Philadelphia Eagles News

Jim Schwartz: Tim Jernigan Was An Important Acquisition For Us

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Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants to improve the pass rush in his second season with the team. The Eagles recorded 34 sacks last season, good for a 16th-place tie in the league, but certainly not what he had in Buffalo where the Bills led the NFL with 54 in 2014.

The fact that the core of the front seven remains intact will help, but the Eagles made plenty of additions in the offseason. In free agency, the team signed 10th-year veteran defensive end Chris Long. The Eagles then used the 14th overall pick on another defensive end in Derek Barnett. But one player who has gone a little under the radar is Tim Jernigan, who came to Philadelphia in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens.

It's a move that Schwartz called "an important acquisition."

"I think that will affect our pass rush as much as bringing a first-round draft pick or veteran player into the mix," Schwartz said.

"Last year when Fletch (Fletcher Cox) had such a good start, that first month, teams adjusted. They started taking him away, and we didn't win enough one-on-ones away from him because that other tackle got the one on ones. Well, that happened in OTAs, and Timmy's able to get good pressure."

Here's what else Schwartz discussed with the media.

On what Barnett needs to do to get NFL ready: "There are a lot of times in college you can live off of one move. You get to the NFL, and guys are going to take that one move away, and you're going to have to have a counter to it. So whether it's an inside power move, whether it's an inside spin move, he's been working really hard on an inside spin. It's not there yet, but he's working on it.

"He's got really good hands and he can get some speed to power, where he's getting ready to duck, and then go stick those guys and collapse the pocket. But you've got to have that whole arsenal, and that's going to be his thing in Training Camp to complete that arsenal."

On when the cornerback jobs will be determined: "I don't know. I'd like to do it tomorrow. But, I mean, that's just not where we are. I think if any decision that you're making now, you're predetermining the race. I mean, it would be nice to predetermine the race. We have some positions where we have solid starters; our safety position, our linebacker position, our defensive tackles.

"You know, we have some spots in there where guys have earned it, guys have played a lot of football in the NFL, and it's their spot to lose, so to speak. But at corner, we really don't have that. We add a veteran like Patrick Robinson, draft some guys, get some guys back from injury. We are going to have to keep an open mind and let it play. I think if we close that competition too soon, I don't know if we serve the team the best way. (We have to) sort of let the chips fall."

On rookie defensive tackle Elijah Qualls: "He's got natural leverage. That's a kind way of saying he's short. He's hard to handle for some of these guys. Again, we only saw him for those first couple days; he had a guest appearance at minicamp. But he's got natural leverage. He's got the low center of gravity. He's active.

"I think, from what I've seen, he's not out of shape. He's not overweight. He's a big man. There's nothing wrong with big men. We like big men. Let's not make big men small men. He doesn't have great length. His arms aren't the longest things in the world, so his technique is going to have to be really good."

Take a closer look at Day 2 of Eagles Camp at the NovaCare Complex...

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