Eagles

Ronald Darby picking up the pieces after getting torched by Falcons

Ronald Darby picking up the pieces after getting torched by Falcons

ATLANTA — Maybe he came back too soon.

It’s been less than 10 months since Ronald Darby tore his ACL against the Cowboys last November, and on Sunday night he looked more like a guy who was still rehabbing than a guy who was healthy.

And the Falcons didn’t hesitate to take advantage.

Matt Ryan went right after Darby, and it wasn’t pretty. Darby spent much of Sunday night chasing after Calvin Ridley, who finished with five catches for 106 yards and a 34-yard touchdown that was on Darby. Julio Jones got him a couple times, too.

Darby could always run. He won a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash at the 2011 World Junior Track Championships in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France. That speed gave him the ability to make up for a lot of plays. When he was healthy.

He doesn't have that right now. And Ronald Darby without his wheels doesn't do the Eagles any good.

The Falcons knew from watching film that Darby isn't itself, and they made the Eagles pay.

“There is no excuses, I just made a few mistakes,” Darby said after the Eagles' 24-20 loss. “Come back better next week (and) make some plays. At the end of the day this game is in the past, I made some plays that hurt us but I will come back stronger.”

It’s kind of shocking to see that despite Darby’s struggles, he played dramatically more snaps in the Eagles’ 24-20 loss to the Falcons Sunday night than Sidney Jones (39) or Rasul Douglas (32).

But the Eagles are paying Darby $6 ½ million, Jones $1.02 million and Douglas $670,000.

So Darby plays and the two promising young corners rotate.

Darby did have one of the Eagles' three interceptions off Matt Ryan and a 13-yard return to set up Carson Wentz's third-quarter TD pass to Nelson Agholor.

So there's that.

But overall, he didn't look right.

“I’m good,” he said. “There are no excuses. If I didn’t think I was good enough I wouldn’t be out there. Just going to have to keep working, keep getting it right and come back stronger next week.”

I asked Darby if a healthy Ronald Darby makes some of the plays he didn’t make Sunday night.

“I understand,” he said. “It’s early. That’s in the past move on to next week.”

But the best option next week might be Jones and Douglas, two much less experienced but much healthier alternatives.

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Some thoughts on the latest anonymously sourced report about Eagles’ offense

Some thoughts on the latest anonymously sourced report about Eagles’ offense

A day after ESPN’s Josina Anderson quoted an anonymous Eagles player upset the team didn’t land cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Anderson is now reporting on some frustration brewing about the offense. 

Here’s what Anderson said on NFL Live on Thursday afternoon: 

“With the team being 3-3, obviously, an Eagles source also talked to me about how they feel like that offense is functioning. One of the things that they said is, ‘We need to make bleep simpler. Sometimes we just need to handle what is manageable.’ They said, ‘Even Peyton Manning knew when to check it down.’ Carson Wentz right now is 38 percent on passes that travel 15 air yards, has three interceptions on passes like that, which is tied for most in the league. He also has 148 passes on those that are 10 yards or fewer. Right now, he has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions on passes like that. So I do think it is an apt point.” 

While the specific criticism doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I suppose it is newsworthy that there’s criticism of Carson Wentz and maybe (?) Doug Pederson at all. 

But the whole thing seems a little strange. Here are some thoughts on the report, its contents and what it means:

1. The actual criticism doesn’t make much sense to me. Who has watched this team over the past month and thought, ‘Hey, they really ought to check down more!’? The biggest problem with this offense since DeSean Jackson has been missing is the lack of a downfield passing game. And this source wants Wentz to check down more? It doesn’t add up. The stats are also kind of weird. Of course more interceptions happen on passes with lower probability rates. 

2. And … “Even Peyton Manning knew when to check down.” Even the most cerebral quarterback in NFL history knew what to do? Is that what we’re saying here? I guess maybe this means that even the best quarterbacks don’t take deep shots all the time, but Wentz really hasn’t done that this year. In fact, he’s 10th in the league in air yards per attempt. 

3. While the exact criticism seems strange, it is still probably noteworthy that there’s any criticism or frustration at all, and that someone felt strongly enough to leak those thoughts to a reporter. It’s not the first time we’ve seen anonymous source(s) speak critically of Wentz and/or the offense. 

4. And this isn’t the first time Anderson has reported on frustration within the Eagles locker room. Last year, there was a report that one player thought Wentz was “over-targeting Zach Ertz.” 

It would be speculation to assume this is the same player, but it seems like Anderson has become a sounding board of sorts for frustrations about the offense. 

5. Source-guessing isn’t worth it. I’m sure everyone has their hunches on who said what and I’m sure the Eagles and Wentz would like to know, but it’s a pointless exercise. 

6. The only thing more pointless than source-guessing is going back to the Wentz vs. Foles debate. Nick Foles is gone. The Eagles are Wentz’s team. 

7. If this is supposed to be a criticism of Wentz, I don’t really understand it. Could he play better? Sure. But he’s so far down on the list of Eagles’ problems this season. He hasn’t been the one dropping passes or fumbling the ball or getting burnt by deep passes. In fact, he’s played pretty well, considering all that. I also give him credit for how well he’s handled these anonymous criticisms in the past. He’ll probably handle this one the same way.

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Eagles Injury Update: Nigel Bradham misses practice again ahead of Cowboys game

Eagles Injury Update: Nigel Bradham misses practice again ahead of Cowboys game

Nigel Bradham on Thursday missed his second straight practice because of an ankle injury, which is not a good sign for his possible availability Sunday night in Dallas. 

Bradham injured his ankle in the loss to Minnesota. On Wednesday, he limped through the locker room with his left ankle wrapped. 

If Bradham doesn’t play this weekend and without Zach Brown, who was cut on Monday, the Eagles’ top linebackers are likely to be Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry and undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards. The Eagles also have Duke Riley and recently called up Alex Singleton. 

DeSean Jackson (abdomen) wasn’t practicing either. It’s looking like a long shot that he’ll be able to play against Dallas. 

Here's the official injury report: 

Cox (illness) returned after missing Wednesday. He’ll be good to go this weekend. 

Darby (hamstring) was a limited participant to start the week, but he was able to practice again on Thursday, again as a limited participant. 

Mills (foot) is not active yet, but there’s an open roster spot waiting for him if he’s able to return this week. Since he’s not on the 53-man roster, he’s not required to be on the injury report. It’s a good sign that he was practicing again today. 



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