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Timmy Jernigan embraces new role with Eagles

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  • By Max Meyer NFL.com
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In Timmy Jernigan's first three years in the NFL with the Ravens, the defensive tackle was used primarily as a two-gap lineman, clogging the trenches while allowing the linebackers to roam free. Now, he's been asked to take on a new responsibility in Philadelphia.

"This is my first time ever being told, 'Go,'" Jernigan said at his introductory press conference Friday. "I'll prove my point."

Essentially, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants his new 295-pound disruptor to be more aggressive in creating chaos rather than reading the opposing offensive line's blocking scheme before reacting.

"I've been waiting to play in this type of scheme for a while," Jernigan said. "Being at Florida State for a couple years, we were more of a read (defense) there, then I went to Baltimore and we read a little bit there. Last year in Baltimore we started attacking a little bit more and I had my best year, so it's going to be exciting."

Schwartz has already told Jernigan that he's going to have "a big year," the kind of impact the Eagles are hoping since they dropped down 25 picks in the third round to acquire the 24-year-old defensive lineman.

He had a career-high five sacks and 15 starts last season. With a spot in the Eagles' starting lineup open due to Bennie Logan's departure in free agency to the Chiefs, Jernigan becomes the favorite to crack in with the first unit and line up next to quarterback nightmare Fletcher Cox.

"Of course it will help," Jernigan said about having Cox along the defensive line. "He's a dog. People are going to double him. He's going to cause attention. When you get attention and get double-teamed, you're free on the other side.

"I'm pretty confident I can win one-on-ones. I'm confident I can beat two people sometimes. I think we're going to complement each other."

A second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jernigan's rookie deal expires after this upcoming 2017 campaign in Philly. While he said he hasn't "even thought that far" regarding his pending free agency looming, Jernigan has a great opportunity to thrive in his prove-it season given his new role, defensive scheme and teammates surrounding him.

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