The Philadelphia Eagles have signed 34 year old free agent defensive tackle Linval Joseph to a contract for the remainder of the season, according to Mike Garofolo of NFL Network.
Joseph was once upon a time maybe the best run defender in the NFL while playing for the Minnesota Vikings during the mid-2010’s. His role on a defense has always been obvious: to clog up running lanes with his 6-4, 329 pound body and draw the attention of interior linemen in pass protection to provide individual matchups for edge rushers. Sound familiar? This is essentially exactly what Jordan Davis’ role has been for the Eagles during his rookie season. Davis is currently on Injured Reserve with a high ankle sprain and will remain there for at least another two games. Marlon Tuipulotu was surprisingly placed on IR as well following the loss to the Commanders, so the Eagles were suddenly thin at defensive tackle and needed depth at the position. Joseph has not played football in nearly a year and is a far cry from his prime, but he theoretically fills a temporary need. I would honestly not be surprised if he is only on the team for a few games.
I think the so-called terrible state of the Eagles run defense is getting somewhat blown out of proportion, but there is no question that the loss of Davis has been felt to a degree. Dameon Pierce had a great game on the ground for the Texans a couple weeks ago, and the Commanders as a unit were able to turn many second-and-longs into third-and-manageables, which they of course succeeded in converting almost every time (a completely different issue that is a conversation for another time). It does not get any easier over the next month, with Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, and Saquon Barkley on deck over the next four games, so the Eagles need to figure out how to hone in on the interior once again, and they hope Joseph is the start of that solution.
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