Eagles

Ronald Darby’s goal is Week 1, knows he needs to stay healthy

Ronald Darby’s goal is Week 1, knows he needs to stay healthy

Ronald Darby tore his ACL on Nov. 11 against the Cowboys, so by the start of the 2019 season, he’ll be just about 10 months removed from the injury. 

His goal is to be ready to play.  

“My rehab is going great right now,” Darby said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m hitting all the marks I need to. My goal is to be back by Week 1.” 

Darby, 25, recently signed a one-year deal to stay in Philadelphia. It’s really a one-year, prove-it deal for the talented young corner, who has missed 15 regular season games over the past two seasons. 

In 2017, Darby missed eight games with a dislocated ankle but returned for the playoffs. 

In 2018, Darby missed seven regular-season games and both playoffs games after tearing his ACL. 

On Tuesday, Darby said he thinks serious injuries in back-to-back seasons affected his value on the free agent market. In 2019, he’ll not only need to play well, but he’ll — more importantly — need to prove he can stay healthy. Darby played in 15 games as a rookie and 14 games in his second NFL season, both in Buffalo before the trade to the Eagles in 2017. 

Of course it’s been real frustrating. I never got hurt like this before until I got to Philly. So this was new. Everything was new to me. But I’ve been playing football since I was 8 years old. I’ve just got to have a healthy season. … This year, I’m gonna go out there, have a healthy season, compete and play hard.

If all goes well for Darby in 2019, he’ll be in line for a major contract this time next year. He said he would “love” to be back with the Eagles, but we’ll see where both sides of the negotiating table are after the 2019 season. 

“I always wanted to be back, of course,” Darby said. “It’s hard to walk away from a place like this.”

The move to bring back Darby was slightly surprising given that the Eagles seem to have a defensive back room stocked with young, cheap talent. But after they were decimated by injuries in 2018, they will at least have the luxury of depth for this coming season. In addition to Darby, they still have Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc under contract. 

Darby said he thinks the talent in the defensive backs room should breed a lot of competition. That would be ideal. But the Eagles are paying him like a starter, so he needs to be that for them in 2019. If he does, and if he can stay healthy, he’ll earn himself some serious coin this time next year. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: Demolished in Dallas

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Eagle Eye podcast: Demolished in Dallas

On this Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro sort through the rubble of the Eagles’ 37-10 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

The Eagles suffer one of the biggest losses of the Doug Pederson era and have lost back-to-back games by a combined 45 points. 

• How awful was that loss? 
• Nelson Agholor is bad right now
• The offense is completely out of sorts
• The defense isn’t any better
• Schedule isn’t getting any easier
• At least the NBA is starting soon 

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Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Six days after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson went on WIP and said the Eagles were going to go to Dallas and “win that football game,” the Eagles suffered what Pederson agreed was one of the worst losses during his tenure as head coach. 

The Eagles were crushed by the Cowboys, 37-10, at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night in front of a national television audience. 

So late Sunday night, did Pederson regret his declaration? 

“Nope,” he said. “Do not.” 

Pederson was confident in his team. But that confidence was clearly misplaced, because his team put out a pathetic performance against their biggest rival in a game that would have moved them into first place in the division. 

Why didn’t he regret his words? 

“I just felt like I had a lot of confidence in this football team, a lot of trust, a lot of faith in the guys,” Pederson said. “Had a good week of preparation. Quite honestly, after a game like this, we all have to step back, look in the mirror, especially myself. It starts with me. This is one of those games that I take personal from that standpoint. We didn’t play well and that’s personal on me. I gotta get that fixed.” 

This was the Eagles’ worst loss at the hands of the Cowboys since a 34-0 drubbing in 1998, the year before Pederson joined the Eagles as a player. 

Pederson said he didn’t think he was overconfident heading into this week and disagreed with the notion that the Eagles were unprepared for the game. He pointed at the two early turnovers as costly mistakes, but ones that didn’t indicate unpreparedness. 

We’ve heard this now after every loss, right? The Eagles’ mistakes are correctable. They can fix them. They can still be the team we thought they were going to be. 

But seven games and a 3-4 record into the 2019 season, it’s time to wonder if that’s really the case. In back-to-back weeks to start the toughest stretch of their schedule, the Eagles have lost by 18 points and now by 27. 

So maybe it’s fair to ask, simply, is this Eagles team is talented enough? 

In fact, I asked Pederson that on Sunday night. 

He said it is. 

But why does he believe that? 

“Because you see signs of it, you see glimpses of it,” Pederson said. “Obviously, we’ve injured and we’ve got some guys that are missing, but we don’t use that as an excuse. And I do feel like we’ve got enough talent on this football team to get the job done.”

Glimpses aren’t enough. Glimpses don’t win football games. Glimpses don’t get you into the playoffs. 

And the Eagles certainly didn’t look all that talented on Sunday night. The offense couldn’t get going. The defense couldn’t stop Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott. Even their special teams unit had a couple blunders, too. 

Pederson looked weathered after the loss. But he stood there and tried to explain problems for which he clearly didn’t have answers. He tried to take blame. 

“It starts with me,” Pederson said. “So I’m going to own this one. This one will be on me.”

His biggest crime might have been believing in this team. 



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