Eagles

WR Paul Turner, CB C.J Smith sign with Eagles' practice squad

WR Paul Turner, CB C.J Smith sign with Eagles' practice squad

Wide receiver Paul Turner and cornerback C.J. Smtith will join the Eagles' practice squad.

Both Turner and Smith innitially made the Eagles' 53-man roster after final cuts, but were waived a day later after the Eagles claimed three players, including wide receiver Bryce Treggs. Turner cleared waivers and CSNPhilly's Dave Zangaro reported Turner chose to stay in Philadelphia despite other teams' interest in signing him to their practice squads.

The signing of Turner and Smith pushed the Eagles' practice squad to 11 members, forcing the team to release LB Quentin Gause to keep the roster at the 10-man limit.

Turner was undrafted out of Louisiana Tech. However, the wide receiver made the most of his training camp, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his consistent play. He led the entire NFL with 17 catches this preseason and picked up 165 yards on those receptions. He also played a role on special teams, returning a punt return for a touchdown in the preseason finale against the Jets on Thursday.

The Eagles' practice squad is now full at 10 players. They signed four players on Monday morning (see story) after adding five on Sunday. The 10 players are FB Andrew Bonnet, LB Don Cherry, OL Darrell Greene, WR Marcus Johnson, RB Byron Marshall, C Aaron Neary, DT Aziz Shittu, Turner, Smith and WR David Watford.

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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