Coming off a game where his defense held the highest-scoring offense in the NFL to just 10 points, Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai has been given another weapon for his arsenal.
On Monday, the Eagles agreed to acquire veteran safety Kevin Byard in a trade with the Tennessee Titans that sent fifth and sixth-round picks in 2024 and safety Terrell Edmunds the other way.
"He is a great veteran," Desai said on Tuesday. "He has had a lot of success in this league, has played in a lot of different defenses, is really smart, and he is a great leader. We are really excited to get him in the room and get him going."
The eight-year veteran has plenty of experience, playing in 120 career games, including 111 consecutive starts, all with the Titans.
With experience has come success for Byard. He has twice been named to the Pro Bowl and voted a first-team All-Pro, most recently in 2021 when he accomplished both feats in the same season.
"He is a really good safety in this league," Desai said. "He is going to be a good addition for us."
The Philadelphia native will have to learn quickly and adjust on the fly with his new team.
This is something that Desai does not anticipate hindering Byard's transition and ability on the field.
"The great thing is, he has a wealth of experience that he can rely on," Desai said. "We anticipate it being smooth."
New Eagles safety Kevin Byard flew to Philadelphia on Tuesday morning and arrived at the NovaCare Complex to begin learning about the organization and the scheme. Check out the photos of his arrival.
Adding a piece to the secondary is not new for Desai's defense this season. With injuries having piled up over the past few weeks, Executive Vice President and General Manager Howie Roseman has been adding fresh faces to the team.
In Week 7, cornerback Josiah Scott was re-signed by the Eagles after being released before the start of the season. In Week 5, veteran cornerback Bradley Roby was signed. The team has also had to prepare practice squad players, like Mekhi Garner and Mario Goodrich, for game action as well as rookies like Sydney Brown and Eli Ricks.
"It will be pretty similar to the process we have had for the last few weeks getting different guys ready to play in the back end," said a chuckling Desai when asked about how Byard would be integrated.
Byard will bring versatility to an already strong Philadelphia defense, having played numerous positions in the secondary.
This will help the defense, especially with players like Roby and safety Reed Blankenship dealing with injuries.
"You have seen it with our defense over the first seven weeks, we value that," Desai said of player versatility. "We teach that way, we train it, and that is how our system has been installed. He will fit right in. As we grow with him in this defense, we will do what he is best at and what he feels he is best at."
When Roby comes back from his shoulder injury, Desai's secondary will have four veteran players who are 30 or older. The group of Byard, Roby, James Bradberry, and Darius Slay have played a combined 520 regular-season games.
Byard and Slay are two of the best defenders at reading the pass. The two have a combined 55 career interceptions, with Slay and Byard tying for the league lead (8) in 2017.
"That is the value, the experience," Desai said. "The guys that have seen a lot of football and played a lot of football, we can always rely on their bank of knowledge. And we are growing that." – Written by Owen Boyle