LONDON – Josh Sweat has done everything to be ready for Sunday's game against Jacksonville in London, knowing that he could be part, a significant part, of the defensive end rotation. The fourth-round draft pick is expected to have his role, limited to date, elevated in light of Derek Barnett's shoulder injury and surgery that sent him to the Injured Reserve list.
"Every day since I have been an Eagle, I've been preparing to play," Sweat said. "Seeing how these guys prepare all week, how they take care of their bodies and work in the classroom and study and do all those things, it's helped me a lot. I'm excited. I'm sorry to see Derek injured, but you always have to be ready. If I get a chance to play, I will be ready."
Sweat knows his family back in the United States will be watching the game (9:30 a.m., 6abc in Philadelphia, as well as NFL Network), one that is of extreme importance for the 3-4 Eagles. He wants to make sure his loved ones like what they see.
"It's a big jump from college but I'm pleased with the progress I've made. I've put a lot of work into it. I've learned a lot from the guys," the 6-5, 251-pound Florida State product said. "They welcomed me and have helped a lot. Now it's a matter of getting out there and making plays. That's my job. That's what I'm here to do."
The Eagles have options on the defensive edges. When Barnett missed the Minnesota game earlier in the season, veteran Michael Bennett moved over to the right end spot as a starter and played well with Brandon Graham starting on the left side. Chris Long is the third end and he can play both sides. Sweat figures to get reps at right end, when he plays.
Jacksonville has had all kinds of offensive trouble this year and the Eagles want to keep it that way.
"They look good to me. Very big and physical up front. They run the ball well and we know their quarterback (Blake Bortles) can get hot," Sweat said. "We have to be at our best to win."