Maybe, just maybe, Eagles cornerbacks can survive without Ronald Darby

Maybe, just maybe, Eagles cornerbacks can survive without Ronald Darby

When Ronald Darby went down less than a half into his Eagles career, many fans saw their playoff hopes being carted off with him.

However, the club received surprisingly good news on Darby’s health. The diagnosis is a dislocated ankle. Although it may be erring on the conservative side, he reportedly may miss just four to six weeks. So that was the best-case scenario after the frightening scene Sunday.

And that wasn’t the only good news for the Eagles. Maybe, just maybe, they found out they can survive for a stretch without Darby. Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Jaylen Watkins all acquitted themselves well against Washington. Granted, it was only two-plus quarters, and the Redskins helped out with some drops. Still, the secondary appeared much improved from last season’s whiplashed mess.

What Mills lacks in foot speed he appears to have made up for with experience and anticipation. He’s never lacked for confidence, and now, he appears more poised to back up the finger-wagging.

Robinson was a full-fledged mess early in camp, but he looks much more comfortable in the slot than the outside. Despite him playing OK on the outside when pressed into duty for Darby, Robinson should stay inside. Rookie third-round pick Rasul Douglas should get the start outside.

The corners don’t stand alone in the receiving line of praise. Mills' interception was a direct result of the pressure the Birds' defensive line put on Kirk Cousins. The Eagles' front was relentless all afternoon, and coordinator Jim Schwartz’s blitz timing was spot on. They sacked Cousins four times and harassed him throughout the game. Not to mention, stuffing the run game.

If the Birds can continue to get that kind of consistency and disruption from their line, it could make up for a lot of sins and inexperience on the back end.

That said, this is by no means a declaration that all is well. Howie Roseman gave up a healthy sum for Darby and brought in Dexter McDougle late in the preseason. You’re not making those kinds of moves that close to the regular season unless there are issues. Douglas and McDougle were inactive last week.

And the next test will be a big step up in class.

In dropping 42 points on the champs, the Kansas City Chiefs had eight different players catch balls and piled up 537 total yards en route to a stunning road beatdown of the New England Patriots in Week 1. Rookie third-round pick Kareem Hunt amassed 246 total yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs also have perhaps the fastest player in the NFL in Tyreek Hill and a top-three tight end in Travis Kelce.

Much will be written and spoken regarding Doug Pederson and Andy Reid’s relationship, which dates back to their time in Green Bay — Pederson as a backup quarterback and Reid as the offensive line/quarterbacks coach.

Where does the advantage lie: mentor or pupil? The question will be moot if the Birds' corners revert to last year’s form.

Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

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Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are again one step closer to making it to the Hall of Fame.

Both former Eagles were named as two of 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2018 class.

Their inclusion on the list Tuesday is not a surprise at all. Both were on the list of finalists last year, but did not make the 2017 class to the dismay of Eagles fans.

The 15 finalists will be announced during January and Hall of Fame voters will cast their votes for the inductees on Super Bowl Saturday.

This is Dawkins' second year of eligibility and Owens' third. Traditionally it has been difficult for safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame, which might have hurt Dawkins. Owens has likely been hurt by his abrasive personality. Both are very worthy candidates and have a shot to be inducted this year.

Joining them on the list of semifinalists are six who made it on their first years of eligibility: DB Ronde Barber, OG Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss and DL Richard Seymour.

The original list of 108 nominees was cut down to 27 semifinalists instead of 25 because of ties.

Here is the full list of semifinalists:

S Steve Atwater
CB/S Ronde Barber
OT Tony Boselli
WR Isaac Bruce
S LeRoy Butler
Coach Don Coryell
RB Roger Craig
S Brian Dawkins
G Alan Faneca
WR Torry Holt
OG Steve Hutchinson
OT Joe Jacoby
RB Edgerrin James
Coach Jimmy Johnson
CB Ty Law
LB Ray Lewis
FS John Lynch
C/G Kevin Mawae
LB Karl Mecklenburg
WR Randy Moss
DE Leslie O'Neal
WR Terrell Owens
DE Simeon Rice
DE/DT Richard Seymour
LB Brian Urlacher
CB Everson Walls
WR Hines Ward

Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

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Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

Former Eagles cornerback Dexter McDougle has found a home with another one of the top teams in the NFC. 

McDougle on Tuesday signed with the New Orleans Saints, who, like the Eagles, are also on an eight-game winning streak. 

McDougle, 26, came to the Eagles in a trade with the Jets for safety Terrence Brooks in late August and even signed him to a one-year extension in early September. 

The former third-round pick in 2014 played more than the Eagles likely anticipated during his eight games active in Philly. 

In total, McDougle played 55 defensive snaps, and just three weeks ago played 32 of them in a pinch against the 49ers. He also played 135 special teams snaps (50 percent through the Denver game). 

McDougle was waived last week when the Eagles brought in linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. McDougle was expendable as Ronald Darby returned from his dislocated ankle. The only game McDougle was inactive was the opener, before Darby's injury. 

Without McDougle, the Eagles still have plenty of corners. They have five on the roster, including Jaylen Watkins, who is listed as a safety but has played corner this season.