It was a tale of two halves for Jim Schwartz’s defense. The Eagles looked sluggish out of the gate. Matthew Stafford carved them up with quick passes on three straight touchdown drives of 11 plays, 9 plays and 12 plays to open the game. Philadelphia could not cover or tackle running back Theo Riddick (two TD catches) in the first half. Jim Bob Cooter used a plethora of misdirection early to gash Schwartz defense.
Nigel Bradham played sparingly in the first half — Pederson said after the game the linebacker wasn’t punished for his bye-week arrest. In the second half, Bradham was all over the field, including three tackles for loss. The Eagles’ front dominated the second half, sacking Stafford three times — Fletcher Cox (1 sack) clown-suited Detroit blockers several times. After giving up 17 first downs in the first half, the Lions got just three in the second two quarters. It was just enough.
Schwartz has already told Jernigan that he’s going to have “a big year,” the kind of impact the Eagles are hoping since they dropped down 25 picks in the third round to acquire the 24-year-old defensive lineman.
He had a career-high five sacks and 15 starts last season. With a spot in the Eagles’ starting lineup open due to Bennie Logan’s departure in free agency to the Chiefs, Jernigan becomes the favorite to crack in with the first unit and line up next to quarterback nightmare Fletcher Cox.
“We just got us a first-round talent at corner,” Pederson said. “He’s somebody, as Howie alluded to, we’re not going to rush into with anything with him, and we’re going to make sure that he’s 100 percent before we put him out on that football field.”
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Jones is expected to start the season on the non-football injury list (NFI) and could be back by October.
Last week, the New England Patriots saddled Blount with a little-used tender. The move allowed the Patriots to keep the running back’s departure as part of their compensation formula, despite the signing happening after May 9. Thus, Blount’s deal will work against Philly’s comp-pick formula.
As part of the Pats’ tender, Blount was set to earn a base salary of $1.1 million, with a max value of $2.1 million if he stayed in New England. Eagles GM Howie Roseman sweated that deal to get Blount to Philly as its big back.
The Eagles are set for years at the position after trading up in the draft last offseason to land Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick. While his rookie season was filled with ups and downs, Wentz showed moments of pure promise while keeping Daniel on the bench from wire to wire.
After being touted as a potential starter after Bradford was traded, the 30-year-old Daniel threw just one pass all season. He wasn’t thrilled about his situation in Philadelphia, making an offseason trade a sensible option for both sides.
It’s not difficult to imagine the matchup problems Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews could cause when on the field at the same time. It just might be hard to get them all operating at the same frequency injury free.
Burton is not wrong when he says the expectation is ‘electric.’ Carson Wentz now has theoretically every different type of weapon at his disposal — the speedy home-run threat, the all-around tight end, the bruiser and the precision route runner — but also has a new type of weight on his shoulders.