Just the on-field presence again of Tim Jernigan was a boost for Eagles

The defensive tackle's role should grow over the final month of the season, and that's good news for injury-ravaged team

When Carson Wentz engineers a game-winning drive in the final minutes, Josh Adams runs for a career-high 84 yards, and Malcolm Jenkins intercepts a pass at the 2-yard line to stop a late-first half drive by the Giants on Sunday, it’s easy to overlook the return of Tim Jernigan.

The Eagles defensive tackle made his season debut against New York after being added to the 53-man roster from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Jernigan didn’t want to get into details about what or how he suffered that non-football injury during the offseason, but said that he was concerned about his career.

So he took an extra delight in being back on the field Sunday.

“I feel good,” said Jernigan, in the aftermath of the Eagles’ 25-22 win. “I feel so good. Just to run out that tunnel, see our fans, be back out there with my brothers. You put that work in throughout the week, so it felt good to be rewarded for it.”

Jernigan wasn’t easy to miss during the pregame warmup, though. He was mostly by himself, nervously pacing back and forth.

“That’s me every game,” he said. “That’s just what I do. That’s who I am. That’s how I get myself mentally ready to play football. This is a gladiator sport. You can’t come out there and expect things to go easy for you. It’s always going to be hard. It’s a fight, a fight every play.”

Jernigan played just 19 snaps, but it is a number that will likely grow as he works himself back into football shape.

“He brought us some energy,” said defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “He only played about 20 snaps or so. Didn't want to tax him too much out there. It was good having that rotation back. I think we were even more productive with some of the other guys in there. Haloti (Ngata) I thought showed up a little bit better.”

With Jernigan back, Ngata’s snaps were reduced. He played just 24, which was the second fewest number he’s taken this season. His previous low was 17 in the season opener against the Falcons.

Treyvon Hester also saw a reduction in some of his snap, getting 15 of them.

Fletcher Cox’s, however, remained about the same, playing 49 snaps.

“It was really good to have Timmy back,” said Cox. “He brings a lot. I was really happy to see him out there. He was very disruptive being Timmy. Happy to have him back. He was getting off the ball, flying around, making tackles and having fun. That’s just what Timmy does.”

Added Jernigan: “I just wanted to be myself, man. At the end of the day I didn’t feel like I needed to do anything spectacular or anything like that, I just had to be me. Being myself is what got me in the position I am in, so why would I change it. Everything’s on the up right now.”