Eagles

It’s time to really see if Eagles' Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox can play

It’s time to really see if Eagles' Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox can play

APPLETON, Wis. — No more rotation. No more excuses. 

When the Eagles line up against the Packers on Thursday night at Lambeau, they will be starting the same young trio of cornerbacks we watched all summer at training camp. 

Ronald Darby (hamstring) is expected to be out “for a little while” and Jalen Mills is still a few weeks from a possible return off the PUP. That means Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox are up … full-time. 

“We’re all on the same page,” Douglas said, “we all see things the same way.”

Because Mills has been on the PUP and because Darby was slow getting back from his torn ACL from last year, Douglas, Jones and Maddox were the three starters for the entire spring and most of the summer. And, for the most part, they performed really well. In fact, they performed well enough this summer to prompt me to wonder if they wouldn’t be the best combo possible. Seeing Darby play the first three games didn’t change that thought. 

During the first three games of the season, Jim Schwartz has been using a rotation at his cornerback spots. While Maddox has held down the nickel job, the other three have rotated outside. While Darby is still just 25, he’s the most experienced of the group. 

Now, the younger three will have to take the reins and they’ll have to start against a Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers tonight. 

“Those guys have built up a lot of good snaps and have been there for us and have played consistent ball for us and have made some plays,” Schwartz said. “But what they've done in the past isn't going to make any difference now.” 

Now in his third year, this expanded role is nothing new for Douglas. In each of his first two seasons, he has been thrust into a starting job after Darby suffered an injury. In 2017, Darby dislocated his ankle, so Douglas started five games until Darby could return. And last year, he took over the starting job for good (nine starts including playoffs) after Darby tore his ACL.  

Douglas is just 24. 

Jones and Maddox are both just 23. 

While there are plenty of valid questions about this secondary, over the next few weeks we might get a chance to see how these guys might fit into the long-term plan at the position. 

The Eagles might actually be able to find some stability from knowing who their three starters are going into a game. The rotation seemed disjointed and Darby had been struggling. 

I asked Malcolm Jenkins if they could use their recall of this starting group from training camp and he said they didn’t need to. 

“Our defense is not about to change,” Jenkins said. “I don’t care if you went out there and played corner.” 

That probably wouldn’t end well. Luckily for the Eagles, I’ll be in the press box tonight at Lambeau. 

We’ll see how those young corners do.

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Donnel Pumphrey, Freddie Martino and more: Every former Eagles player on XFL rosters

Donnel Pumphrey, Freddie Martino and more: Every former Eagles player on XFL rosters

The XFL season kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 8 when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Dragons at 2 p.m. on ABC. 

You can watch that game and root on Donnel Pumphrey! 

But he’s just one of many former Eagles in the eight-team startup league. 

After scouring all eight rosters, I counted 25 former Eagles. That means the league is 6 percent former Eagles. 

Here’s a look at every former Eagles player on each team: 

Dallas Renegades 

WR Freddie Martino
CB Josh Hawkins
LB Asantay Brown
DE Winston Craig 

The most notable name on this list is Hawkins, who played late in the season for the Eagles in 2018. He was thrown into a really tough spot against the Saints in the divisional round playoff game and didn’t hold up very well. He came back for training camp in 2019 but was released at final cuts. Martino, Brown and Craig were camp bodies and never played for the Eagles. But Martino was a fan favorite in camp in 2015 and ended up playing for the Bucs for a few years. From 2016-18 in Tampa Bay, Martino had 13 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown. 

DC Defenders 

WR DeAndre Thompkins 
RB Donnel Pumphrey 
C Jon Toth 
OL Malcolm Bunche 
DT Elijah Qualls

The Defenders actually boast two former Eagles draft picks from the 2017. Pumphrey was a fourth-round pick and Qualls was a sixth-round pick. Neither ever played a game for the Eagles. Pumprhey was the most prolific running back in NCAA history but at 5-9, 176 pounds, the Eagles tried to change his entire game and he never worked out. As recently as last offseason, Pump was in camp with the Eagles. Thompkins, a receiver from Penn State, was in camp before last season. Bunche, who is from Newark, Delaware, went undrafted out of UCLA in 2015. He was cut by the Eagles but spent the entire 2015 season on the practice squad. 

Houston Roughnecks

S Trae Elston 
CB Ajene Harris 
RB De’Angelo Henderson
OL Toby Weathersby
DL Gabe Wright 

Henderson was with the Eagles on their practice squad for most of the 2019 season but the Birds brought in Elijah Holyfield at the end of the season instead of promoting him. After the season ended, Henderson didn’t sign a futures deal with the Eagles and instead is heading to the XFL. Harris, a corner from USC, was also with the Eagles on their practice squad for some of this past season. You probably don’t even remember him, but Elston played in one game for the Eagles in 2017; he got seven special teams snaps in the Week 3 win over the Giants. 

Los Angeles Wildcats

S Jerome Couplin III 
LB Quentin Gause 

In 2014-15, Couplin played in nine games with the Eagles and had a total of five combined tackles. The William & Mary product went undrafted in 2014 and was with the Lions and Bills before coming to Philly. Gause was with the Eagles in the summer of 2016 and ended up playing in three games that season for the Broncos. 

New York Guardians

QB Luis Perez
QB Matt McGloin
LB Ryan Mueller 

Perez came from the AAF and spent just a month with the Eagles. McGloin, the former Penn State quarterback, lasted the 2017 offseason with the Eagles. But he did play in 13 games (7 starts) for the Raiders from 2013-16. Mueller was a big-time defensive end at Kansas State but when he got to Philly in 2016, he was a fullback that offseason. That was the last time the Eagles toyed with the idea of a full-time fullback. 

St. Louis BattleHawks 

WR Carlton Agudosi 
DB Harold Jones-Quartey 
RB Matt Jones

Agudosi (6-6, 220) made some spectacular catches with the Eagles in the summer before the 2019 season but didn’t stick. And you’ll remember Matt Jones. He was with the Eagles briefly in 2018 but didn’t make the team. With the Redskins, the former third-round pick rushed for 950 yards in 2015-16. 

Seattle Dragons

S Godwin Igwebuike 

A year after Igwebuike played six games for the Niners and Bucs as an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern in 2018, he was with the Eagles in the summer of 2019. 

Tampa Bay Vipers 

QB Aaron Murray
WR Seantavius Jones 

Murray was with the Eagles in the 2016 season on the practice squad after he had been with the Chiefs under Doug Pederson in 2014-15. But the former fifth-round pick from Georgia went to the Rams in 2017. Jones was with the Eagles for a little over a month in the offseason of 2016 and never practiced in Philly. Still, he remains the best Seantavius in Eagles history. 

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Similarity Travis Kelce sees between Eagles' Super Bowl LII team and Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV team

Similarity Travis Kelce sees between Eagles' Super Bowl LII team and Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV team

Travis Kelce is about to play in his first Super Bowl but it’s not the first time he’s been around the biggest game in the sport. 

The Chiefs' tight end, and brother of Jason, was around the Eagles’ run to Super Bowl at the tail end of the 2017 season so he has an idea about what the week is like and what it takes to win it all. 

And Kelce, speaking to reporters in Miami, said he sees one big similarity between the Eagles in Super Bowl LII and his Chiefs that will play in Super Bowl LIV: 

I was out there in Minnesota. It was a very unique situation because I got to see it almost second hand and really kind of in the background of the Eagles, asking my brother everything that was going on that week. 

“It was unique how tight of a team they were, how their chemistry ... they just felt like a brotherhood, even from the outside. You could just tell how tight-knit that group was. With that being said, I think this team has the exact same feeling going into it. How much we appreciate each other and have fun on the field with each other and make sure we’re doing the right things so we’re accountable for each other.

There was definitely something special about that Eagles team that played in Super Bowl LII. It’s probably a bit much to call it a team of destiny, but that team had a special feel to it. And a big part of it is because of how close they were. 

In some sense, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see an Andy Reid-led team have a similar feel. The atmosphere around the 2017 Eagles was created in part by Doug Pederson and his coaching staff. Pederson wanted his guys to have fun, he wanted them to be themselves. And, of course, Pederson is a protégé of Reid. Both men are known as players coaches. 

As of early this week, Travis Kelce said he hadn’t yet asked his older brother about tips for Super Bowl week or playing in the big game. Jason was at the Pro Bowl with his family and baby daughter, so Travis wanted to give him a chance to enjoy himself. 

But Travis said he does plan on chatting with Jason soon. He wants to ask for tips about some things he might not know about playing in the big game, anything that will give him an advantage on Sunday evening. 

For now, how tight-knit the Chiefs are certainly won’t hurt. 

“Everyone is just enjoying their time, being themselves,” Kelce said. “I love this team more than any other team I’ve ever been on, man, because it’s that much more fun.”

Sound familiar? 

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