What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

MINNEAPOLIS — After the game, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas spoke about putting the game behind them, learning from their mistakes, moving on.

But this was such a thorough collapse by the Eagles’ two third-year corners it really makes you wonder if that’s even possible.

Kirk Cousins attacked both Jones and Douglas all afternoon Sunday to the tune of 333 yards, four touchdowns and a 38-20 dismantling of the Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Eagles have now allowed 16 touchdowns passes in six games, and the only QB who didn’t throw one — Luke Falk — isn’t even in the league anymore.

We’re a confident group,” Douglas said. “We know what we can do. You’re not about to play in the league and not have a bad game. Everybody has bad games, as a team and as individuals. So we’ve got to just find out what we did wrong, fix it all up and move on, because we know the Cowboys are going to watch the film and try to do the same thing.

Douglas allowed two long touchdowns to Stefon Diggs, and Jones allowed an Adam Thielen touchdown, mis-played a short Diggs catch into a big play and was just shaky all day.

Douglas has played fairly consistent this year, but Jones has struggled both to stay healthy and to perform when he is on the field.

Sunday was a terrible day for both of them.

“We’re still putting pieces together,” Jones said. “We haven’t came to form. We know what we’re capable of and we’re still trying to do that.”

This is the first time since 1965 the Eagles have allowed five TD passes of 40 yards or more in their first six games. 

They allowed just three last year.

It’s very frustrating,” Jones said. “Obviously you try to eliminate those and make it hard for them to drive down the field, but when we give it to them easy it’s pretty frustrating.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins took the blame for the second long Diggs touchdown.

“I should have been back there.,” he said. “I just vacated the deep end of the field. We just did too many things to give them extra tries. We turned it on one point and it started to turn around, but it was too late.”

How do you put this sort of embarrassment behind you?

It’s not hard at all,” Jones said. “Watch film, go over your mistakes, what you need to do to get better and just practice. We have a game next week, we can’t think about this one. It’s over. We lost already. We’ve got to move on as a team. We’ve got the Cowboys, a divisional game and we’ve just got to move on to that.

Jones didn’t play against the Jets because of his nagging hamstring. He left the Vikings game briefly “to get right” but did finish.

He was a second-round pick, and so far we just haven’t seen it.

“I feel like I’m very close,” he said. “I just have to put the pieces together.”

Jalen Mills should be back this week, and Ronald Darby, Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox are all expected to return at some point this year.

But let’s be honest. 

It’s not enough.

The Eagles need help. Jones and Douglas are still young players and could get better.

But right now, if this team has serious playoff aspirations, their corners just aren’t good enough.

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Could Super Bowl hero Jay Ajayi be returning to the Eagles?

Could Super Bowl hero Jay Ajayi be returning to the Eagles?

Jay Ajayi, who hasn’t played football in more than a year, will be at the NovaCare Complex Friday for a workout with the Eagles, NFL Network reported Thursday.

Ajayi, who was huge for the Eagles down the stretch during the 2017 Super Bowl run, has been out of football since his rookie contract that he originally signed with the Dolphins in 2015 lapsed following last season.

He's battled injuries most of his career but he's only 26 and when healthy has been terrific. He has a 4.5 career average, 5th-best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries (behind Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry).

The Eagles acquired Ajayi from the Dolphins on Oct. 31, 2017, in exchange for a 4th-round draft pick. He ran 70 times for 408 yards and a TD with a 5.8 average in seven regular-season games in 2017, then ran 42 times for 184 yards (4.4 average) in the three playoff games, including 9-for-57 in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots.

AJayi was 45-for-184 with three TDs in four games last year before going onto season-ending Injured Reserve on Oct. 8 with the latest in a series of knee injuries.

Ajayi's 5.15 rushing average in an Eagles uniform is fifth-highest in franchise history, behind quarterbacks Michael Vick (6.7), Randall Cunningham (6.6) and Donovan McNabb (5.7) and 1940s running back Ernie Steele (5.18)

Ajayi made the Pro Bowl in 2016 for the Dolphins with 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns but has played in only 18 games since.

He hasn’t played since getting hurt against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard have been terrific, but Howard and Darren Sproles are both dealing with injuries going into the Patriots game Sunday.

Sproles missed practice Thursday with a quad injury, and Howard has been limited in both practices this week with a shoulder injury. 

Sproles missed the Vikings, Cowboys and Bills games with a quad injury. He played against the Bears -- 10 snaps on offense, 8 on special teams -- but apparently seemingly aggravated the injury at some point.

Sproles, 36, has played in only 15 of a possible 46 games over the past three years because of a series of injuries.

The Eagles already lost Super Bowl star Corey Clement, who’s on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury of his own.

Because of his oft-injured knees, Ajayi probably can't handle a huge workload these days. But in a limited role a healthy Ajayi could could definitely help the newly run-heavy Eagles.

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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

Alshon Jeffery missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury on Thursday, putting his status for Sunday’s game against the Patriots very much in question. 

It’s rare for an Eagles player to miss the first two days of practice in a week and play that weekend. 

On Wednesday, head coach Doug Pederson said Jeffery was “day to day” with the ankle injury he suffered in the Bears game before the bye week. He left that game early, but then had an extra week to rest. 

Earlier in the season, Jeffery suffered a calf injury early in the game against Atlanta. It’s possible he’s been playing through injury for most of the season, which would help to explain his drop in production. 

In eight games this season, the 29-year-old receiver has just 34 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2012. 

On Wednesday, I asked Pederson about Jeffery’s dip in production. 

“Well, I think with having Dallas [Goedert] a little more involved in the offense, the ball gets spread around a little bit more. The times we have gone to Alshon, he's made plays,” Pederson said. 

It’s worth noting that Jeffery is tied for the team lead in drops with three. He’s one of five Eagles with three drops this season. 

“His value to the offense has been very good,” Pederson continued. “The ball's going to find the open guy. Sometimes he's the primary, sometimes he's not. He might be the secondary or the third guy in the progression. He's a guy that gives of himself to the team. That's who Alshon is. He doesn't gripe or complain. He does battle through injury. He's battled through it his whole career. He's battled through it here. He's a tough kid.

“We continue to game plan. We game plan for him every week. Again, it's my job to try to dial up as many plays as I can for him.”

If Jeffery doesn't play on Sunday, look for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or Jordan Matthews to have a big role. 

The only other notable player missing at Thursday’s practice was Nigel Bradham, who will likely miss his fourth straight game this Sunday with an ankle injury of his own. 

Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Howard (shoulder) were both practicing Thursday after being listed as limited on Wednesday. 

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