Eagles Starter Out for Season, Chris Long Surfaces as Replacement

Chris Long

Getty Chris Long retired from the Eagles after the 2018 season.

Doug Pederson tried to play it off in his day-after press conference, but everyone knew Malik Jackson’s injury was bad. On Tuesday, it was reported that Jackson will miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc sprain.

Jackson, one of the team’s top offseason acquisitions, went down hard Sunday in what was described as either a foot or lower leg injury. It’s a lethal blow for a defense that struggled mightily at times against an anemic Redskins offense. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo confirmed it was a season-ending injury and now the Eagles are expected to make a corresponding roster move to fill out their roster.

Jackson was being counted on to anchor the middle of the Eagles’ defensive line, along with Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan. The team will turn to Hassan Ridgeway for increased snaps, but there is no depth behind him. Some possible replacements at defensive tackle include free agents Mike Pennel, Darius Philon and Willie Henry.

Doug Pederson Impressed with Replacements

The two guys backing up Malik Jackson at defensive tackle on the depth chart are Timmy Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway. Jernigan was a breakout star in Week 1 after recording his first-ever sack in Eagles green. Ridgeway filled in for Jackson late in Sunday’s game and got some pressure on Redskins quarterback Case Keenum. Head coach Doug Pederson liked what he saw out of both players.

“I thought Jernigan was disruptive at times. I thought Hassan got in there especially late in the game when Malik came out, had a couple of pressure moments there,” Pederson told reporters. “And again, getting in game action, it’s a little bit different, speed is a little bit different, but I thought both guys were disruptive, and Timmy in particular did some really nice things.”

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Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz also provided comment on Jackson’s injury.

“We’ll probably be without him for a while. Malik is an important part of what we do, and we’ll certainly miss him when he’s not on the field,” Schwartz told reporters. “But we have plenty of guys that can step up and play. And that’s nothing new in the NFL, doesn’t change our task from game to game and it doesn’t change our task over the course of the year. We’ll get him healthy and get him back.”

Would Eagles Consider Bringing In Chris Long?

One crazy idea being floated around is the Eagles possibly reaching out to retired defensive end Chris Long. The team has an open roster spot after placing Malik Jackson on injured reserve and no one said they have to fill it with another defensive tackle. Remember, Jackson was more of a pass-rushing specialist than a run-stopper.

Long sounded like he wasn’t ready to leave football before he walked away from the Eagles. It was a matter of him not being promised the role he wanted in the defense, maybe not enough snaps. Well, there are now more snaps to go around with Jackson out. This could be a great opportunity to bring back a fan favorite. His situational pass-rushing skills were a big reason why Philadelphia won the Super Bowl.

Would Long want to come back? He certainly sounds like he’s enjoying retirement, at least if his Twitter conversations should be used as evidence. He has been writing columns for Sports Illustrated, co-hosting a sports podcast and sitting on his couch watching his friends and former teammates in the NFL. In fact, he admitted that he hasn’t missed it as much as he thought he would.

In 11 NFL seasons, Long registered 333 total tackles, with 85 tackles for loss, 70 sacks and 150 quarterback hits. So, yeah, he could help Philadelphia in their quest for another Super Bowl. Let’s see what the team decides.