Reddick proving he's more than a speed rusher

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It would be easy to look at Haason Reddick and think of him as just a speed rusher.

Offensive linemen fall into that trap too.

Because despite his unquestioned speed around the edge, Reddick is surprisingly powerful as plenty of his opponents learn the hard way.

“I think it shocks them,” Reddick said Wednesday. “It catches them off guard. Because they’re looking and they’re like, ‘Well, how much power can come out of this 245 (pound) body?’ or whatever they think. Or ‘How strong could he be?’

“I think once I finally get there and I’m able to put my hands on them and things like that, that they realize, like, ‘Nah, he’s a different guy.’”

Reddick, 28, was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Jaguars in the Eagles’ 29-21 win on Sunday at the Linc. He had 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, a TFL and a QB hit.

But what made his performance so impressive on Sunday was that he didn’t just find success rushing the passer by just simply speeding around the edge. In addition to that speed, he showed off his power, he showed off his finesse and, most importantly, he showed off his preparation and understanding of how to be a complete rusher.

That power was on display early. Sure, Trevor Lawrence fumbled away the ball on his own early in the second quarter, but it was Reddick who forced him out of the pocket, driving 6-5, 330-pound Jawaan Taylor into Lawrence’s lap.

“For a guy that's a speed rusher, he's very powerful,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. “That shows up not only in rushing, [but] in the run game. With saying that, so he can rush, he can play the run.

“We can deploy him different ways where he can play in space. He can play different spots along the line. That's a really good piece to have for us because one, he can handle it mentally, and two, that gives us a chance to create different matchups that we like. So, he can play right and left. He can stack. He can do it all. I'm really pleased with where he’s at. But that's what I mean by the unique skill set. He's not just a one-trick pony. He can do it all.”

Reddick’s power can surprise offensive linemen but his speed is still a weapon. Check out the E-T stunt he ran with Fletcher Cox in this game. Reddick is quick enough to beat the pass-off inside.

After showing Taylor a few different parts of his pass-rush game, Reddick had him guessing. Now that he knows Taylor has to honor his bullrush, he hits him with a push-pull move to use Taylor’s momentum against him.

“Just felt like I was setting him up for it all game,” Reddick said. “I actually told [coach Jeremiah Washburn], I think it’s about time for me to pull this move out. I did and I was able to get the sack, thank God.”

Coming into Week 4, Taylor had allowed 0 sacks and 1 total pressure. On Sunday, Reddick had 2 sacks and a hurry, handing Taylor his worst pass blocking game of the season.

And Reddick capped it off with a game-clinching strip-sack in the fourth quarter. He simply finished Taylor off with a power move. After an afternoon of dealing with Reddick, Taylor didn’t know what to expect and he got a bullrush.

The fun thing about Reddick is that even though he’s 28, he hasn’t been an NFL pass-rusher for all that long. The Cardinals didn’t move him until the 2020 season. He’s still figuring this out and is still getting better.

It’s clear how much he prepares though. He spends a ton of time watching the opposing tackle and that was clear against Taylor. Reddick is willing and able to change his plan week-to-week.

“I’ve been doing it,” Reddick said about his film study. “I’m not like a traditional rusher, so I’ve been doing it based off my skill set, what do I think will work? What tools do I have in my bag that I can take advantage of to be dominant against the other guy?”

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

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