He hadn’t played defense since October.
Not a snap.
When he had to? With the game on the line? On a pivotal third down?
Sidney Jones was ready.
“He's had a great attitude and he's worked hard on the practice field,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “And he's worked on different parts of his game. He's worked fundamentally on his game. So when you do that? There's an old adage in the NFL: ‘Stay ready so you don't have to get ready.’ Well, Sid stayed ready.”
After the Eagles beat the Giants Monday night, Jones spoke about his first defensive snap in six weeks.
On Thursday, Schwartz talked about what he’s seen behind the scenes from Jones since he got benched after the Bills game.
“That was an important part of the game,” Schwartz said. “Third-and-3 is a tough down defensively, and then coming in cold the way he did. But it didn't surprise me at all. It didn't surprise us at all because Sid has worked really, really hard in this last month or so.”
The Eagles had just tied the game at 17-all, but the Giants had a 3rd-and-3 on their own 32-yard-line with a minute and a half left in the fourth quarter. Jalen Mills was already out with an elbow injury, and his replacement, Rasul Douglas, had just gotten hurt on second down.
So with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter, out comes Jones.
He lined up on the defensive right side opposite Darius Slayton, who had two long touchdowns in the first half. Like any smart quarterback, Eli Manning went after Jones. But Jones played Slayton very aggressively and got a hand in to break up the quick slant.
It was his only snap. But it was huge.
“His role has decreased, but that hasn't affected his work ethic, that hasn’t affected his preparation or his attitude,” Schwartz said. “All those things have been good, and that's going to serve him well as he goes forward and as we go forward, because we talk about it all the time. We say a lot of times the night before a game, somebody's going to be called upon to make a play in this game and they might only play one play in the game. Well, sure enough, it was true. That was a big play. I don't know if we win that game if he doesn't make that PBU, because it was a tie game at that point in the fourth quarter, had a couple of injuries. He went out cold, they came right at him and he was up for the challenge.”