The Eagles defense received a huge boost on Tuesday in the form of getting veteran defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan back to compliment Fletcher Cox.
Jernigan has been sorely missed on the defensive line. The Eagles have a strong defensive line, but not a complete one. Fletcher Cox has been dominant to the point where he was rated as the second-best player in the league by Pro Football Focus, however his partners at defensive tackle have been a rotating door of four players who have made next to no major impact and Haloti Ngata.
Ngata missed three games and has otherwise been unimpressive. He has almost been a 340 pound roadblock. The veteran was supposed to be a big impact player, but has managed only nine tackles and one sack while playing beside two other defensive linemen that have been among the best in the game this season and routinely receive double teams, leaving Ngata with the need to beat only one man.
Comparing Ngata’s production to Jernigan’s through this point last season shows just how large the loss has been.
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Jernigan returning will increase the productivity of the defensive line, assisting to better shut down the run game and forcing the quarterback to get rid of the ball sooner, which should help the secondary to key in on more mistakes and force turnovers.
TY McGill was essentially only on the roster to provide depth until Jernigan’s return and was an obvious cut to make room.
In another minor move, the Eagles filled the two vacant spots on their practice squad.
#Eagles have also signed C Anthony Fabiano and CB Jeremiah McKinnon to the practice squad.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) November 20, 2018
The two spots were vacant following DeVante Bausby being promoted to the active roster with the rash of injuries at cornerback and Josh Andrews being signed to the Colts active roster.
McKinnon, an undrafted free agent in 2016, has now spent time with every NFC East team. He has been in training camp with the Cowboys twice (including this season) and with the Redskins once. He has also spent time on the Giants, Titans and Browns practice squad. He made his NFL debut with the Browns in week five this season and was otherwise on their practice squad until mid-October. He registered one tackle in his debut. He may be called upon should injuries continue to slam the secondary.
Fabiano has been with the Browns, Redskins, Giants, Patriots and Colts practice squads as well as on the Colts and Browns active roster. Over the last two seasons, he has appeared in nine game. The injury to Jason Kelce means the Eagles need this backup in case anything else would happen to him – especially with Jason Peters and Lane Johnson already badly beat up. If all three were to reaggravate their injuries, the Eagles would need to lean on Jordan Mailata, who is still learning football, or the fairly unimpressive Chance Warmack, who was inactive this weekend.