We’re just two days away from the Eagles’ matchup with the Titans, which means it’s time for another mailbag!
When do you think Timmy Jernigan will be back and playing?
— Sam Lees (@SamLees13) September 28, 2018
Thank for your question, Sam. We can expect at least another three weeks without Jernigan’s dominance on the defensive line due to residing on the ‘NFI’ list. Even when he does come back from his lower back injury, the fact he hasn’t even taken training camp reps mean that his body will undoubtedly be a lot weaker than it was last season and his technique arguably a lot more prone to showing holes. We could be looking at a week 9-10 return for Jernigan if we’re being realistic here, but it all depends on the coaching staff and their confidence in him.
For context though, it’s not as if the Eagles are missing him. Many point to Ngata and wonder where he is on the stat sheet, but that’s not where his name has been made. The Eagles run defense is the best in the NFL and he’s a large cog in that wheel.
Before Ngata’s 2017 injury, the Lions actually gave up an average of just 74.6 yards per game and boasted one of the best run defenses in the NFL. After his injury, the Lions gave up over 100 yards in seven of the final eight contests. It would be safe to say there’s a direct correlation between the Lions production with and without the 6’4, 340 lbs defensive tackle.
The Eagles won’t be rushing Jernigan back anytime soon and have the luxury of a veteran who is filling his role and producing.
How big of an impact do you think the Rodney McLeod injury will have on the Defense as a whole? Who do you expect to make the biggest impact replacing him?
— Philly’s Phinest Sports News (@PhilasPhinestSN) September 27, 2018
Thanks for the great question guys! I wrote an article on this very topic yesterday, but the streamlined version would be this:
It all depends on who steps up. If the Eagles are comfortable moving Nate Gerry into the hybrid role of Malcolm Jenkins then it would allow Corey Graham to naturally step into McLeod’s shoes alongside Jenkins. If not, we’re looking at someone like Deiondre Hall or Tre Sullivan to step up and retain that flexibility. That will be the biggest difficulty, keeping the fluidity and versatility that McLeod’s reliable form enabled the defense to bring each and every week.
Great question, JR! There’s no doubting that Matthews has potential, but given that Alshon Jeffery is all but certain to return within the next two weeks and the Eagles recent focus on allowing the tight ends to carry the torch until he does, I don’t think it would be necessary. The moment that Jeffery comes back will spark the Eagles offensive production massively due to how much he can open up the players around him.
What do you think are the chances of us seeing Jordy Mailata this season? Given that Peters has already had 1 injury and is big V has struggled at times.
— Matt Mills (@MattMills9) September 28, 2018
Thanks for the support, Matt. Another really great question here. Mailata still has a raw skillet and although he absolutely stole the show during preseason, the later the season goes on, the higher the stakes. I don’t know how comfortable Stoutland would be about his project lineman stepping into the line of fire with a playoff berth on the line. Vaitai has struggled, but the TCU product held his own when it mattered last season and his development has also been eyebrow-raising at times. The Birds’ will likely ride Vaitai for as long as possible unless he falls injured or simply regresses massively.
@LiamJenkins21 time to free Rasul and put him at safety?!
— jrod (@l_tampa2) September 28, 2018
Why do people think the eagles are just going to move Rasul or Mills to safety out of nowhere like this is Madden? Lol.
— ICE (@Makyle_Ice) September 27, 2018
This is a popular question that has been firing in every corner of Eagles Twitter recently, but I’ve already answered this earlier in the year. In case you missed it, sit back, strap yourselves in and enjoy a film-breakdown on why this move makes so much sense.
Thank you for all of your questions this week. If you want to be featured in future mailbags, simply follow myself (@LiamJenkins21) and Philly Sports Network (@PhiladelphiaSN) on Twitter.
Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports