Eagles Protect ‘Next Level’ Cornerback, Rookie ‘Didn’t Blink’

Michael Jacquet

Getty Rookie CB Michael Jacquet makes a sideline tackle on Cowboys WR Michael Gallup.

Just call the 2020 Eagles “Kings of the Practice Squad.” Decimated by freak injuries and inconsistent play, the team has been forced to mine for stars on the supplemental roster. Guess what? The NFC East leaders have found quite a few diamonds in the rough, including an overachieving rookie cornerback.

Michael Jacquet, who went undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette, was thrown into the fray in Week 8 after Pro-Bowl starter Darius Slay left with an ankle injury. With Cre’Von LeBlanc out and Nickell Robey-Coleman manning the slot, the Eagles turned to the untested kid who wowed Doug Pederson in training camp.

Jacquet, literally stepping in for the Eagles’ best cover corner, proved the moment wasn’t too big. He played 30 defensive snaps and allowed just one completion for 11 yards while making four tackles. Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci had a 45.1 passer rating against him.

“He stepped and had to fill some big shoes,” safety Rodney McLeod said. “Slay goes down, and now he’s asked to come in and in a meaningful game with our season on the line, and he didn’t blink.”

There was one play that earned Jacquet a good old fashioned ribbing from his new teammates. He dropped an interception. Luckily, it didn’t come back to hurt the kid who was praised for his “next-level size” coming out of college.

“He tackled well,” McLeod said. “He dropped an interception and we made fun of him for that, but I think he played a very good game. And continually out there, he was saying, ‘Bro, I got this, I’m good. Like, you don’t have to tell me everything.'”

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Eagles Protect Jacquet, 4 Practice Squad Players

Jacquet’s performance wasn’t perfect — Jalen Mills and Will Parks both took turns at corner — but it was very promising. The Eagles decided not to permanently add him to the 53-man roster, but the team did list him as one of four practice-squad protections for Week 10. Jacquet was joined by G Jamon Brown, TE Jason Croom, DT T.Y. McGill. No other teams may poach those players this week.

It’s unclear what the 6-foot-2, 201-pound cornerback’s role will be moving forward. The Eagles could choose not to activate him. However, Jacquet certainly left a favorable impression in his NFL debut. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz offered tepid praise on the rookie so as not to give him too big of a head. That interception is a play he should have made.

“I think probably the best way to put it is you really didn’t notice he was out there, and if you’re a corner, that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Schwartz said. “He’d probably like his one play back, probably should have had an interception on one play, but he was there when the team needed him.”

Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

In more grim news, the Eagles announced on Tuesday that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. The organization didn’t reveal the person’s name but said they would follow the league’s “intense protocols,” including contract tracing and self-isolation.

“The Philadelphia Eagles received confirmation this morning that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19,” the Eagles said in a statement. “The individual and close contacts who were identified through contact tracing have been placed in self-isolation. We are following the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols and remain in close communication with the league.”

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