Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Bennett racks up reps at defensive tackle
No Timmy Jernigan, no problem for the Philadelphia Eagles as they plan to utilize Michael Bennett on the inside.
If there’s one unit on the entire Philadelphia Eagles roster that seems almost too powerful, it is the defensive line. After the 2018 NFL Draft, nobody could guess what the Eagles could possibly do with all of the talents they have acquired for up front. But also, nobody quite realized how much value they lost during the 2018 free agency period of the offseason.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored big with Eagles pass rushers this year. Defensive end Vinny Curry and defensive tackle Beau Allen both inked multi-year deals with the Bucs when they were set free into the free agency market this offseason. While it seemed as though the Eagles patched up the Curry situation with the trade for Michael Bennett, it turns out they need him to play elsewhere on the defensive line this year.
As always, no injury is ever planned in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they have an extensive list of injuries that contain some pretty significant names. Two of them being on the oh-so-dominant defensive line. Both, defensive end Brandon Graham, and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan are currently unable to play for the Eagles. Graham may only miss a few games, if that. Meanwhile, Jernigan intends on missing four-to-six months.
The Eagles clearly didn’t anticipate losing their long-term answer at defensive tackle. But luckily, their plan to beef up the defensive line in the offseason ended up paying off big time as the regular season opener sits a few weeks away.
What’s the plan for the inside?
Defensive end is the last of the Eagles worries at the moment. While Graham could be out, they still have Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Josh Sweat, and Michael Bennett on board. When it comes to defensive tackle though, the Eagles look slightly weaker without Jernigan’s workforce up front. Sure, Haloti Ngata has the talent and experience to fill Jernigan’s shoes no problem. But what happens when Ngata suffers some sort of set back, which he has been known to do as of recent?
Well, that’s where the multi-talented Michael Bennett comes into play. We saw a little sneak peak of Bennett playing defensive tackle with the first-team defense against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we should get used to that.
Bennett is no stranger to playing tackle, as he has played on the inside when called upon with his former team. Although his All-Pro honors were earned based off of what he did mostly on the outside, Bennett shouldn’t be surprised to find himself in heavy rotation at tackle.
We have all seen Jim Schwartz utilize his most talented players as much as possible regardless of whether they start or not, and he is definitely preparing to have Bennett serve the Eagles defensive line all over the place. It’s unlikely that Bennett finds himself a permanent position at tackle, but as long as Jernigan is sidelined, his services will be much-needed on the inside. And who knows, Bennett could realistically beat out Ngata for the starting defensive tackle position when the season kicks off.