Tim Jernigan

Tim Jernigan loves Philly but at peace with whatever free agency brings

Tim Jernigan loves Philly but at peace with whatever free agency brings

For the last month of the 2019, the Eagles finally saw how much a healthy Tim Jernigan can help their defensive line. 

Will that be enough reason to bring him back? 

That’s a question the Eagles will have to ask themselves this offseason as Jernigan is set to become a free agent. On one hand, when Jernigan is healthy, he’s been pretty good and Jim Schwartz has previously said Jernigan “means something to our spirit.” And he’s still just 27. 

On the other hand, Jernigan has struggled to stay healthy the last few years and the Eagles might not be able to rely on him. 

An emotional Jernigan spoke to our Derrick Gunn just after the playoff loss earlier this month and was well aware his future is up in the air. 

It hit different when you’re a free agent because you don’t know what’s going to happen with you. At the end of the day, man, as long as my teammates know that I gave everything I had on Sunday, when those lights turned on, I gave y’all everything I had. I’m at peace with that. 

“However it turns out with me in this free agency thing, I’m at peace with that. As long as y’all boys know I gave y’all everything I had. The city knows I gave them everything I had. It’s always love from here, from me there’s always love.

As of earlier this month, Jernigan said he and the Eagles hadn’t had any discussions about a possible contract. That doesn’t mean they won’t. 

Remember, the Eagles traded for Jernigan before the 2017 and he played really well that season before an ankle injury began to limit him. Still, he started 15 regular season games that year and all three in the playoffs, including Super Bowl LII. 

He played well enough that during the 2017 season, the Eagles gave him a four-year extension worth up to $48 million. 

But then Jernigan hit some hard times. He suffered a mysterious back injury in the offseason and needed surgery. Jernigan still hasn’t said publicly how he suffered the injury. He and the team renegotiated the deal and Jernigan played just three regular season games in 2018, but then played in the playoffs. He fought his way back. 

Last offseason, the Eagles unsurprisingly declined the option on his renegotiated contract but still signed him to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million for the 2019 season. Jernigan hurt his foot early in the season in 2019 but returned to play 10 games and eventually played at a pretty high level. 

So, yeah, there have been some ups and downs. 

“I’ve been through a lot the last two years,” Jernigan said. “I’ve had my highs and lows, I’ve had my times where I didn’t know if I was gonna make it. I went through every emotion but I made it. That’s definitely a positive to take from the season. I was able to finish this thing the right way.” 

The Eagles know they’ll have Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson at defensive tackle in 2020. It would seem like Jernigan would be an obvious choice to be the third guy in the rotation but Hassan Ridgeway is also going to be a free agent and is two years younger. 

But Ridgeway hasn’t been able to stay healthy either. He’s actually played one fewer game than Jernigan over the last two seasons and he hasn’t had the highs, especially not in this city. 

There’s a decent chance the Eagles try to bring Jernigan back for another season. But if it doesn’t happen, there won’t be hard feelings on Jernigan’s side. 

“Either way it go, whether I’m with the Eagles next year or I’m not,” Jernigan said, “I can promise you, I am one of those people, I’ll always be around this city, you know what I’m saying? I’m gonna always be around this city, even a long time from now. I met people away from football that I found love for. It’s love from me. 

“If I ain’t here, then y’all know what it is, man. I’m six years into my career, 27 years old, I can always end up back here. It ain’t over till it’s over, man.”

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What Doug learned from Andy and more in Roob's Observations!

What Doug learned from Andy and more in Roob's Observations!

What Doug Pederson learned from Andy Reid, a guy who's made a huge difference on defense, winning as underdogs and tons more in this weekend's wild-card edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!  

1. One of the biggest things Doug Pederson learned from Andy Reid is the ability to sense when to go hard on his players and when to back off. How to really sense what the team needs from training camp through the postseason. Under Big Red, the Eagles had the 3rd-best December record in the NFL from 1999 through 2012 at 39-19, a .672 winning percentage. They were always fresh and mentally and physically sharp going into the playoffs. Under Doug, they’re 11-4 in December over the last three years, also 3rd-best in the league, and if you include January and February they’re 15-5. It’s remarkable how little the Eagles are actually on the practice field this time of year. A quick walkthrough Wednesday, under two hours Thursday and maybe 90 minutes Friday, and that’s it. It’s all about mental reps and keeping the players off their feet. It’s no coincidence the Eagles have played their best football at the end of the season for most of the last two decades. 

2. Also interesting to note that the three-best December records since 2017 belong to Reid’s Chiefs (12-3), John Harbaugh’s Ravens (12-3) and Pederson’s Eagles (11-4). Not a coincidence. 

3. Let’s talk Boston Scott for a second. Just to put into perspective how rare it is for someone 5-foot-6 to play at a high level in the NFL, obviously Darren Sproles has the most career scrimmage yards by a player 5-6 or shorter with 8,392. Nobody is close. Boston Scott has played 13 games in his career (and in five he had no offensive touches), and he’s already 11th on that list, according to Pro Football Reference. And four of the guys ahead of him played in the 1960s or earlier. A lot of teams wouldn’t even give a 5-6 guy a chance. Maybe it was having Sproles here for six years and seeing first-hand that it’s not how tall you are but how talented and how determined you are, but the Eagles deserve a tremendous amount of credit for giving an opportunity to a 5-6 guy who doesn’t have a conventional running back build. If they hadn’t, I don’t think they’d still be playing.

4. Remember when the Dolphins scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives? Since then, the Eagles have allowed seven TDs on 49 drives.

5. The last four games of the season, the Seahawks have allowed 172 rushing yards per game, nine rushing TDs and 5.4 yards per carry. They are getting gashed. If Miles Sanders is close to 100 percent — heck, even if he’s not — I’m looking for at least 30 running plays Sunday. Run the clock. Move the chains. Wear the Seahawks down. Keep Russell Wilson off the field. Control the game. Hammer it.

6. One of the craziest things about the Eagles’ playoff wins the last two years is that they were underdogs in all four of them. How many coaches have won four playoff games in their entire career as underdogs? Doug Pederson has won four the last two years. The last five years, the Eagles are 4-1 as underdogs and the rest of the league is 14-36. 

7. The Eagles allowed an NFL-low 52 second-half points at home this year. That’s 6 1/2 per game. They only allowed seven 2H TDs at home all year, just two in the last four games.  

8. I worry more about Big V than Matt Pryor. I like what I’ve seen from Pryor in the two games he’s played. He’s tough,  physical and confident. Big V certainly has the ability, it’s just the inconsistency that’s a concern. When he has a bad play, it’s a really bad play. 

9. Only two teams in NFL history have been 5-7 and gone on to win a playoff game. The 1996 Jaguars (with Clyde Simmons) actually won two — a wild-card game in Buffalo and a conference semifinal in Denver — before losing to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. And the 2013 Chargers beat the Bengals in a wild-card game in Cincinnati before losing in Denver. 

10. It’s no coincidence the Eagles’ defensive resurgence started right about when Tim Jernigan returned to the field after missing most of the first half of the season with a foot injury. Jernigan is finally back at his 2017 form, and he’s making a huge difference. The Eagles were 9th in points allowed and 7th in yards allowed the last eight games with Jernigan back on the field. Jernigan played about 29 snaps per game during that stretch, and that’s really made that defensive front more stout, forced offenses to account for two formidable tackles and really free up Fletcher Cox to make plays. The Eagles have a huge advantage Sunday with their d-line vs. the Seahawks’ o-line, and Jernigan is a big reason why.

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5 unsung heroes from Eagles’ last quarter push to playoffs

5 unsung heroes from Eagles’ last quarter push to playoffs

The Eagles took care of business in the last quarter of their season, winning the last four games on their schedule to clinch the NFC East. 

Plenty of players have been very deserving of praise and have gotten it. Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Sidney Jones, Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward have all been praised. 

But here’s a list of five other players who have meant a lot to the team during the winning streak but have flown under the radar: 

Tim Jernigan 

Earlier this season, Jernigan missed six games with a foot injury but he’s been back now since the game before the bye week and he’s made a big difference. Jernigan is never going to be a big sack guy but he’s getting solid pressure and giving Fletcher Cox a decent player next to him. 

“Timmy has been really on the rise and has been playing some impactful ball for us over these last few weeks,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “And we're going to need it. We got a tough chance ahead of us, not only stopping the run game, but trying to affect the quarterback.”

Jernigan has dealt with injuries throughout his time with the Eagles, dating back to 2017. But we’re starting to get a reminder of what a healthy Jernigan can do. 

Josh Perkins 

While Scott and Ward have gotten most of the headlines, Perkins has really helped too. He’s a tight end who also plays receiver for the Eagles. Remember, he didn’t even make the roster out of training camp because the Eagles elected to keep Alex Ellis instead. 

But all of Perkins’ offensive snaps have come in the last four games. He has played 128 in four weeks and had nine catches for 87 yards and a huge touchdown against the Giants. He’s played well. 

Anthony Rush 

Early this season, the defensive tackle position was a mess, but it has shored up recently. The combo of Cox, Jernigan, Rush and Bruce Hector has been getting the job done. Rush is a rookie out of UAB. He was with the Eagles during the spring and didn’t come back to the Eagles until Oct. 21. Since then, he’s played 152 defensive snaps and has played fairly well. 

Nigel Bradham 

Bradham hasn’t had a great season. Earlier in the year, he missed some time with a high ankle sprain and maybe it took him some time to recover. But recently he’s played much better. Probably not enough to warrant exercising his option after the season, but he’s been pretty good recently. 

Bradham had 10 tackles against the Giants, 5 tackles and a TFL against Dallas, a touchdown against Washington and 4 tackles and a PD against the Giants the first time around. 

Isaac Seumalo 

Jason Kelce has played every offensive snap this season but Seumalo is right behind him. The Eagles’ starting left guard has played 1,181 of 1,183 snaps this season. Sure, he had a terrible game against the Falcons in Week 2 but he’s been mostly fine since then. Is he a Pro Bowler? No. But he’s been solid and in recent weeks, he’s been a big part of the screen game. That’s where we see his ability to get downfield and let his athleticism take over.

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