Eagles’ Javon Hargrave finally healthy and dominant again

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

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

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

Yes, it’s safe to say he’s over it.

Because in the two games since the Eagles’ Week 7, Hargrave has been 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 victory. That’s five sacks in two games. Hell, 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 2+ sack games since Connor Barwin in 2014.

In addition to the three sacks, Hargrave also had three extra tackles, according to ProFootballFocus, for a total of six 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 few weeks ago, right after the goodbye. He was a little disappointed because he was on the sack for a while. I was just telling him, ‘Man, he’s coming. Your time will come. The last two weeks, man, he’s been pulling.

“Five in two weeks? Crazy man. I just hope it continues like this. He is a footballer for us. We needed him for a game like this. I’m just happy for him, proud of him because he’s one of those guys, he comes in every day and works. Today he finally got the results of the work he put in.”

Hargrave, 29, went on a similar tear early 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 evaluate passes, and they come in bunches, especially for No. 97.

But when do they happen? 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.”

Redick 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 could argue that he is one of the most important Eagles for this upcoming run. Not only will they depend on his pass rush ability, but the Eagles will 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 four-man duties, Hargrave on Thursday had to play tackle shots in the Eagles’ front. And there was a noticeable difference when he was in that spot compared to others, which is probably why we saw him there a lot 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 a different look in all of them. Just today it was working. I had fun today.”

The first six games of this season have been a little disappointing for Hargrave, but he’s tried to believe the production will follow as long as his process is solid.

It worked.

“I think I stay positive every game,” Hargrave said. “I know I’m not really pushing too hard and I know every game can be my game. I just keep working and I’m glad one of these days comes.”

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