Doug Pederson: Eagles needed a DT, did not contact Chris Long or Connor Barwin
Chris Long and Connor Barwin are probably in the cell phone contacts section of Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.
When it came time to find a replacement for defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who suffered a season-ending Lisfranc sprain in his left foot during Sunday’s 32-27 win over the Washington Redskins, the Eagles never utilized the contact with two either of their two former defensive ends.
Head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles were in the market for defensive tackles only, therefore ends like Barwin, who said this summer he would like to return to play for the Eagles again, and Long, who announced his retirement after two seasons with the Eagles, didn’t fit the bill.
“Just specifically D tackles,” said Pederson when asked if both veteran pass rushers were at least considered. “We’re pretty deep at D end right now, so just the D tackle spot.”
That defensive tackle is the 6-1, 300-pound Akeem Spence, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Jackson.
“He’s a big guy, physical,” said Pederson. “(Defensive special assistant) Matt Burke was with him in Miami. He can be disruptive. He definitely fills the need we have at that open spot. He’ll give us some really good minutes as a fourth tackle. We’ll get him out on field see how me moves around and how he fits in with the scheme.”
Pederson thinks Spence will have a role on Sunday night when the Eagles visit the Atlanta Falcons in a primetime matchup.
“I think so,” said Pederson. “(Defensive line coach) Coach (Phillip) Daniels, get him coached up with what he needs to know and it’s realistic.”
Meanwhile, Jackson posted this on his Instagram account:
“I worked hard at this offseason to come out this year and prove all my doubters and critics wrong, that I’m still one of the best. But I suffered a season-ending injury sun and I am disappointed, scared and hurt. I promise myself and Eagles fans I will bust my ass to get healthy physically as well as mentally for next season.”
He ended the post with the hashtag “FlyEaglesFly”
Jackson foot injury is the latest of a string of high-profile foot injuries suffered recently by Eagles, including stars Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.
Last year, the team was plagued with hamstring injuries, so the foot situation is something the Eagles are looking into further.
“Like we did with soft tissues, ACLs, we look into everything,” said Pederson. “This is no different. It’s kind of the injury that’s popped up on our team this year; seems like every year it’s a different one. We’re looking into that.
“We’re getting a lot of data from league sources that we’ve done in the past and try to educate our players whether it be field surface, shoes, all kinds of stuff.”