If you were like most Eagles fans, you found yourself screaming at the TV Sunday, “Who the hell is that guy wearing No. 41?”
Or something like that.
His name is Kevon Seymour, he hadn’t played football in over 1,000 days, he had practiced exactly three times since joining the Eagles and when the Eagles were out of cornerbacks Sunday, he saved the day.
In his first NFL action since December of 2017 - before the Eagles were Super Bowl champs - Seymour gave the Eagles 35 critical snaps in their first win in a month and a half.
“Key came in and we were actually like putting some stuff in on the sideline because it was by game situation – ‘All right, we’re going to need to do this,’ and he was sort of processing it in his own way on the sideline,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “I thought that (secondary coach) Marquand (Manuel) did a really good job of communicating with him during the game, communicating back to me what we were comfortable with in the game plan and what he was comfortable with.”
It wasn’t always perfect. Seymour gave up a couple big plays, including a 37-yard TD pass from Taysom Hill to Emmanuel Sanders.
But considering that he hadn’t played football in nearly three years, that he wasn't on a roster all year, that he didn’t join the Eagles’ practice squad until Dec. 2, that he couldn’t start practicing until a week later because of COVID rules and that he was only promoted to the 53-man roster 24 hours before kickoff, it would have been hard to ask much more.
“Key’s not a rookie, Key played a lot of football for Buffalo (in 2016) and has some experience,” Schwartz said. “Hasn’t played much in the last couple years, but he is a young veteran that did have some experience.”
Seymour played in 15 games, starting three, as a rookie with the Bills in 2016 and then was traded just before the 2017 season to the Panthers, where he played all 16 games with two starts. He played about 300 snaps on defense both years.
But he missed all of 2018 with an injury and was out of football last year.
Talk about being thrown into the fire.
The Eagles, as they generally are this time of year, were desperate for corners. Cre’Von LeBlanc and Craig James are both on Injured Reserve and Michael Jacquet and Grayland Arnold were inactive Sunday with minor injuries.
When Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox – along with Rodney McLeod – left the game with injuries, the Eagles were down seven defensive backs.
So Seymour was pressed into action, along with rookie safety K’Von Wallace and special teamer Marcus Epps.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was good enough to help the Eagles beat the 10-2 Saints.
“He’s got good size and like any corner, he gave up a touchdown pass, he didn’t let that affect him at all,” Schwartz said. “He came back and continued to battle and played physical football and I was proud of him for that. It was a great step for his career. It’s sort of been sidetracked a little bit and to get back on the field and play winning football, that’s a real tip of the cap to him. Staying ready, keeping his faith through some tough times and he was rewarded for that and we were rewarded for that.”
The Eagles do expect Jacquet and Arnold back for Arizona on Sunday, but McLeod is out for the year, Maddox is likely out for the year and Slay is in concussion protocol, and his status for Sunday is unknown.
There’s a couple ways the Eagles could go against the Cards, depending on whether Slay is back and whether Mills plays corner or safety.
They could line up Mills and Jacquet at corner with Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot and Wallace and Epps at safety. Or they could start Seymour and Jacquet at corner and Mills and either Wallace or Epps at safety.
Or they could use NRC outside in base and then move him inside in nickel.
If Slay is available, then Mills goes back to safety.
"We’re going to need all those guys to come back and play significant snaps for us," Schwartz said.
The good news is the Eagles have been through this revolving door in the secondary for three straight seasons. It’s nothing new. They’re used to playing guys picked up off the street. It’s a way of life around here.
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