Eagles training camp: Is Timmy Jernigan an upgrade from Bennie Logan?

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 6: Nose tackle Brandon Williams
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 6: Nose tackle Brandon Williams /

The talent Timmy Jernigan possesses may help Eagles fans move on from the disappointment of losing Bennie Logan.

It’s almost as though the Philadelphia Eagles finished with a better mark than the 7-9 record we all saw them finish with. Coaches are constantly talking about how they like what they see. Some of the hottest free agent commodities want to come play in “The City of Brotherly Love”. Just take defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan for instance. He put pen to paper, and joined the team shortly after Bennie Logan was lost to the exact same free agency game.

Apparently Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is excited. Following the Eagles second practice of training camp, he met with the media. It was there that we heard some pretty high praise for the defensive tackle that has Eagles fans smiling. The expectation is that Jernigan is set for a monster year in his first season in Philly.

A new scheme:

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Jernigan spent a ton of time in a 3-4 scheme with the Baltimore Ravens. He served, primarily, as the line’s anchor, forcing him to do more reading and reacting, but even with that being said, Jernigan racked up 13 sacks over the course of his first three seasons in the NFL. Logan, with an additional year of experience under his belt, has only managed to accumulate 5.5 sacks.

Schwartz’s 4-3 scheme asks his defensive line to attack more and places much of the pressure for generating sacks on them. It’s virtually void of the idea of blitzing. Logan was a beloved member of the Eagles family. It hurt to lose him, but there’s a possibility that Jernigan may be a slight upgrade.

Defenses are going to be forced to “pick their poison” with the middle of the Eagles’ defensive line however. Having to deal with Jernigan is a tough enough task, but placing him next to one of the best defensive tackles in football, Fletcher Cox, is almost certain to give him even more opportunities, so again, much is expected.

Jernigan’s been ready since day one:

"Oh man, I’m excited. He (Schwartz) told me ‘This is going to be a big year for you.’ He has plans for me. So we’ll see man…I’m ready, man. I’ve been waiting to play in this type of scheme for awhile. Being at Florida State for a couple years, we were more reading [the opposing offense] there, and then I went to Baltimore and we read a little bit there. Last year in Baltimore we started attacking a little bit more. And I had my best year so it’s going to be exciting. I’ve never even played in a system like this to where they really want you to attack all the time. Everywhere I’ve played they’ve always kind of told you to ‘keep the linebackers free, keep the lineman off the linebackers.’ Stuff like that. But this is kind of my first time ever being told ‘Go!’ I’ll prove my point"

Schwartz approved:

Those were the thoughts of Jernigan shortly after he was added at the beginning of April. It’s been almost four months, and Schwartz isn’t any less excited. On Tuesday, he stated adding Jernigan was almost like adding a top draft choice.

"I do like the guys we have up front. It’s not just drafting a guy like Derek [Barnett] or bringing a guy like Chris [Long] in. I think Tim Jernigan is really going to be a big addition for us. He was hard to handle inside. Last year when [Fletcher Cox] had such a good start, that first month, teams adjusted. They started taking him away, and we didn’t win enough one on ones away from him because that other tackle got the one on ones. Well, that happened in OTAs, and Timmy’s able to get good pressure."

Here’s something to think about:

Logan has 163 tackles for his career. Jernigan clocks in with 91. Jernigan was the 48th-overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Logan was taken 67th in 2013. Jernigan’s been a force along the defensive line for a while, but he can’t lay claim to having forced three fumbles like Logan can. Then again, Logan’s never picked off a pass either, and Jernigan’s got an interception on his resume.

Is Jernigan an upgrade at defensive tackle for the Eagles? Both are a long way from completing their story, but a new season in a new city for both guys will go a long way in telling the tale.