football Focus. Sweat exploded through Washington’s offensive line early in Sunday’s disappointing 27-17 loss to record a strip-sack on Dwayne Haskins.

It happened in the blink of an eye, 2.3 seconds after the snap. He finished the afternoon with a 92.7 pass-rushing grade, tops among all qualified edge rushers in Week 1. He was the second-highest-graded defensive player in the league.

“That boy Josh Sweat, I’ve been talking to him a lot too, because I told him, ‘You got an opportunity and you got to make sure you seize it.’ And I think he’s doing a really great job of just showing people what he’s been showing the last couple years,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said early in camp, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “He’s gotten better every year and the confidence, you can tell his confidence is through the roof. And somebody that I could see, he’s gonna be here for a minute if he continues to keep on progressing like he’s doing.”

Remember, Sweat was placed on injured reserve midway through his rookie year and saw action in just nine games. He entered camp with a ton of confidence in 2019 and turned it on down the stretch by clocking three sacks over the final eight weeks. The fourth-round pick out of Florida State had four total sacks on the year.

“I think the biggest thing is Josh always had some flash plays his first couple years,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of Sweat on Aug. 24. “Josh has had a good camp and I think he’s a much-improved player and we look forward to him playing a big role for us this year.”

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Darius Slay Takes Another Shot at Lions

It’s only one game but Darius Slay looked like he was worth every penny, a true shutdown cornerback in Philly. Finally.

Slay, who was acquired from Detroit in a trade, followed Washington speedster Terry McLaurin all over the formation in Week 1. The second-year receiver finished with five catches for 61 yards, so it wasn’t a complete shutout. However, Slay seemed up to the task and kept McLaurin out of the end zone. It was a strong showing.

After the game, Slay sent out a message to some of his critics who labeled the cornerback a malcontent. The comments were apparently triggered by his former teammate in Detroit, Jonathan Vilma, who cited a necessary “culture change” in Detroit. He inferred that Slay was a bad “character guy” and that didn’t sit well.

Slay wrote: “Let’s get this straight right now!! I’ve never been a bad teammate u can ask anybody that knows me all I do is put smiles on people faces!! Just cause I don’t tolerate disrespect don’t mean my character is bad!!”

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