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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