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James Bradberry, Kyzir White provide instant impact in debuts

James Bradberry
James Bradberry

DETROIT – Of all the veteran faces the Eagles added to their roster in the offseason, linebacker Kyzir White may have been the most under the radar. He went unsigned through the first blitz in free agency and signed a relatively quiet one-year contract to join Philadelphia.

Since then, though, White has made his presence known – and loudly.

White made one of the biggest plays of the game in Sunday's 2022 regular-season opener, diving and tipping a Jared Goff pass intended for tight end T.J. Hockenson into the hands of cornerback James Bradberry. White recovered quickly to block Hockenson as Bradberry returned the interception 27 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown that, after Jake Elliott's PAT, gave the Eagles a 21-7 advantage.

"We were in a zone coverage. It was a quick game and I saw the out (route) coming and I was breaking. Kyzir tipped it to me and I caught it," Bradberry said. "The defense blocked for me and I just had to run and go forward. I couldn't believe that I had the whole sideline to myself. I just saw a lineman and got a view of the blocking and was hoping that I was going to make it across the line."

"We covered that play a lot in the film room this week," White said. "I knew what was coming. I tried to get my hands on him (Hockenson) and not give him any room because Hockenson does real well when you give him space and I just tried to make a great play on the ball."

After leading the Chargers in tackles last year, White came to Philadelphia and earned a starting weakside linebacker job and he has fit right into the defense with his speed, his physical play, and his coverage skills.

So far, it has been a perfect fit.

"For sure, I feel right at home," said White, who grew up an Eagles fan in nearby Emmaus, Pennsylvania. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity to come play right in my backyard."

After giving up a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to Detroit – the big play was a 50-yard D'Andre Swift run – the defense settled down, and then clamped down. Detroit managed just 120 total net yards other than that 50-yard run and Goff passed for just 53 yards in the opening two quarters. After that opening touchdown allowed, the Eagles forced three straight three-and-out series from Detroit and then White and Bradberry combined for the pick-six.

The win was a good start to the season for a Philadelphia defense that last season scored five touchdowns.

"Whenever I can go out there and help my team and make a big play, it always feels good," said White, who finished with five total tackles. "I just want to keep building on it, keep getting better, and never get complacent."

The Eagles are in Detroit for the 2022 season opener. View the action photos from our team of photographers.

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