Eagles’ Javon Hargrave finally healthy and back to dominating

Finally healthy, Hargrave starting to dominate again originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

HOUSTON — Javon Hargrave was off to a slow start this season.

Through the first six games, Hargrave had just one sack and simply didn’t look like his usual disruptive self. But apparently, he was still dealing with a toe injury that had lingered since training camp.

“I think that bye just really helped me get over it,” Hargrave said.

Yeah, safe to say he’s over it.

Because in the two games since the Eagles’ Week 7 bye week, Hargrave is on an absolute tear.

After a two-sack game against the Steelers on Sunday, Hargrave followed it up with a three-sack performance against the Texans on Thursday night in the Eagles’ 29-17 win. That’s five sacks in two games. Heck, that’s five sacks in five days.

Thursday was the first three-sack game of Hargrave’s NFL career and the first for the Eagles since Brandon Graham did it against the Jets in 2019. And Hargrave is the first Eagle with back-to-back games with 2+ sacks since Connor Barwin in 2014.

In addition to the three sacks, Hargrave also had three additional hurries, according to ProFootballFocus, so six total pressures in the game for the second straight week.

“Man, just persistence, man,” said Haason Reddick, who is now second on the team in sacks. “I remember talking to him a couple weeks ago, coming right out of the bye. He was a little frustrated because he was at one sack for a little while. I was just telling him, ‘Man, it’s going to come. Your time is going to come.’ These last two weeks, man, he’s been balling.

“Five in two weeks? Crazy, man. I just hope that he keeps it up. He’s a baller for us. We needed him to have a game like this. I’m just happy for him, I’m proud of him because he’s one of those guys, he comes in every day and he works. Today he finally got the results from the work he’s putting in.”

Hargrave, 29, went on a similar tear at the beginning of last season when he had six sacks in the Eagles’ first five games but then had just 1 1/2 the rest of the way but was still named a Pro Bowler. Sacks aren’t always the most accurate way to assess pass rush and they come in bunches, especially for No. 97.

But when they are happening? Oh, it’s fun.

“You just feel happy, more confident,” Hargrave said. “You just see being consistent and putting in the work, that it pays off.”

Reddick knows that feeling well.

“You feel like you’re on top of the world,” he said.

This is a contract year for Hargrave, who is in his third season with the Eagles. And you can make a case that he’s one of the most important Eagles for this upcoming stretch run. Not only will they be depending on his pass rush ability, but the Eagles will also need him to help fill the void left by Jordan Davis, who is out for at least a month with a high ankle sprain.

In addition to his duties in the four-man front, Hargrave on Thursday had to play nose tackle in the Eagles’ odd-man front. And there was a notable difference when he was in that spot compared to others, which is likely why we saw him there much more in the second half.

But expect to see Hargrave play multiple spots the rest of the way.

“Yeah, I think it’s pretty fun to play different positions,” he said. “You get different looks in all of them. It was just working today. I was having fun today.”

The first six games of this season were a tad frustrating for Hargrave but he tried to just trust that the production would follow as long as his process was solid.

It worked.

“I think I just stay positive every game,” Hargrave said. “I know I don’t really press too hard and I know any game could be my game. I just keep on working and happy one of them days came.”

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