Eagles

Jim Schwartz explains Eagles' rotation at cornerback

Jim Schwartz explains Eagles' rotation at cornerback

Jim Schwartz would prefer to solidify starters at the cornerback positions, but the Eagles aren’t there yet. 

It doesn’t seem like they’ll be there for a while. 

Last week, head coach Doug Pederson intimated that Sidney Jones would start opposite Ronald Darby, but on Sunday, Rasul Douglas had the job with Avonte Maddox in the slot. Darby is obviously coming back from an ACL injury that ended his 2018 season early, so some sort of rotation was expected. 

But their rotation was only more convoluted when Maddox and then Darby began to cramp up during the game. That forced Jones into the nickel corner spot and threw the the plan out of whack.  

Until these jobs are solidified, expect some sort of rotation going forward. 

“I think that, yeah, we would like to get it settled, but we have a lot of guys that can go out there and contribute,” Schwartz said. “I think we probably would prefer to have different packages for different matchups and for different things like that. 

“When you do have guys that haven't played in the pre-season, guys come back from injuries and things like that, I think it's just sort of a fact of life. You get long drives, you get different things. We're prepared to play it anyway, but I think that, when it's all said, when it gets settled down, we'll be in a good spot because we have a lot of guys that have experience.”

This is how snap counts shook out for the corners in Week 1 against the Redskins: 

Avonte Maddox: 61
Rasul Douglas: 56
Ronald Darby: 48
Sidney Jones: 34 

The group, as a whole, didn’t have a good performance against Washington. Case Keenum threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the first such game against the Eagles (380/3/0) since Philip Rivers in 2013 and just the sixth such game against the Eagles all-time. 

Schwartz even brought up the secondary on his own when asked about pass rush not getting to the QB, saying, “I think in coverage we can make the quarterback hold the ball a little longer and buy time for our guys to get home.”

The good news for the Eagles is that after Keenum threw for 257 yards in the first half, he went for just 123 in the second. In the third quarter into the fourth, as the Eagles scored touchdowns on three straight drives, the Redskins were forced to punt on three straight drives. 

On their two drives in the third and their drive early in the fourth, Washington had five net yards. 

While some combination of Darby, Douglas and Jones are expected to rotate in coming weeks, Jalen Mills (foot) is still on the PUP. He has to stay there for six week, but a return could be coming later in the year. Same for Cre’Von LeBlanc (foot), who has to sit out the first eight weeks after being placed on IR. For now, though, the Eagles are going game by game and their rotation is fluid. 

“It’s not ideal long-term,” Schwartz admitted, “but right now, we'll do that until we settle in at the position and then see where that takes us.”

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Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

8:41 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! The Eagles have an unusual 4:25 p.m. start today, so we have a little bit of waiting on our hands. 

The big news as you woke up this morning was that Jordan Howard (shoulder) will reportedly be out for this game. He has a stinger and hasn't yet been cleared for contact. That means Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and recently signed Jay Ajayi will have to carry the load.

As you wait for kickoff today, here are five matchups to watch in Eagles-Patriots.

At least we have Cowboys-Lions to watch at 1 p.m. 

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Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Eagles leading rusher Jordan Howard is not expected to play Sunday as he deals with a shoulder injury, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles have officially listed Howard as questionable for the team's Super Bowl rematch Sunday afternoon against the Patriots at the Linc.

Howard suffered a stinger in the Eagles’ win on Nov. 3 against the Bears, his former team.

That means Jay Ajayi, who the Eagles re-signed on Friday, should be active for the first time in over a year and will likely have a role.

Howard, in his first year with the Eagles, has 525 rushing yards, a 4.4 average and seven touchdowns, including one receiving. 

Since Week 4, Howard has been the 13th-leading rusher in the NFL, averaging 71 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Howard was limited in practice during the week and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday he had not been cleared for contact, which left him with a remote chance to be active on Sunday.

Howard has never missed a game because of injury. He didn’t play in the Bears' 2016 opener against the Texans — opening day of his rookie year — but he did dress for the game and was active, he just didn’t get onto the field.

Since then, he’s played in 57 of a possible 57 games.

Howard has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL since 2016 behind only Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.

The Eagles are already down two running backs. Super Bowl hero Corey Clement is on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury and Darren Sproles joined him on Injured Reserve this week with a season-ending quad injury.

The Eagles will go into Sunday with Miles Sanders, Ajayi and Boston Scott. They also have a rookie, De’Angelo Henderson, on the practice squad.

Sanders, after a slow start, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 76 for 336 and has 22 catches for 305 yards.

Ajayi, acquired by the Eagles from the Dolphins midway through the 2017 Super Bowl season, hasn’t played since injuring his knee in a game against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Ajayi has battled knee injuries most of his career but his 4.5 career average is fifth best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries.

Scott has 16 carries for 68 yards, a 4.3 average in limited duty.

The Eagles have averaged 141 rushing yards in their last six games. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over their last six games.

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