Eagles GM Says Former Pro Bowl DT Has ‘Lot to Prove’

Malik Jackson

Getty The Eagles signed DT Malik Jackson to a three-year contract in the offseason.

When the Eagles signed Javon Hargrave in free agency, it kind of put Malik Jackson on notice. Stay healthy and produce.

Jackson, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, was carted off the field in the waning moments of last year’s season opener. He suffered a Lisfranc injury and never returned. It was a helpless “broke” feeling for Jackson as he watched the Eagles catch lightning in a bottle late and capture the NFC East crown. So he came into training camp in the best shape of his life, eager to prove his doubters wrong.

“Definitely I have a chip on my shoulder,” Jackson told reporters last week. “I’m a 6-7 sack guy, so last year three, it was awful for me. I’m excited to get back out here, brush that off and get back where I know I’m supposed to be, that’s atop the sack boards.”

Jackson has 32.5 sacks in seven NFL seasons, including a career-high in 2017 when he anchored the interior of a dominating Jacksonville defense. Eagles GM Howie Roseman signed the 30-year-old to a three-year, $30 million contract last offseason in the hope he would return to Pro Bowl form. Obviously, it didn’t happen due to injury. He’s got a “lot to prove,” per Roseman.

“We believe in Malik. I think Malik has come in with an incredible attitude,” Roseman said. “I know I saw his comment where he said he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and I love guys with chips on their shoulder and he’s got a lot to prove.”

Now Jackson will be part of an intimidating defensive tackle rotation in Philly that includes Jackson, Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, and Hassan Ridgeway. They should be one of the best in the NFL, if not the very best.

“This interior is probably, man, as they say every year, probably one of the best that’s out there if everybody can stay healthy,” Ridgeway told reporters in April. “You got a lot of talented people all in the same room, so it’s going to be a lot of competition.”

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Eagles Keep Only Four Defensive Tackles

The Eagles may have the best defensive tackle rotation in football, only there is no depth on the unit. The team chose to keep only four interior defensive linemen after waiving Anthony Rush and Raequan Williams on Saturday. Those moves weren’t shocking but it does limit what they can do if injuries hit.

Remember, Ridgeway missed the last few padded practices with an undisclosed lower-body injury. The 25-year-old is coming off an ankle injury that sidelined him for nine games in 2019 and eventually ended his season (seemingly against his wishes). He’s far from a safe bet to stay healthy, although the upside is there. Ridgeway inked a one-year deal worth $1.01 million, per Spotrac.

“I try to let my play speak for me, so if people want to forget, I just want to show them who I am when I play against them,” Ridgeway told reporters. “I want to go out there and prove there is no drop-off when Fletch comes off the field, or Malik, Hargrave, when anybody comes off it’s the same thing every single time, you’re getting a good defensive tackle going against you every play.”

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