There are going to be a lot of moving pieces in the Eagles' secondary very soon.
Most likely this weekend.
Ronald Darby will move from a long-term injury layoff back into the starting lineup at left cornerback. Jalen Mills will move from left corner — where he's played very well in Darby's eight-game absence — back over to right cornerback. And Rasul Douglas will move from right corner to a lesser role. This from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who warned that he's still not positive Darby will be ready to return this weekend.
Darby, who the Eagles acquired from the Bills a month before opening day, hasn't played since suffering an ankle injury in the opener in Washington.
Although he's been practicing for a few weeks, Schwartz said his status for the Eagles-Cowboys game Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, won't be determined until the defensive coaches see him practice this week.
"There's really nothing set in stone right now because we don't 100 percent know if he's going to be back," Schwartz said.
"He's trending the right way, he was back on the practice field (Monday). He was back on the practice field last week doing some scout team stuff. So that will sort of develop as we go."
And when Darby does return, he'll go back to left corner, where he played in Buffalo and where he opened the season.
"Most likely, most likely," Schwartz said. "He's played the left a long time. Those guys can all play both positions. They can all play both sides. I think that's important.
"Again, this is further on down the line, but if we get in positions where we want to match a receiver, he has the ability to do that. Last week, on the practice field, he took turns at both sides, and I think that's just for overall development.
"The one thing is, if there's two wide receivers and the corners have to match, you're going over to the right side anyway, so both guys have to be able to play both positions. But that's the position we sort of settled on to start the season — the left corner, and I would anticipate when he's healthy and ready to go that he would go back into that spot."
Douglas, the third-round pick from West Virginia, is tied for second among NFL rookies with two interceptions after being inactive in the opener.
Schwartz said the 22-year-old Douglas will still have some sort of role even when Darby does return.
"We've gotten contributions from a lot of different guys this year," he said Tuesday. "I would expect that to stay the same.
"The way those DBs work, it's just a matter of time before they're out there. Everybody has a role somewhere along the line, and we'll try to keep that in place and keep a lot of people involved. We've done that by necessity and also by plan so far this year."
Patrick Robinson will remain in the slot, where he's been all year, other than the second half of the 49ers game, which he missed with a concussion.
His reps were taken that day by Dexter McDougle, who was released last week, coinciding with Darby's anticipated return.