Lesser-mentioned Philadelphia Eagles deserving of some credit

T.J. Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
T.J. Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

For as long as the NFL has been in existence, there have been stars, guys who are maybe a notch below that rung, and role players. As more attention is paid to the game we love and avenues/platforms like social media and NFL Network give us constant access to our Philadelphia Eagles than we have seen in years past, somehow great players still find themselves in the shadows.

No more! The Pro Bowl voters may snub them. Phrases like ‘under the radar’ might get tossed around, but we’ve watched a lot of Birds ball out this year, and we appreciate them.

This is their day. We don’t have a trophy to hand them. We don’t have the power (or the financial backing) to grant them a pay raise/extension, but how about we shine a little light on them anyway?

Here are a couple of handfuls of Philadelphia Eagles who definitely deserve pats on the back.

In a blue-collar city where men and women go to work every day and give it their all, blue-collar players on the team that represent them are and will always be appreciated. There are more, but here are two handfuls of Philadelphia Eagles who have earned the proverbial tip of the cap.

T.J. Edwards, linebacker

Perhaps the valedictorian of this list, T.J. Edwards isn’t just one of the Philadelphia Eagles’ best players. He’s one of the best players in the game at his position.

Yeah, we said it! And, we’ll go to war with him and for him whenever we are given the opportunity.

Isaac Seumalo, guard

Playing on an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers (Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Landon Dickerson) and one of the team’s most popular players (Jordan Mailata) almost guarantees you won’t always get the credit that you deserve. There’s an old saying though.

Often, when we don’t mention offensive linemen, it means they’re doing a great job because we only seem to bring them up when they do something wrong. That kind of sounds like Isaac Seumalo’s story, doesn’t it?

Game after game and year after year, when healthy, Isaac shows up. You don’t have to explain his value or talent to a true Eagles fan.

Milton Williams, defensive tackle

We talk about depth on the Eagles roster from time to time, but if you notice, we never talk about depth at defensive tackle. Let’s put it this way. If Milton Williams is on the lower half of your depth chart, you’re doing fine.

Williams has been working his arse off to earn extra snaps on the defense while sharing said snaps with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Davis, and Linval Joseph. Talk about loaded. Milton has made the most of his playing time though.

Whenever Number 93 is on the field, make sure you pay him attention. Quietly, he’s contributed 16 tackles and four sacks to the cause. More importantly, he gets better every week.

Reed Blankenship, safety

This next statement will sound like we’re looking too far ahead. We could care less. This should tell you everything that you need to know about our confidence level in Reed Blankenship.

We expect him to still be in the game years from now, whether that be in Philly or somewhere else, and we expect the conversations to be about how every NFL team made a mistake by choosing not to draft him. With proper coaching, he can be special, and Eagles Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Dennard Wilson is a special talent in his own right.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson, safety

In all honesty, the only reason we don’t currently mention C.J. Gardner-Johnson as often as we did earlier in the season is because of the fact that he hasn’t played since Week 12. Look at his numbers though in comparison to guys who have made the Pro Bowl. You can make the argument that, despite missing time, he could have been voted on the roster.

A slot cornerback by nature, C.J. transitioned to safety after joining the Birds and blossomed (you can also credit Wilson for that), and despite missing five consecutive games at this story’s release, he’s currently in a four-way tie with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Justin Simmons, and rookie Tariq Woolen as one the NFL’s league-leaders in interceptions.

Third-and-thirty never happens if he’s playing. We can promise you that.

Christian Elliss, linebacker/special-teamer

Say what you will, but when a guy goes undrafted in 2021, sees three locker rooms including his current, and works his way, in his second stint, into an active roster spot, he has our attention.

At long last, Christian Elliss is earning an opportunity, and guess what? He’s doing a good job.

Jack Stoll, tight end

Jack Stoll isn’t asked to be a vital part of the Eagles’ passing attack, and yet, for some reason, after 16 games, he has played 548 snaps, roughly 50% of his team’s total. Now, why is that?

The answer is simple. Jack Stoll is one of the game’s best blocking tight ends and ‘the enforcer’ that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was supposed to be. He isn’t a slouch as a receiver either. Maybe Philly should toss him a few more.

Zach Pascal, wide receiver

To a man and woman, there isn’t anyone that doesn’t absolutely love Zach Pascal. He has played 319 snaps, 29% of the team’s total. He too is an enforcer, constantly doing the dirty week, so guys like A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert can shine.

Fletcher Cox? Why is he on the list?

It seems, on the surface, that any statement made that mentions Fletcher Cox as one of the Philadelphia Eagles’ lesser-mentioned guys would be in error. Then again, we don’t talk about Fletch like we did years ago.

Sure, we’ve said he’s a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. We’ve stated that this may be his last season in Philly, but we’ve spent so much time discussing Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, and others that Number 91 plays the background these days. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Here’s why we say that. In a rotational role in which he’s played 65% of the snaps, the lowest number since his rookie year, he’s enjoying his best season since 2018.

Fletch has already racked up 43 tackles and seven sacks on the campaign, and he still has a game to go. Something tells us we’ll see some magical moments during the postseason.

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