Eagles

Eagles Injury Update: Halapoulivaati Vaitai has MCL sprain

Eagles Injury Update: Halapoulivaati Vaitai has MCL sprain

The Eagles will be without their right tackle for a little while.

Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has been filling in at right tackle during Lane Johnson’s 10-game suspension, suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain during Sunday’s 26-15 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

Pederson said Vaitai is “week to week,” which has previously indicated that player won’t play in at least the upcoming game.

Without Vaitai, the plan is for Allen Barbre to slide from left guard to right tackle and veteran Stefen Wisniewski to take over in his vacated position. Rookie Isaac Seumalo could see some reps at left guard too. Barbre slid out to right tackle during Sunday’s game after Vaitai went out.

Running back Ryan Mathews has a right knee injury and is day to day. Darren Sproles suffered a seventh rib fracture. “It sounds bad, but it's more in a safer area than what Brent Celek's is,” Pederson said.

The team will hold Sproles out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but expects him to be able to play in Monday’s game.

Cornerback Leodis McKelvin has a concussion and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Connor Barwin has a bone bruise. He won’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but should be able to play on Monday. Malcolm Jenkins has knee bursitis but is OK. Zach Ertz (hamstring) came out of the game OK.

Special teams safety Terrence Brooks, who has been out with a hamstring injury, will return this week.

Eagles finally activate Tim Jernigan after long layoff

Eagles finally activate Tim Jernigan after long layoff

It may be a case of too little too late, but defensive tackle Tim Jernigan is finally back.

The Eagles on Tuesday activated Jernigan from the reserve-non-football injury list, and he’s expected to make his 2018 debut on Sunday, when the Eagles face the Giants at the Linc.

To make room on the 53-man roster, the Eagles released defensive tackle T.Y. McGill.

Jernigan hasn’t played since the Super Bowl. He got hurt during an unsupervised offseason workout, underwent disc surgery and has been on reserve-NFI since. 

During the interim, the Eagles slashed his contract, converting guaranteed money to non-guaranteed salary, so in a way he’s playing for his roster spot these last six weeks. He's earning $3 million this year.

Once Jernigan was cleared to practice on Nov. 5, the Eagles had three weeks to either activate him or shut him down for the season.

How much he can play and how much he can contribute after missing all of the offseason, OTAs, training camp and the first 10 games of the season remains to be seen. 

But considering what the Eagles have been running out there at defensive tackle, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be a major upgrade.

In Jernigan’s absence and with Haloti Ngata in and out of the lineup (he missed three games), the Eagles used Bruce Hector in six games (he’s currently on the practice squad), Treyvon Hester in six games (he had been on the practice squad) and the last two weeks McGill, who got 15 snaps against the Cowboys and 30 against the Saints.

McGill, who had previously spent time with the Seahawks, Colts, Browns, Chiefs and Chargers, earned $82,941 for his two-week stay with the Eagles.

“It’s been a long journey for him,” defensive end Chris Long said of Jernigan earlier this month. “He’s very eager. He’s been patient, because that’s not something to mess around with, but at the same time, I know he wants to be back out here with us. We’ve watched him work every day and he’s ready to roll.

“He’s definitely a complete player. We’re not going to expect him to come back the first game and light the world on fire. [But] he’s going to be a valuable member of the team.”

Jernigan, 26, spent his first three seasons with the Ravens before the Eagles acquired him for a 2017 third-round pick. He started 15 games last year for the Super Bowl champs. He has 15½ sacks in four seasons.

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Eagles coaches to blame for failure to integrate Golden Tate

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USA Today Images

Eagles coaches to blame for failure to integrate Golden Tate

During his Tuesday press conference, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked about some confusion the Eagles’ offense showed during their blowout loss to the Saints on Sunday. 

At first, Groh took responsibility, saying it “should not happen.” But then he added they have “a new guy” and are “trying to introduce some different personnel groups.” 

The “new guy” is, of course, Golden Tate, the super-talented and productive receiver the Eagles traded a third-round pick to get just three weeks ago. 

So then I asked Groh if it has been more difficult to fit Tate into the offense than they previously anticipated. Groh’s answer to that won’t instill a bunch of confidence in him or the rest of the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff. 

“I don’t know if it’s been more difficult, but it’s been challenging to integrate him,” Groh said. 

“Certainly, with the way we weren’t able to stay on the field the other day and finding a rhythm to the offense, that's part of it, then everything became a little disjointed. If we can do a better job of staying on the field and having drives then everybody gets more involved in the offense.”

It’s been challenging to integrate him? 

Challenging to integrate him?! 

Well, guess who that falls on. Yup, the coaching staff. If a team is struggling to integrate a guy who has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL for the last half-decade, it all falls on the coaching staff. Figure it out. That’s what you’re paid to do. 

And partly because of their failure, this trade looks worse and worse by the day. 

The Eagles traded away a third-round pick for eight games of a 30-year-old receiver. You can argue the merits of that trade on its face and many did at the time it was made. But once that deal goes through, it’s on the coaching staff to make it work. And they haven’t made it work. 

In two games, Tate has played 54 snaps. He has seven catches for 67 yards. They brought Tate to be a spark to help a feeble offense, but in the two games he’s played, the Eagles have averaged 13.5 points per game. 

It’s not apple-to-apples, but look what the Cowboys have been able to do with Amari Cooper. In Cooper’s first three games since getting dealt to Dallas, he has 14 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. 

What’s even more troubling about this situation with Tate is what it has meant for Nelson Agholor. We all knew Tate primarily plays in the slot, which is where Agholor has thrived. But it was on the coaching staff to figure it out and that’s what everyone was counting on. On Monday, Doug Pederson said he spoke to Groh about the need to get Agholor more involved offensively. 

“I think roles changed a couple weeks ago,” said Groh, who admitted Agholor is now asked to do some different things after the addition of Tate.  

Groh said he thinks Tate is getting more and more comfortable with the Eagles with each passing day. And he thinks they are “definitely making progress” with figuring out how to use Tate and all their pieces. Well, great. 

But the fact that they haven’t figured it out yet is disappointing. And it’s abject failure on the part of the offensive coaching staff.

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