The Eagles made a flurry of roster moves on Tuesday that are yet to be confirmed by the team. The first of which was kind of obvious. The others paint a picture of speculation.
Malik Jackon to IR
It was revealed today that DT Jackson sustained a lisfranc (foot) injury on Sunday and is out for the season. This is a real blow to the defensive tackle group, but there’s one man ready to step up.
In his last three seasons, Jackson started 42 games, accumulating 105 tackles and 18 sacks. A career-high 8 sacks in 2017 set the tone, but Jackson’s ability to penetrate the backfield and bring down running backs is what really stood out to the Eagles. Those qualities were visible on Sunday before his injury.
And in his place…
Now one defensive tackle short, the Eagles could’ve promoted Jernigan and Ridgeway before calling up Bruce Hector from the practice squad, but it may have left them with a steep drop off in talent,..and we all know how Schwartz likes to rotate his defensive linemen.
Instead, the Eagles worked out and later signed former fourth-round pick Akeem Spence. The 27-year old who at 6’1, 303 lbs, has 10.5 sacks since entering the league in 2013. 2 of those came last year, where he started in all 16 games for the Miami Dolphins under Matt Burke. That part is important given that Burke joined the Eagles to be a ‘special advisor’ to Jim Schwartz.
What’s interesting is that he spent six years in a 4-3 scheme before Miami only recently changed to a hybrid 3-4, perhaps a reuniting with a familiar scheme will help him rejuvenate his career.
Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores also spoke highly of him this offseason:
“He’s athletic, he’s strong, he’s a hard worker. This guy works as hard as anyone we have on this team. He’s obviously had some success in this league. We want to keep good players around.”
Spence, who played in 58% of snaps last year, could well see time as a DT3/4 alongside Ridgeway to begin with. It may take him a little time to get acclimated with the playbook, but if the ceiling is higher than Ridgeway’s, who only played in 6% of the Colts’ snaps last year, then he may well take over that DT3 spot in hopes of securing a longer-term deal.
A surprise move…
The third tight end on the roster was only recently promoted from the practice squad, but Alex Ellis is already facing an uncertain future…which is strange to say considering he played in 22 special teams snaps, the second-most on the team after earning a spot on the practice squad following a stunning preseason given how little time he had to really settle in. It’s not like the Eagles needed to move Ellis to sign Spence, so what’s the deal?
We may well see the return of CB Orlando Scandrick. It alluded to last week that the 53rd spot on the roster could be a ‘flex’ spot that is filled depending on team-need and given the early wobbles from the secondary, bringing back some slot security while LeBlanc heals on IR isn’t exactly a bad idea.
Scandrick was among the best remaining free agent corners and would hypothetically arrive in Philadelphia on the back of a training camp and preseason with the team along with with a career resume of nickel experience. At 5’10, it’s not hard to see why. Scandrick spent last year with the Chiefs, playing in 15 games and starting 7, tallying a career-high 13 passes defensed. Drafted by the Cowboys in 2008, Scandrick was a key contributor in the Dallas secondary for nine years, before an offseason stint with the Redskins and the aforementioned resurgence in Kansas City. Don’t be surprised to see him back soon.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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