Tim Jernigan

Doug Pederson gives injury updates on Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Mack Hollins

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Doug Pederson gives injury updates on Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Mack Hollins

We’re just over a week from the start of the regular season and Alshon Jeffery still hasn’t practiced. He’s still on the Active/PUP. 

While it seems unlikely he’ll land on the Reserve/PUP, which would keep him out six weeks, Jeffery’s status for Week 1 still remains very up in the air as he recovers from offseason rotator cuff surgery. 

The Eagles have one full week of practice before Week 1’s game on Sept. 6. 

“Well, first of all, he’s doing well in his rehab,” head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday. “He’s working well in his rehab. He’s progressed up to about 75 throws per day and really doing a nice job with that. We’re just going to continue to monitor that with him. We’ll see where he’s at next week and make a decision. Right now, he’s progressing well and we’ll just have to see. He’s day by day.”

Jeffery and Chris Maragos still remain on the Active/PUP list, while Tim Jernigan is still on the Active/NFI. At this point, it’s expected that Maragos and Jernigan will begin the season on the PUP and NFI, respectively. 

At practice on Tuesday, the Eagles were still without Jay Ajayi, Mack Hollins, Richard Rodgers and Josh Perkins. 

Ajayi missed his first day of practice on Aug. 19 and Tuesday was the sixth straight practice he’s missed. 

“[Ajayi is] doing well. It’s just rest,” Pederson said. “He’s just got a little lower-body that we’re trying to get him ready for the regular season.” 

Pederson said a similar thing about Mack Hollins, whom he said has a lower-body injury also. He said the rest has helped Hollins and they expect him back for the regular season. 

Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor, Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey and Markus Wheaton all practiced for the third consecutive day. Pump and Wheaton are hoping to play this Thursday against the Jets as they try to make the roster. 

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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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Eagles place Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Maragos on Active/PUP list; Tim Jernigan, Bryce Treggs on Active/Non-Football Injury

Eagles place Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Maragos on Active/PUP list; Tim Jernigan, Bryce Treggs on Active/Non-Football Injury

After that brief scare Wednesday (see story), Carson Wentz is not on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list as training camp practice is set to begin.

That means Wentz will be able to practice right way.

But the following guys — either on PUP or NFI (non-football injury) won’t be able to.

PUP: Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Maragos

NFI: Tim Jernigan, Bryce Treggs

The only real surprise among that group is Treggs, who had been practicing during the spring.

Graham (ankle), Jeffery (rotator cuff), Maragos (PCL) and Jernigan (back) are all recovering from surgery. Jernigan’s injury happened in the offseason, so he’s on the NFI. The only difference on the NFI is that teams can elect to not pay those guys who injured themselves away from NFL activities.

All of these players on the active PUP and NFI can be taken off the lists at any point during camp when they’re ready to practice. No player who has practiced during training camp can be added to the lists later, so this had to happen now.

Putting these players on the lists now leaves the option open that any of these players can be added to the reserve/PUP or NFI once the season starts. That would force them to miss the first six games but would save roster spots. For some of these guys, that is just an insurance policy in case there are setbacks.

The biggest question mark is probably Jernigan, who had offseason back surgery and hasn’t spoken publicly to reporters since.

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