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October 17, 2018

#Analysis: The Eagles are thin at defensive tackle

Four days before their matchup against the Carolina Panthers, the Philadelphia Eagles have two healthy defensive tackles. One is Fletcher Cox, so that's good. The other is Treyvon Hester, a player the Eagles signed to their practice squad in early September, and called up to the 53-man roster 15 days ago. 

That's it. 

The most likely relief the Eagles have coming their way is Haloti Ngata, who has missed the last two games with a calf injury. He was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. That's a step up from a week ago, when Ngata didn't participate in practice at all.

"I would say that Ngata is getting close," said Doug Pederson. "He's day-to-day still. Getting better. We'll see where he is at this week later in the week."

Of course, Darren Sproles has been getting "close" for like a month now, but he still isn't back, so take that for what it's worth. So what if Ngata can't play?

"There is a plan," Pederson said. "I've talked to Jim [Schwartz] and [Eagles defensive line coach] Chris [Wilson] and we feel comfortable with that plan."

Next, there's Timmy Jernigan, who had surgery for a herniated disc early this offseason. It is presently unknown how exactly Jernigan hurt himself, but it was during non-football activities, as he landed on the NFI (non-football injury) list. According to the NFI list rules, Jernigan is eligible to come off of NFI after the sixth week of the season, which is, you know, right now. For the first time all offseason (I think), Jernigan attended practice, and he was wearing his jersey and a bucket cap (artist rendering to the right), though he did not (and cannot, since he's still on NFI) participate.

"Tim just keeps progressing," Pederson said. "We're hopeful and optimistic, but at the same time, we want to make sure that he's healthy and his whole demeanor is for us to put him back out on the field, and his safety is first."

And finally, there's Destiny Vaeao, who the Eagles waived/injured on Tuesday. He had two total tackles and one gift-wrapped sack on the season in 157 snaps. He's now gone.

So... Could the Eagles make a move this week for a defensive tackle? Pederson was asked, just generally speaking at any position, if a trade was something he'd be open to.

"Yeah, it's something that definitely we'll take a look at," he said. "We're constantly looking to add value, add talent if we can. Something Howie and Joe and the guys are constantly aware of and monitoring, and we'll see as we get closer to the deadline."

Welp, "closer to the deadline" sounds a lot like nothing is imminent. We'll see.

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