After writing about the importance of Josh Sweat to the Eagles earlier in the week I was lucky enough to catch up with the Eagles rookie defensive end at the Eagles training session yesterday. Although the Eagles had just come off the gruelling flight to London, they had already completed a training session at the London Irish training facility in Hazelwood, Sunbury-on-Thames.
I wanted to get a bit more detail on the impact that training daily with the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Chris Long and Michael Bennet has had on the rookie pash rusher. Josh said “Just watching them they’re different type of guys. They’re very experienced, different type of rushers from me so I feel I got to take a lot from what they work on, stuff like that. It’s expanded my game a lot. I used to play a lot of four technique and now I’m getting a lot more rushing so it’s helped me a lot. So just getting to watch those guys has helped me a lot”. Four technique means that Sweat lined up over the offensive tackle, often in the 3-4, as Josh did for the Florida States defense.
He went on to talk about how working with the Eagles star pass rushers had “most definitely improved his array of pass rush moves. “I’ve got about three I work on over and over again and that gives me a lot of mileage,”.
With the injury to Derek Barnett, Sweat will see a huge increase in the number snaps. When asked if defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had discussed how much he’d be worked into the rotation Sweat replied, “We don’t really talk about that but I’m ready to go. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in there quite a bit”
I asked Josh about seeing his first significant playing time at Wembley and a smile spread across his face. He replied “Yeah, it’s going to be good. I’m excited. It’s a lot bigger than I anticipated my first game. I’m excited though!”.
For the Eagles, the return of veteran Haloti Ngata will mean the Eagles can keep their defensive end playing in position, not switched up to play tackle. Ngata was at practice and expects to play on Sunday. That’s good news for Sweat as he won’t be expected to play the whole game but I’d expect to see plenty of him given the Eagles aggressive pas rush and the teams tendency to rotate players in and out. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for 75 as Blake Bortles, starting once again after being benched in last week’s contest, drops back to pass.
Look out for the more from the Eagles press conference throughout the day.
Picture by Andy M Neale