First game is a pain for in­jured Jack­son

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Nick Fierro

PHILADEL­PHIA — Ea­gles de­fen­sive tackle Ma­lik Jack­son is out in­def­i­nitely with a lower-leg in­jury suf­fered in Sun­day’s win over Wash­ing­ton.

Jack­son af­ter the game was wear­ing a boot on his left foot in the locker room.

Coach Doug Ped­er­son said Mon­day that “we’re still wait­ing on a few more test re­sults with him, but it’s a sig­nif­i­cant in­jury that will re­quire some time.”

Ped­er­son also said there is no timetable yet on his re­turn and is not sure if the team will have to place him on the in­jured re­serve list.

But given that the Ea­gles are car­ry­ing only four de­fen­sive tack­les on their ac­tive ros­ter and like to rotate all four in games, a ros­ter move is al­most a lock. That prob­a­bly won’t come un­til Tues­day, though, ac­cord­ing to Ped­er­son.

On the other hand, they are heavy at de­fen­sive end, with six, and of­ten move Bran­don Gra­ham and/or Vinny Curry in­side on pass­ing downs any­way, so they might try to squeeze by with what they have if Jack­son is not placed on IR.

If he is, Bruce Hec­tor, who is on the Ea­gles’ prac­tice squad, would be the top can­di­date to re­place him on the ros­ter and move into the rotation. Tim Jerni­gan, who had the Ea­gles’ only sack on Sun­day, and Has­san Ridge­way are can­di­dates to re­place Jack­son as a starter.

Jack­son went down near the end of the game. He played 34 of 67 de­fen­sive snaps on Sun­day and was cred­ited with one tackle. Jerni­gan played 25 snaps and Ridge­way 24.

Jack­son is an eight-year vet­eran with 32 ca­reer sacks who was play­ing in his first game with the Ea­gles. He had spent the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons with Jack­sonville, where he landed af­ter help­ing the Bron­cos get to two Su­per Bowls in three years, win­ning it all in the 2015 season.

Hec­tor orig­i­nally signed with the Ea­gles last year as an un­drafted free agent out of South Florida and spent 2018 alternatin­g be­tween their ac­tive ros­ter and prac­tice squad. He was traded to the Ari­zona Car­di­nals last month for safety Rudy Ford but re­joined the Ea­gles’ prac­tice squad af­ter be­ing cut by the Car­di­nals com­ing out of camp.

No brainer, Part 2: Ped­er­son said af­ter the game that there was no hes­i­ta­tion when it came to go­ing for it fourth down in Ea­gles ter­ri­tory while trail­ing by 13 points in the third quar­ter.

On Mon­day, he said the same about his de­ci­sion to go for a two-point con­ver­sion af­ter a touch­down put them up by seven in the fourth quar­ter.

“Ev­ery­thing told us at that point, even be­fore the drive started, that the com­mu­ni­ca­tion we had was this was a two-point [con­ver­sion] drive if we scored,” Ped­er­son said. “The think­ing was, if you kick the ex­tra point, you’re up eight and a touch­down, two-point, you’re tied. So this way it puts it into a twoscore game and re­ally puts the pres­sure back on them to do that.”

Dar­ren Spro­les made good on the run to give the Ea­gles a 29-20 ad­van­tage.

Cor­ner­back rotation: The plan all along, ac­cord­ing to the coach, was to start cor­ner­back Ra­sul Dou­glas on the out­side, op­po­site Ron­ald Darby, and then rotate Sid­ney Jones in, ac­cord­ing to Ped­er­son.

Dou­glas was beaten hand­ily by Terry McLau­rin for a 69-yard touch­down pass in the sec­ond quar­ter. But when Jones went in to re­place him in the third, it was not in re­sponse to how Dou­glas per­formed in the first half.

“No, it was all planned,” Ped­er­son said. “Ev­ery­thing was planned.”

The last word: Ped­er­son, on Jerni­gan: “He’s an ex­citable guy. He loves play­ing, loves play­ing the D-Line po­si­tion. He’s just some­body that brings a level of energy and power to the in­side. And so now he’s go­ing to ob­vi­ously get an op­por­tu­nity here within prob­a­bly the next few weeks to play a lit­tle bit more, and re­ally would ex­pect noth­ing less from him.”

Morn­ing Call re­porter Nick Fierro can be reached at 610-778-2243 or [email protected]

ROB CARR/GETTY

Ea­gles de­fen­sive tackle Ma­lik Jack­son is carted off the field in the fourth quar­ter Sun­day against Wash­ing­ton. Jack­son suf­fered an in­jury to his lower left leg.

MICHAEL PEREZ/AP

Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son re­sponds to questions af­ter the season-open­ing vic­tory.

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