July 26, 2017
A season ago, Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackles tallied a total of 11.5 sacks. Fletcher Cox had 6.5 of those, despite often being the focus of opposing offenses' blocking schemes. The rest of the DTs on the Eagles' roster combined for just five sacks, despite facing favorable matchups.
The starter opposite Cox was Bennie Logan, a quality player who was better against the run than the pass. In the Eagles' first game against the Washington Redskins a year ago, there was a noticeable difference in the way the Redskins were able to run the ball down the Eagles' throats after Logan went down with in injury in the second quarter of that game.
However, Logan did not provide much in the way of a pass rush presence, collecting just 5.5 sacks in his four years (60 games, 51 starts) playing along the interior of the Eagles' defensive line.
In a scheme in which defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz needs his front four to be able to get to the quarterback without the help of blitzes, it is less than ideal to have one of your four down lineman not capitalizing on favorable one-on-one opportunities.
When the Eagles traded for Ravens DT Tim Jernigan this offseason, their hope was that he could win more of those favorable matchups that Eagles DTs could not a year ago.
"I do like the guys we have up front," said Schwartz. "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 Fletch 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.
"I don't know if it flew under the radar, but it was an important acquisition for us. I think that will affect our pass-rush as much as bringing a first-round draft pick or veteran player into the mix."
In his career with the Ravens, Jernigan has posted good numbers from his defensive tackle position, without the benefit of playing directly next to a player as talented as Cox: