Plenty of reasons to be concerned about Tim Jernigan situation

Plenty of reasons to be concerned about Tim Jernigan situation

These days, for an Eagles reporter, seeing Tim Jernigan at the NovaCare Complex is akin to spotting a Sasquatch.

Jernigan is on the Non-football Injury list after having offseason surgery for a herniated disk, so he hasn’t yet been cleared to practice. But after the injury, that reportedly happened during a workout, and the surgery that followed and his agreeing to a significant pay cut that basically wiped out an extension he signed during last season, this entire Tim Jernigan saga is still very much shrouded in mystery. 

And it seems like there’s plenty of reason to be concerned. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson did nothing to alleviate that concern Saturday morning, when he was asked if he’s still counting on Jernigan for this season and gave a less-than-reassuring response. 

“I think so,” Pederson said. “Yeah, again, he's another one that we've just got to be diligent with. Obviously, with the [back] and everything, we've got to be careful.”

If you were listening live to Pederson’s press conference, he actually said “neck” instead of “back,” which would have been news. But a team spokesperson said the head coach simply misspoke. 

Either way, there are serious questions about Jernigan’s status as the season opener looms, less than six weeks away. If Jernigan is transferred from the Active/Non-football Injury list to the real list before the start of the season, he would be forced to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. That definitely doesn’t seem far-fetched. In fact, it seems more likely with every passing day. 

Again, Pederson’s answer about Jernigan’s recent activity left plenty of questions about whether or not Jernigan will be able to avoid that fate:

He's inside. He's rehabbing. He's around in the afternoons in meetings. He's at the walkthroughs. He's with his position. So him and Brandon Graham are both — you don't see Tim out here as much based on we just don't want him getting banged around on accident or something like that. He's doing everything inside with the meetings, he's sticking around with his walkthroughs, and he's getting all the mental reps right now.

That doesn’t seem encouraging. Closing in on five weeks to the start of the season and the Eagles won’t even allow Jernigan outside for fear that someone could bump into him. Hard to imagine Jernigan going from that to bull-rushing offensive guards on Sept. 6 or anytime soon after. 

With Jernigan out during the first four days of training camp, Destiny Vaeao has been lining up next to Fletcher Cox with the starting defensive line. Vaeao, 24, came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent before the 2016 season and seems to be well-liked by the coaching staff. He’s solid, dependable. But he’s not nearly as disruptive as Jernigan has shown he can be. 

Beyond Vaeao, the Eagles also have former All-Pro Haloti Ngata, who has been working with the second-string defensive line so far during camp. Ngata is completely healed from a biceps injury that ended his 2017 season in Detroit early, but it’s fair to wonder if the Eagles can really ask the 34-year-old to be more than a rotational player. 

After Vaeao and Ngata, the Eagles have more questions marks. Elijah Qualls is an unproven second-year player. Aziz Shittu has shown flashes. And the Eagles can sometimes move Michael Bennett or Brandon Graham inside and they probably will in pass-rushing situations. 

Still, the best possible thing is getting Jernigan back on the field as soon as possible. It just seems like it isn’t all that likely. 

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Why just 1 open practice is a bad idea

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Why just 1 open practice is a bad idea

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro discuss the Eagles’ having just one open training camp practice for fans. 

A stroll around the NFC East. 

Also, the guys say goodbye to and old friend and Dave gets ready for an adventure. 

0:30 - The guys are back where their photo shoot took place. 
4:00 - Eagles messed up by limiting training camp access. 
10:00 - Missing Lehigh University.  
19:30 - How was the Cowboys’ spring? 
26:30 - The Giants’ new quarterback got booed at Yankee Stadium. 
31:30 - What’s the ceiling in Washington this year? 
37:30 - Eagles better or worse: QB, RB, WR. 
46:00 - Farewell, Steve. And good luck, Dave.  

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Eagles’ Carson Wentz ranked outside of top 10 NFL QBs by analyst

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Eagles’ Carson Wentz ranked outside of top 10 NFL QBs by analyst

Last year, when NBC Sports’ Chris Simms created his list of the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL, he had Carson Wentz at No. 3. 

This year, he has Wentz at 11. 

Simms said he actually made Wentz third about two weeks before Wentz tore his ACL in the 2017 season. Since then, Wentz had to rehab the ACL/LCL and then suffered a stress fracture in his back in 2018. 

“Here’s the thing with Carson Wentz and why he’s No. 11,” Simms said. “It’s really availability, is the No. 1 reason he’s No. 11. The talent is top-5 talent.” 

Simms, a former NFL QB, went on to say Wentz is a “more physically gifted version of Andrew Luck.” 

By his incredibly high standard set in 2017, Wentz had a down season last year as he recovered and battled a new injury. But he still completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards in 11 games and had a TD-to-INT ratio of 3-1. Good, but not at his MVP-like level. 

So, is Simms right to rank Wentz as the 11th best quarterback in football? To answer that question, let’s first take a look at the guys outside the top 10. 

11. Carson Wentz 
12. Philip Rivers 
13. Dak Prescott 
14. Matt Stafford 
15. Kirk Cousins 
16. Nick Foles 
17. Baker Mayfield 
18. Derek Carr
19. Jared Goff
20. Mitchell Trubisky 

21. Jimmy Garoppolo 
22. Sam Darnold 
23. Josh Allen 
24. Kyler Murray 
25. Joe Flacco 
26. Andy Dalton 
27. Jameis Winston 
28. Case Keenum 
29. Marcus Mariota
30. Lamar Jackson 

31. Jacoby Brissett
32. Josh Rosen
33. Ryan Tannehill
34. Eli Manning 
35. Ryan Fitzpatrick 
36. Robert Griffen III
37. Drew Lock 
38. Dwayne Haskins
39. Colt McCoy 
40. Tyrod Taylor 

A little surprising to see Rivers come in at No. 12; he’s probably a top 10 guy too. And there are some other surprises along the way as well. I don’t really understand how Goff can be lower than Derek Carr. 

And Goff and Prescott are both ranked lower than Wentz, but will both cash in thanks to Wentz’s new contract. 

You’ll also notice that Wentz is the highest-ranked QB in the NFC East. Prescott is at 13, Eli is at 34, while Dwayne Haskins and Colt McCoy take 38 and 39, somehow behind RGIII, who hasn’t started an NFL game since 2016. Unless Simms shocks the world and puts Daniel Jones at No. 1 (that would be incredible), the Giants’ first-round pick isn’t even in the top 40. 

But based on that list, we can figure out who will be in Simms’ top 10. We don’t know the exact order, but here are the 10 guys he has yet to name: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson.  

You’re not going to get any argument from me on the first five names I listed. Mahomes, Rodgers, Brady, Wilson and Brees deserve to be there. We could certainly argue about Big Ben or Ryan or Watson, but if Simms’ whole argument is about health, it becomes harder. 

Even Simms admitted Wentz has top-five talent and he absolutely does. I would have probably had Wentz sneak into my top 10, but if he stays healthy in 2019, there’s no question he’ll be back in the top 10 this time next year. 

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