The Eagles were putting the finishing touches on a 32-27 victory over the Redskins when a key player went down. Not long before the team went to 1-0 on this young NFL season.
Malik Jackson, one of the major offseason acquisitions, went down hard on his knee. He was carted off the field in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and taken back to the locker room. It was initially reported that the pass-rushing defensive tackle had a foot injury. Jackson later confirmed it to be lower leg injury.
After the game, the veteran defensive tackle was seen wearing a boot on his injured leg. He’ll have an MRI Monday morning to see the extent of the damage. Jackson finished the season opener with one tackle.
Jackson was supposed to bolster the Eagles’ pass-rush after coming over from Indianapolis. He was a member of the vaunted Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl defense in 2015.
No immediate injury update was given on Jackson. He’ll continue to be evaluated. The Eagles were in total control in the second half after a slow start.
Carson Wentz threw for three touchdowns, including two huge touchdown tosses — one for 51 yards, another for 53 yards — to new toy DeSean Jackson. Wentz finished 28-for-39 for 313 yards in the win.
Malik Jackson Targeted 10 Sacks for Season
Malik Jackson, who inked a three-year, $30 million contract with the Eagles this offseason, joined Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94 WIP during training camp where he dropped a few encouraging nuggets about his personal and team goals for 2019. For one, Jackson has targeted 10 sacks for himself.
He expressed intense excitement over joining a one-gap scheme, under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, which puts more of an emphasis on pass-rushing out of the defensive tackles. Jackson has been used to playing in two-gap schemes in previous stops in Denver and Jacksonville.
“Every year my goal is to get 10 sacks,” Jackson said. “You know, for the last eight years I’ve been playing a ‘sit there and read defense’ and now they give us the green light to just go and attack. So, I’ve been working on my technique, trying to get my stance right. I love it because it lets you just go to the quarterback and just run right into him. There’s no sitting there and waiting for the linebackers to make plays. It’s about you just getting there and making the play. It’s good for what I do and for what I want to do.”
The 29-year-old defensive tackle excels at pushing the pocket from the interior, much like new teammate Fletcher Cox. The 6-foot-6 Jackson possesses intimidating size, kind of like a “husky basketball player” to quote Ritchie. He has racked up 32.5 sacks in seven NFL seasons, including a career-high eight sacks in 2017. Jackson is a pass-rush specialist, by his own admission.
“My greatest strength as a player is the pass-rush, I believe,” Jackson said. “Sorry, I don’t want to sound vain, but I think I’m really good at the pass-rush. “It fits to what I want to do and who I am. So once I get it down, people are going to be in trouble.”
Eagles Defense ‘Right There’ with 2015 Broncos
Jackson has played on some really great — check that, some really elite — defenses since coming into the league in 2012. He was part of the vaunted 2015 Denver Broncos that rode their suffocating defense all the way to a Super Bowl title. NFL.com ranked that defense as the third-best of all-time. Then, Jackson was on the heralded 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars that was one controversial call away from advancing to the Super Bowl.
Where does Jackson rate this current Eagles unit? Right at the top of the list.
“I believe it’s right at the top,” Jackson said, referring to the 2019 Eagles defense. “We have a lot of great players on this defense, not just the D-line, but the guys on the backend are older players that can teach the younger guys and command respect — and if they do what they’re supposed to do, it trickles down.”
He can also feel the crazy energy from the Philly fans already as he recalled the “two stands that weren’t even full” during training camps in Jacksonville. Now, he is faced with at least 10 stands and multiple tents — at a closed practice.
“What’s important to me is showing Howie and the people that were saying bring Malik here, proving them right,” Jackson said. “I just feel like such an urgency just to be like, ‘Yo he was a great decision, he’s gonna be an Eagle for awhile. He fits us really well, we’re glad we brought him here. I just really want to prove the people right that brought me here and make them proud.”
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