‘Dominant Defense’: Eagles Players Respond to James Bradberry Signing

Avonte Maddox

Getty Eagles CB Avonte Maddox returns an interception down the sideline in 2021 versus the New York Giants.

The addition of James Bradberry changes expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense. The squad went from not knowing who might play opposite Darius Slay to getting a Pro Bowl cornerback. That one roster move, coupled with a stellar draft class, could turn the unit into one of the most feared in football.

The excitement was buzzing about Bradberry on Wednesday afternoon at the team’s practice facility. Avonte Maddox found out about the signing from his teammates as he walked into the locker room. The smile on the nickel cornerback’s face said it all.

“I walked into the locker room and I didn’t even know about it because I didn’t have my phone or anything like that,” Maddox told reporters. “Then I seen a few guys just talking about it and then I looked at my phone and I seen it, so pretty cool. Like I said, high praise for the player and the guy so I’m excited to work with him.”

Maddox — the 26-year-old who inked a three-year extenion in 2021 — sees a “dominant defense” ready to bust out in 2022. In addition to Bradberry, the team added pass rusher Haason Reddick, linebacker Kyzir White, plus rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis and rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean. Watch out.

“We want to be dominant, that’s the goal every year going into any season from my standpoint,” Maddox said. “The main two goals are: takeaways — and that’s the biggest one — and stopping the explosive plays. We’re going to go in and we’re going to focus on our goals and everyone has their individual goals but coming in as a defense, and adding all these pieces and even with the young guys, I feel like we have good depth in this room and on this defense to be a dominant defense.”

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Quez Watkins Loves Bradberry’s Size

Bradberry brings 15 career interceptions into the Eagles’ revamped secondary. Yes, the 28-year-old is coming off a down year in 2021 but he is only one season removed from a Pro Bowl apperance.

And his 82 pass breakups since 2016 are the second-most in the NFL to only one player, Darius Slay and his 84 pass breakups. Bradberry — standing at 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds — instantly upgrades the Philly secondary.

“He brings a lot of size and then with him he’s a great corner. He’s a top corner in this league,” Quez Watkins said. “So he’s going to bring a different aspect to the DBs and to the DBs room. He’s going to bring that competitiveness.”

Maddox has watched Bradberry’s tape and knows what kind of player the Eagles just stole away from their NFC East rivals.

“He’s a great player obviously, and he’s been playing the game for a minute,” Maddox said, “and he’s smart and he knows the game well. So, just adding a piece like that to the defense is a great addition.”

T.J. Edwards Not Scared of Competition

The linebackers room in Philadelphia arguably saw the greatest upheaval this offseason. The additions of Haason Reddick and Kyzir White should turn a relative weakness into a strength, a group that returning starter T.J. Edwards is proud to lead into battle. Competition at the position is only going to make everyone stronger.

“It’s awesome. I think the more depth you have, the more piecese you have, the more you can do,” Edwards said. “I think we’ve brought in some really good additions and guys that have really played football at a high level, so I think it just adds more to what we can do. I think that, and you look at it as competition, everyone’s going to get better from that.”

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