Jim Schwartz Believes Tim Jernigan Could Provide Element Eagles Were Missing

It seemed odd when the Eagles didn't seem to make much of an effort during free agency to keep defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who played at a consistent level for them during his four years in Philly.

It doesn't seem so odd anymore.

Logan went on to sign a one-year, $8 million deal with the Chiefs on March 13, and three weeks later the Eagles replaced him with Tim Jernigan, who they acquired from the Ravens as part of a swap of third-round picks.

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Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Tuesday that Jernigan is actually a better fit for the Eagles than Logan because of his superior pass-rush skills.

He made sure to praise Logan but also made it clear that he believes Jernigan and Fletcher Cox will complement each other in a way that Logan and Cox did not.

Jernigan has 13 sacks in 43 career games. Logan has 5½ sacks in 59 career games.

"It's just a different type of player," Schwartz said. "It's not a dig at Bennie. Bennie played good football for us. But they're different style players and I think that as a complement to Fletch, Jernigan has some [different] things.

"Jernigan might be able to complement him a little bit better. He's really good in the pass rush. Maybe he's as good as Bennie in the running game, maybe he's not. But both of them are good players. Both of them have had a high level of success in the NFL. It's just that they're different styles.

"But I like what Timmy showed in camp and his ability to win those 1-on-1s. He's slippery. He's hard for those guards to handle. He made a significant impact as a pass rusher."

Cox had four sacks the first month of last season but just 2½ the last 12 games, and Schwartz said that was because opposing teams began double-teaming him more. He indicated that he expects Jernigan to have more success taking advantage of the opportunities he gets with Cox doubled than Logan did.

"He's really hard to handle inside," Schwartz said. "Last year, when Fletch had such a good start, that first month, teams adjusted and they started taking him away, and we didn't win enough 1-on-1s away from him because that other tackle got the 1-on-1s.

"Well, that happened in OTAs, and Timmy's able to get that pressure."

Schwartz even said he expects Jernigan to make a bigger impact on the Eagles' pass rush than either rookie first-round pick Derek Barnett or veteran free agent Chris Long.

"It was a big acquisition for us and I think that'll affect our pass rush as much as bringing a first-round draft pick or veteran player into the mix," he said.

The Eagles, who were expected to have one of the NFL's top pass-rush units a year ago, finished the season tied for 16th in the NFL with 34 sacks.

They ranked third in the league after four games with 14 sacks. But over the last 12 weeks of the season, they had just 20 - third fewest in the league during that span.

Schwartz believes having two tackles that have varied skill sets will help free up Cox and make the defensive line more dangerous. 

"It's always ideal to have guys who complement each other," he said. "When I was in Detroit, it was (Nick) Fairley and (Ndamukong) Suh. One was stronger, one was a little quicker. Tennessee, I had Tony Brown and Albert Haynesworth. Buffalo, it was Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams.

"Good players are good players, but it does help to have those complementary guys. But that's anywhere. It could be safety, it could be corner, it could be defensive tackle. There's something to be said for the total being greater than the sum of the parts."

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