This post appeared originally on www.fastphillysports.com
By Peter Brennan
The Eagles lost defensive tackle Malik Jackson last Sunday with a foot injury that will sideline him for the rest of 2019.
But the Birds’ depth is coming into play.
“We have guys who are going to step in and play well,” linebacker Nigel Bradham said. “That’s the way we’re looking at it. Malik is a great player and it’s tough that he’s out, but we have no choice but to have the next man step up and keep it going here.”
Jackson was placed on injured reserve yesterday. Signed as an unrestricted free agent in March, Jackson was expected to team well with Fletcher Cox to provide a potent 1-2 punch in the middle of the defensive line, with Tim Jernigan (above) – re-signed just prior to the 2019 NFL Draft – as a perfect third man in the defensive tackle rotation.
The Eagles agreed to terms with veteran defensive tackle Akeem Spence to take Jackson’s spot on the roster. In a separate roster move, tight end Alex Ellis was also waived. The 27-year-old Spence originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick (100th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2013 NFL Draft. During his NFL career, Spence has played in 88 contests with 57 starts, totaling 177 tackles (106 solo), 10.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries. He spent four seasons in Tampa Bay (2013-16) and one season in Detroit (2017) before being traded to the Miami Dolphins where he started all 16 games in 2018. Spence was released last month by the Dolphins.
Meanwhile, Jernigan, who teamed with Cox in the Super Bowl LII season of 2017, is healthy and ready to be a starter.
“He’s excited. We won a championship with this group,” defensive end Vinny Curry said. “He’s excited. He’s ready. He’s up for the challenge and you know he’s going to take this opportunity.”
The Eagles also made a smart trade on the third day of the draft when they sent a seventh-round draft pick to Indianapolis for defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.
Ridgeway made the 53-man roster with a good preseason, played 24 snaps in the win over Washington, and now bumps up in the tackle rotation behind Cox and Jernigan.