According to one of his teammates, Eagles 6-foot-5 rookie Josh Sweat owns a small Dachshund — you know, a wiener dog. It must be quite a sight to see the mammoth defensive end walking the small canine.
In a way — a pretty comical one — you might see the similarities between Sweat and his dog. Sweat is as lanky as wiener dogs are long and sometimes pet owners do look like their pets. There’s maybe a bit of that going on here.
Just make no mistake, Sweat packs the punch of a Doberman.
After playing just 15 defensive snaps through seven games this season, the Eagles will need to rely on Sweat a little more the rest of the way thanks to a season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Derek Barnett. Michael Bennett will start and maybe the other two will play a little more as well, but this injury will have the biggest impact on Sweat, who has basically been a non-factor as a rookie. Until now.
When asked about the Sweat on Wednesday, his teammates seemed to use one word more than any other to describe his play. See if you can find it.
Fletcher Cox: “He’s explosive. He’s a guy that can rush the quarterback obviously. When I first saw him, I was like, it’s a little guy. But after a while of watching him practice and seeing him move around, he’s really strong. He can push people around. We’re going to expect to see him do that on Sundays.”
Brandon Graham: “Explosive. Somebody who got a lot of bend, just like [Barnett] and a lot of energy.”
Doug Pederson: “I think he’s explosive off the ball, he’s long, has been around the passer, can be disruptive. This will be a great opportunity for him.”
Avonte Maddox: “Explosive. He’s fast. When he gets off the ball it’s like … (claps his hands). He definitely is explosive.”
That’s the word on Sweat. He’s explosive. He’s able to thrust his 6-5, 250-pound body and knife through blockers into the backfield to make plays. For the first seven weeks of the season seeing that explosiveness has been a treat reserved for those watching practice. During those practices, Sweat has been getting a lot of his reps on the Eagles’ scout team helping the offense to improve.
On Wednesday, the day after Barnett had surgery to repair his injured shoulder, Sweat seemed pretty calm about his impending expanded role on defense.
“I’ve been eager to play, obviously,” he said. “I’ve just been staying ready.”
The last time the rest of us saw Sweat play was during training camp. He didn’t show signs of a knee injury that once threatened to derail his football career before high school. He just looked like the guy the Eagles had rated higher than a fourth-round pick. He looked like the explosive type of player his teammates think he can become.
But the dog days of summer are long gone. Now, it’s time for Sweat to show up on Sundays.
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