Christmas Eve didn’t quite work out as Philadelphia Eagles fans hoped. Neither did New Year’s Day. It’s been almost one full month since we knocked back an egg nog and put presents under the tree, but lo and behold, our holiday came eventually, didn’t it?
The Divisional Round of the playoffs gave us all a reason to smile and a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Upon further review, we may owe Eminem some thanks.
Never one that can lay claim to being short on ideas, Eagles head coach Nick Siranni gathered his guys on Friday night at the team hotel and showed them one of the final scenes from 8 Mile. As Em took down on-screen rival Papa Doc during the final rap battle, Philly drew new inspiration.
A night later, they throttled the New York Giants during the Divisional Round, giving Birds fans two gifts simultaneously, Philly’s win and Big Blue’s elimination. Less than 24 hours later, the Dallas Cowboys were also eliminated. Who says that all gifts have to arrive on time?
Brandon Graham, a native of Em’s hometown of Detroit, shared some thoughts on what his coach’s idea did for him. Thank SI.com’s Albert Breer for the quote.
It was just more about… we already know what we’re facing and we already know what they’re going to throw at us, so let’s just go out there and be us.
In short, they decided to “lose themselves in the moment” and “own it”. Hmmm. We have to find a way to get Eminem and Meek Mill in the studio together to carve out some anthem records.
More news: Six Eagles land on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 impending free agents.
From hip-hop-influenced blowout victories to the stat gurus at Pro Football Focus, here’s something else that may tickle your fancy. PFF ranked the top 50 players who will dive into free agency’s pool come March if they aren’t given extensions. Six Eagles were on the list. Here they are (rankings included).
- Javon Hargrave, defensive interior (4th)
- James Bradberry, cornerback (16th)
- T.J. Edwards, linebacker (24th)
- Chancey Gardner-Johnson (28th)
- Isaac Seumalo, guard (32nd)
- Brandon Graham, EDGE (39th)
Jason Kelce is noticeably absent from that list. You get the idea though.
As you can see, Javon Hargrave was the highest-rated Eagle. Here’s some of what Brad Spielberger, the writer of this one, stated as his reasoning.
Since 2020, Hargrave’s 92.2 pass-rush grade trails only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones at the position, with his 18.8% pass-rush win rate also ranking third.
Hargrave will be 30 years old for the 2023 season, but we’ve seen many interior defenders maintain longevity well into their 30s recently. Hargrave is also intriguing, as different responsibilities between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have led to interesting splits as a run defender or pass rusher. His run-defense grades were much better in his first stop, but it seems he can excel at whatever is asked of him, which is good to know for interested teams that likely don’t frequently deploy a five-man front and do a lot of the other exotic things Philadelphia does up front.
It’s hard to deny any of that. Howie Roseman has some monster decisions to make at season’s end. First things first. Philly has a Super Bowl to go win (hopefully), but free agency will be among the hot topics once they’re done.