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Haason Reddick interview: Eagles edge rusher talks Sean Desai, Georgia rookies, and more

Hear from Philadelphia’s sack leader.

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: Our pal Justin Melo (@JustinM_NFL) recently had the opportunity to interview Philadelphia Eagles EDGE Haason Reddick. Melo writes for Music City Miracles, SB Nation’s team site about the Tennessee Titans. Melo also works for The Draft Network and does terrific work through the pre-draft process, including reporting on Eagles prospect visits. Melo has been gracious enough to allow Bleeding Green Nation to run the exclusive on his Reddick interview. Enjoy!

Philadelphia Eagles EDGE Haason Reddick enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2022. Reddick recorded a personal-high 16.0 sacks last season while helping the Eagles set a single-season franchise record with 70.0 sacks. Reddick is now teaming with Campbell’s Chunky for the Chunky Sacks Hunger National Donation Program.

Reddick spoke exclusively with Bleeding Green Nation. Reddick discussed his efforts to help end hunger through his partnership with Campbell’s Chunky, what he’s seen from Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter this offseason, how Jalen Hurts has evolved as a quarterback, and more. Reddick talked about the new wrinkles first-year defensive coordinator Sean Desai has added to the defense.

JM: Congratulations on partnering with Campbell’s Chunky for the Chunky Sacks Hunger National Donation Program. Together, you will donate more than two million meals to hungry Americans. You’ve become the national spokesman of the program. Tell me why this program means so much to you.

Haason Reddick: I’m very fortunate to be in the NFL. I’m fortunate to make the amount of money that I make. The biggest thing for me is to use that money to give back to those in need.

Partnering with Campbell’s Chunky was a no brainer for me. We have very similar morals and want to help the less fortunate. They do excellent work in the community. We’re handing out meals to hungry Americans.

I usually do most of my work locally, but Campbell’s Chunky is giving me an opportunity to do national charity work. I can make an impact nationally now. I love that.

JM: I love that. The program is having a terrific impact nationally. What a season it was for the Eagles defense in 2022. Collectively, you recorded a franchise-best 70.0 sacks on the year, falling just two short of the all-time single-season record (72). Where do you guys go from here?

Haason Reddick: We’ve talked about that. Reaching 70.0 sacks wasn’t a goal of ours. It’s extremely hard to do. That’s why it hadn’t been done in a while. That shows you how hard that is to do.

We know everybody is expecting us to do crazy numbers. They want us to do something similar. In our room, we talk about being a dominant defense. That’s what we want to maintain. We want to be a dominant defensive front at the end of the day.

That’s what allowed us to achieve 70 sacks. I won’t sit here and say 70 sacks is our goal. Our goal is to remain dominant in all phases. We want to go out there and impose our will. We want to dominate opposing offenses. That goal hasn’t changed.

JM: There have been some changes. Javon Hargrave left in free agency. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith were added via the 2023 NFL Draft. How are you liking the overall makeup of the new-look group?

Haason Reddick: I’m loving this group. We lost some guys as you mentioned. When you get close to guys and watch them leave, it feels like losing a brother. It’s a part of the business though.

We got some new guys, like you said. Some young guys. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith are first-round picks. We drafted those guys. We added some contributors during free agency as well. We’re expecting all of them to come in and help our defense.

I’m looking forward to seeing how they can help us. I know they’re looking forward to making an impact.

JM: You’re an established veteran. You know what to look for. What has impressed you the most about Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith? Are they ready to contribute?

Haason Reddick: They’re clearly very talented guys. They have supreme, natural athleticism. Nolan Smith is extremely fast. Jalen Carter moves extremely well at his size for a big guy. The traits are there.

The biggest thing for me has been to see how hungry they were to learn. They’re asking the right questions. They didn’t come in thinking anything was gonna’ be handed to them. It was all, “Hey, I’m a Philadelphia Eagle, how can I help the team?”

They know we have a bunch of veterans they can learn from. That’s what impressed me the most about them.

JM: Those weren’t the only changes. Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis left for promotions with the Arizona Cardinals. Sean Desai is the new defensive coordinator. What fresh ideas and concepts is coach Desai bringing to the defense?

Haason Reddick: He’s bringing some of his own concepts over. I think the biggest thing for him has been to not change too much. He’s definitely doing some things differently schematically. I love some of the changes he’s made, but I’m not going to give too much away, Justin (laughs).

He also knows how dominant we are. He knows what type of defense this is and what type of ball we play. We’re an attacking style defense that wants to get after you. We wanted to keep that part of our identity intact. We’re sprinkling in some new concepts as well.

JM: We love to hear that. How have you seen Jalen Hurts evolve as a quarterback this summer?

Haason Reddick: Man, I came in last year thinking Jalen Hurts was as poised and calm as ever. To see him now, he’s taken things to another level. He has a chip on his shoulder. Nobody in our room felt like this, but he felt like he’s the quarterback and we came up short in the Super Bowl last year.

There’s more work to be done. Evidently, last year wasn’t enough. To see how Jalen Hurts has been working this year, he’s never satisfied. I thought he worked hard last year. He’s working even harder this year. He doesn’t want to let anybody down at the end of the day. You have to appreciate that about him.

JM: He’s not acting brand new since he got the new contract? He’s still answering your texts?

Haason Reddick: Is he answering my texts? He’ll text me and start the conversation (laughs). He’s always working and looking for feedback. He was reaching out to me in the middle of the offseason. He’s always checking in and making sure I’m doing alright. I do the same for him.

He hasn’t changed at all. If he did change, he’s just more hungry than ever. He’s working harder than ever. He wants to win a Super Bowl.

JM: You had a career-high 16.0 sacks last season. You’ve changed positions a few times but you’ve really hit your stride in Philadelphia. What’s become your go-to move to get after the quarterback?

Haason Reddick: I have to be careful with you, Justin (laughs). You’re asking some great questions, but I can’t give too much away.

I don’t really have a favorite move. That’s the honest truth. All offensive tackles aren’t the same. I can’t get too comfortable. I can’t take the same approach to every offensive tackle week in, week out.

I build my game plan based on what I see from that offensive tackle throughout my film study. What are his strengths and weaknesses? Where can I expose him? That might be in the run game. There’s 32 teams and 64 starting offensive tackles. I don’t take the same approach to every offensive tackle I play against.

JM: That’s why you’ve been so effective. We’ve appreciated your time today. Keep up the great work with Chunky Sacks Hunger. In closing, what are your goals for the 2023 season?

Haason Reddick: I want to make an impact both on and off the field. I’m sacking quarterbacks on the field. Together with Campbell’s Chunky, we’re working to sack hunger in America. Those are my goals for this season. I’m going to continue giving back to my community. I’m going to continue being a great leader for our football team.

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