Eagles Defensive Playmaker Puts NFL on Notice

Darius Slay, CJ Gardner-Johnson

Getty Darius Slay and CJ Gardner-Johnson are a big reason why the Eagles lead the NFL with 12 interceptions in 2022.

The Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFL in turnovers with 18, including a league-high 12 interceptions. The leader in the clubhouse is surprisingly not Darius Slay. It’s newcomer C.J. Gardner-Johnson who has snagged picks in 4 straight games to give him 5 for the season.

His latest interception came in the third quarter of a 29-17 win over the Houston Texans. After the game, Gardner-Johnson was asked if the Eagles owned the best secondary in football. He didn’t stutter or mince words. It is.

“For sure. With James [Bradberry], [Darius] Slay, me, [Marcus] Epps, Vonte [Avonte Maddox], K’Von Wallace coming in — we got a nice little group back there that we put together when we come in and play together,” Gardner-Johnson told NFL Network’s James Palmer. “We work hard every week, you know what I’m saying? Deep film study. That’s all it is. The IQ is high and we can go out there and play fast with anybody.”

Then Gardner-Johnson went on to explain why the group has been so successful this season. He credited defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson for challenging him from the jump. He’s a guy that could be in the mix for a coordinator job in 2023. Or maybe he takes over for Jonathan Gannon in Philly if he gets a head coaching gig.

“I just want to thank Howie [Roseman]. I want to thank Coach D-Wil. Coach Sirianni,” Gardner-Johnson said. “They believed in me, making a big ole’ change from going from one position to [another] one. Went from playing upfront to now I’m playing the back patrolling the deep end so I really give all the big ups to Coach Wilson. He has been on me since I came here.”

Nick Sirianni Discusses Eagles’ Turnover Differential

The Eagles are taking the ball away from opposing teams at a historic clip. They lead the NFL with a +15 turnover differential: 18 takeaways versus 3 giveaways. Philadelphia’s defense has forced 12 interceptions and 6 fumbles. It doesn’t seem like a sustainable number, but don’t tell that to head coach Nick Sirianni.

“I think sometimes there’s a tendency for people to think, oh, they’re getting lucky in the turnover category. To me, luck has nothing to do with it,” Sirianni told reporters. “We talk about it more than anybody. We live it. We preach it. We rep it. There are fundamentals to it. Our coaches are all over it. Our players are all over it. It’s constantly on our mind. Nobody thinks about turning the ball over or protecting the football more than we do.”

Sirianni continued: “I think it’s sustainable because it’s part of our culture and what we live and preach every single day. Again, the coaches are doing a good job of teaching the fundamentals of how to take the ball away, how to finish with the ball, and our offensive coaches are doing a great job of teaching the fundamentals of how to protect the football.”

Jalen Hurts Gets Into T-Shirt Business

A clip of A.J. Brown wearing a “Hurts Brown ’22” campaign t-shirt during a locker room interview recently went viral. Brown joked that he was the vice president on that presidential ticket. Well, Hurts is actually selling those shirts on his website.

The quarterback has a whole line, including “Sirianni Hurts ’22” and a fun one that reads “Hurts, Don’t It?” That was the viral tweet from the PR team that runs his Twitter account.

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Eugene Riley
Eugene Riley
2 months ago

Why you say Philadelphia Eagles leads league with 18 turnovers rather than Philadelphia Eagles defense leads league with 18 turnovers ? Is that a shot against Justin Hurts and his offense?

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