1 year worth the wait for Sidney Jones

1 year worth the wait for Sidney Jones

The first defensive snap of Sidney Jones' NFL career came at the 3:12 mark in the first quarter Sunday. 

He lined up in press coverage. On Dez Bryant. 

"Just lock up," Jones said of his thoughts in that moment. "That's it. Play ball." 

Jones, 21, had a few times Sunday where he allowed the reality of his first NFL game to sink in. That was undoubtedly one of them. After a long and arduous recovery from a torn Achilles he suffered in the pre-draft process — an injury that dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles' lap at 43 — Jones finally got to play in an NFL game. 

The Eagles lost 6-0 in the meaningless regular-season finale (see breakdown). But Jones, who was told Saturday he would make his debut, played around 30 defensive snaps and a few more on special teams. Some were good, some were bad (see rookie report). Either way, the game had a ton of meaning for him.

"You look out there and there's Dez Bryant across the way," said safety Rodney McLeod, who got the day off. "He didn't flinch not one bit. Lined up in press vs. him in a situation that he had to and he did his job. That's all you can ask."

Jones had trouble describing his feelings heading into Sunday's game. He felt some nerves and had his "juices going" enough that the veterans who gave him advice, advised him to calm down. 

Of course, that's easier said than done, especially for a 21-year-old who just battled back from months of rehabilitation as he patiently waited to fulfill a lifelong dream. 

Sunday's game came exactly one year after his final college game with Washington, last year's Peach Bowl. 

"Definitely worth the wait," Jones said. "It's been a long journey. I worked so hard to get here. It's a blessing." 

Jones admitted he felt some rust Sunday; that was to be expected. It also wasn't surprising that he began cramping in his back and his quad. After the game, he said he felt fine but has to continue to get into game shape. 

The Eagles got a chance to see Jones practice for three weeks leading up to Saturday's decision to add him to the active roster. They could have sent him to IR and decided to wait until next season, but they didn't. Jones said he's "definitely" ready to play in the playoffs if he's asked, but he hasn't been told anything yet. 

"I don't know their plan," Jones said. "Just do what they ask me to. When my name's called, I'm prepared." 

Jones had tight coverage on a few plays Sunday but also had some tough moments (see Roob's observations). One time, he lost contain on a long run from Ezekiel Elliott. On another, he bit on a sluggo route from Terrance Williams. 

But after not playing for an entire calendar year, Jones looks pretty good. 

Sunday was a pretty big day for Jones, but it was also big for his college teammate Elijah Qualls. Qualls, who joined the Eagles four rounds after Jones, considers Jones to be like his little brother. He said he was actually more excited for Jones to play than for himself to get a rare chance to play. 

Qualls said it was hard to watch his friend go through such a tough injury. It even sucked the life out of the special moment when Jones was drafted; he was in the NFL but couldn't even get on the field. 

But after months of rehabbing and staying as involved as he could in meeting rooms and in film study, Jones finally got his chance Sunday. It was a meaningless game, but it didn't lack meaning for him. 

"I feel like today was a big day," Qualls said. "It was kind of a reward for everything he's been through."

Eagle Eye Podcast: Good start for Carson Wentz and a look at the NFC East picture

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Good start for Carson Wentz and a look at the NFC East picture

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the Eagles' victory over the Colts. The guys agree that Carson Wentz looked good in his season debut. Wendell Smallwood was a pleasant surprise.

This defense will give Carson Wentz some room for error to shake off any rust.

Derrick and Barrett take a look at the NFC East picture after week three. Also, is Patrick Mahomes the only consistent thing in the NFL right now?

1:00 - Eagles win! How did Carson Wentz look?
8:00 - The defense will give Carson Wentz time to shake off rust.
12:30 - A look at the NFC East on Sunday.
19:00 - Big upsets on Sunday.
23:30 - Patrick Mahomes is the only consistent thing in the NFL?

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How Doug Pederson got a huge call to go Eagles’ way


How Doug Pederson got a huge call to go Eagles’ way

Sometimes the squeaky wheel really does get the oil. 

It worked in Doug Pederson’s favor Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Colts, when the Eagles got a much-needed defensive holding call to extend their game-winning touchdown drive. 

Pederson revealed Monday morning on WIP that earlier in the game, he called over the referee to let him know that the Colts’ defensive line had been holding their offensive tackles. Pederson told him to just “be aware of it.” 

Then on 4th-and-5 at a crucial moment in the fourth quarter, that little chat ended up helping the Eagles in a big way. 

That’s a pretty clear hold. Jabaal Sheard holds Lane Johnson so Margus Hunt can get around the edge on a stunt. It works and Hunt forces Wentz to throw the ball early. 

Maybe if Hunt isn’t in his face, Wentz delivers a perfect pass to Jordan Matthews to get the first down. He probably does, but we’ll never know. If you think the Eagles get a first down, we’d have to assume Wentz’s non-pressured throw would be on the money and Matthews would catch it. Very possible, likely even, but not guaranteed. 

This penalty gave the Eagles the first down and they scored the go-ahead touchdown seven plays later. 

During Monday’s press conference, I asked Pederson if he’s strategic in bringing up these things to refs: 

No, it’s common practice. I get a chance to meet with officials before the game. I get a chance to meet with the head referee before pregame. Listen, it’s a tough job. And if there’s something out there that we see, they want to know about it so they can get it right. It’s not strategic, it’s not planned in any way. It’s something that we saw throughout the game and wanted to bring to their attention and it was a true hold on Lane and they got it right. It’s not a competitive advantage other than we just want to make sure that everything is officiated correctly. I’m sure Frank (Reich) had things on their sideline too that he could talk to them about. It’s fair game, so to speak. It’s just common practice throughout the league.

It might not have been strategic, but it’s a good thing Pederson pointed out those penalties that hadn’t been called earlier in the game. 

Holding calls on defensive linemen are pretty rare; it’s not something refs are probably super focused on during games. They’re looking for holding from offensive linemen and from defensive backs. So Pederson’s bringing it up to the officials likely put it on their radar. 

And it helped the Eagles when they really needed it.

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