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One Team’s Trash is Joe D’s Treasure; GM Doing Impressive Work With Previous Castoffs


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Eagles’ Jonathan Gannon praises Jets starter who was plucked from practice squad

Updated: Dec. 04, 2021, 6:30 a.m. | Published: Dec. 04, 2021, 6:30 a.m.

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NFL Week 12: New York Giants defeat Philadelphia Eagles, 13-7

By Mike Kaye | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

PHILADELPHIA — In the NFL, every opportunity matters. For Jets safety Elijah Riley, leaving his first and only professional team for a shot at significant playing time was absolutely the right move.

After appearing in only one game for the Eagles this year, Riley was plucked off the practice squad by the Jets, who signed him to their 53-man roster. The Jets were battling injuries in the secondary, and the Eagles were collecting defensive backs left and right, so Riley clearly saw a better opportunity in the Meadowlands.

After watching Riley closely during joint practices and a preseason game this summer, the Jets knew he’d fit in well with their defense. In just a month with the new squad, Riley has already become a starter.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was a fan of Riley’s, but the second-year defensive back got caught in a numbers game during final cuts and spent the first two months of the season on the practice squad.

“I liked Elijah a lot,” Gannon said Tuesday. “We all did.”

Riley, who initially signed with the Eagles as an undrafted rookie last year, started his first two games with the Jets, racking up nine tackles with extended playing time.

After a strong camp this summer, it seemed like Riley could be a dark horse for a roster spot, but the Eagles decided to go light on safety, and the defensive back was spurned. Through two games with the Jets, Riley has picked up where he left off in camp.

“It was tough to see him walk out of the building because, obviously, he’s a good player,” Gannon said. “But we feel good about the guys that we have now.”

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The Eagles have chosen to focus more on cornerback development than lining their depth chart with safeties.

Since Week 1, the Eagles have added three rookie cornerbacks — Mac McCain, Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent — to their roster. They’ve also used fourth-round pick Zech McPhearson, Andre Chachere and Josiah Scott on special teams, behind starters Darius Slay, Steven Nelson and Avonte Maddox.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have just four safeties on the active roster — Anthony Harris, Rodney McLeod, Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace — after working with three throughout the majority of the first half of the campaign. The team also has safety Jared Mayden on the practice squad, and he was elevated for the loss against the Giants last week.

But Riley will line up against his former team on Sunday, and if he can make some plays at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles may regret letting him walk. So far, Riley has been impressive with his change of scenery, and his understanding of the Eagles’ offense and defense could help his new squad steal a win this weekend.

Riley is looking forward to the opportunity, but won’t sweat playing his old squad.

“It is going to be cool competing against guys that I shared the locker room with and stuff, but I am not changing my approach to the game whatsoever,” Riley said. “I am not treating it any different.”

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5 hours ago, sciond said:

give the man credit he is resourceful.

He is the best we have had in a long time. Even with all the things we see as mistakes in hindsight...... would you rather have another Idzik?

Fair….  His drafting has been a bit pedestrian but appears to be improving but he manages a roster well.  

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The team is still 3-8 and a bottom 5 team.

In our Jets bubble we get a little to wrapped around who we think are "good players for cheap" that in all honestly wouldn't make another NFL roster worth it's salt. 

Don't buy into this at all. 

Let's not forget JD's 2020 draft prob set us back a whole year 

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1 hour ago, Jet2020 said:

All those hits on cast offs, you’d think we have the #1 D or something. 

Right, this defense is still really bad. I see no results. Articles like this make me scratch my head...

But ya gotta throw the loyal fans crumbs I get every now and then in yet another bad losing season under this GM

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4 minutes ago, kevinc855 said:

The team is still 3-8 and a bottom 5 team.

In our Jets bubble we get a little to wrapped around who we think are "good players for cheap" that in all honestly wouldn't make another NFL roster worth it's salt. 

Don't buy into this at all. 

Let's not forget JD's 2020 draft prob set us back a whole year 

Bottom 5?????  Bottom 3. 😂

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4 hours ago, Joe W. Namath said:

Wait till you see what this man does in the upcoming draft.  Joe D is assembling one of the best, young teams in the league.  And this team is being built for long term success.  Enjoy the ride jet fans.  We will be one of the best teams in the nfl shortly.

The wildcard right now is Wilson.  So want him to be the real deal and then All that draft capital can be invested in premium positions other than QB.

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15 minutes ago, southparkcpa said:

Bottom 5?????  Bottom 3. 😂

Well, we just beat the Texans, and the Lions are worse, and the Jaguars might be worse. Bottom 4

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