Eagles

Seeing Sidney Jones this weekend will be glimpse into future

Seeing Sidney Jones this weekend will be glimpse into future

Sidney Jones was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and the second-year cornerback said he will return to action Sunday after missing three games with a hamstring injury. 

That’s good news for the Eagles as they gear up to face the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense, led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

It’ll also give the Eagles a glimpse into their future. 

Because without Ronald Darby (torn ACL) and Jalen Mills (foot), we’re very likely going to see Jones start at outside corner Sunday afternoon. In the first six games of the season, Jones was the team’s nickel corner. But, eventually, the outside is where he’s projected to play long-term. The Eagles are hoping he’ll not only become an outside corner but eventually a star in this league. That’s certainly not out of the question.

After all, the Eagles used a second-round pick on Jones last season despite his torn Achilles because they thought they were getting a first-round pick at a discount. This Sunday, they might start seeing the return on that investment. 

“It’s a big opportunity for me,” Jones said. “Obviously, that’s where I was in college. Nickel, I played there and got some experience in there. If I were to ever play inside again, I’m able to do it. Outside, I can do it. It’s just a great opportunity to be able to do both now.” 

Jones, still just 22, said there’s been a rotation inside and outside during practice this week and the Eagles are bringing him back slowly. Really, he’s just happy to be back. 

After missing most of his rookie season, Jones assumed a big role with the Eagles’ defense this season as the nickel CB. And he felt like he was starting to get into a pretty good rhythm before he suffered his “frustrating” hamstring injury after just eight plays in the Giants game. 

“It’s heartbreaking, but I’m back,” Jones said. “Looking forward to everything going forward now.”

Obviously, this week presents a tough test. Aside from Brees, Jones will have to deal with Michael Thomas, who has quickly blossomed into one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and already has 78 catches through nine games. 

But if Jones is what the Eagles hope he’ll be, he’s going to be their answer to top-flight receivers for years to come. They took a chance on drafting a kid with an Achilles tear in the second round last year because they thought the chance of his returning to form — he was in play for their first-round pick at No. 14 if he didn’t get hurt — was worth the gamble. 

“Expectations are the expectations,” Jones said. “You go out there every day, you fight. You fight to prove yourself, no matter what the expectations are. Top of the roster, bottom of the roster. You’re just expected to compete every day and go out there and fight no matter what. No matter what’s your status.” 

To this point, we have seen just flashes of Jones’ ability. I think he has a really legitimate chance to be a special player. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of that Sunday.

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Before you ask ... no, Antonio Brown isn't worth it for the Eagles

Before you ask ... no, Antonio Brown isn't worth it for the Eagles

Updated: Friday, Sept. 20, 5:55 p.m.: Antonio Brown has been released by the Patriots. What we wrote below still stands.

No. Before you ask, no. No, no, no. No, no, no.

No.

The Raiders released Antonio Brown on Saturday after quite a saga this summer in which he screwed up his feet, threw a hissy fit about his helmet, missed practices, got fined, posted about his fine on social media, threatened to hit the GM, apologized, posted a phone call with his head coach and then asked for his release, which the Raiders granted.

So before you even ask, no. The Eagles should not be interested. Not at all.

The Eagles have a strong locker room culture they care about. And they think that  locker room culture can absorb just about anything. But it can’t absorb everything.

This would be like having a standard pair of handcuffs and expecting them to hold a monster. Ain’t gonna work.

And the Eagles care about that culture so much they wouldn’t risk it to bring in someone who could completely decimate everything like he just did in Oakland even before he hot-air-ballooned his way into training camp. Before they bring in anyone, the Eagles assess the risk. They shouldn’t need to assess this one too long. It’s not worth it. Not even for a Hall of Fame-caliber player.

Besides all that, the Eagles don’t need a receiver. They are four deep with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Heck, the only way this offense is going to work this year is if all their skill players buy in and don’t let their egos get in the way. At this point, Brown is ego come to life.

Really, I’d question any team that brings in Brown right now. The upside could be great; he’s a tremendous player. But chemistry is important too. That’s how the Eagles won their Super Bowl in 2017, a bunch of guys buying in, working toward a common goal.

Antonio Brown is all about himself.

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Isaac Seumalo not happy about Week 2 performance, but still confident

Isaac Seumalo not happy about Week 2 performance, but still confident

At least Isaac Seumalo isn’t delusional. Nor is he in denial. 

The Eagles left guard, according to ProFootballFocus gave up eight pressures (six hurries, two sacks) in the loss to the Falcons on Sunday night and graded as the worst offensive lineman in the league in Week 2. It was an awful performance from a player for whom the Eagles had high hopes going into the season.  

He knows it. 

It wasn’t my best game,” Seumalo said Friday. “I take ownership of that. I didn’t play well and the Falcons played well. I wasn’t happy about it at all.

As he spoke to reporters on Friday, Seumalo said he had already moved past last week’s game, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t learn from it. The tape showed that he was oversetting and playing too high, things he said he hadn’t done all summer or in the season opener. 

Those things are correctable. 

The bigger issue to worry about is how Seumalo responds mentally. He’s physically gifted enough to play in the NFL, but confidence might have been an issue earlier in his career and Seumalo even admitted on Friday that he has a tendency to be an over-thinker. 

“As soon as we watch the film, man, I put that all behind me because you can't let it domino effect or any of that,” he said. “You just have to move on. I still have a ton of confidence in myself going into this Sunday. That's how I look at it, you know?”

Seumalo, now 25 and in Year 4, said he’s learned how to put games and plays behind him, whether they be good or bad. That’s a skill that has come to him over time. “Sometimes the mistakes linger and that kind of leads to more mistakes,” he noted. 

Despite Seumalo’s poor performance in Week 2, head coach Doug Pederson isn’t planning on benching him. Pederson said on two different occasions this week that he still trusts Seumalo. That confidence means something to Seumalo, who said he’s often his hardest critic. 

Just two years ago, Seumalo was benched after a horrendous game against Kansas City, also in Week 2. But since then, Seumalo has a larger body of work and plenty more experience. (And the Eagles don’t have a backup with the kind of experience Stefen Wisniewski had in 2017.) 

So Pederson isn’t making a switch. 

“It's not going to define Isaac,” Pederson said. “It's not going to define our season.”

The Eagles drafted Seumalo in the third round back in 2016; he was their second pick in that draft after Carson Wentz at No. 2. They tried to make him the starting left guard at the beginning of 2017, but he lasted just two games before he was replaced by Wisniewski. After four games last year, roles reversed and Seumalo replaced Wisniewski and started until he got hurt in December. Wiz filled in and played well, but Seumalo started both games in the playoffs and this offseason signed a three-year extension. 

Meanwhile, Wisniewski was cut before the season and is currently without a team. 

So Seumalo is the Eagles’ guy at left guard. At least for now. 

“I feel good about where I’m at,” Seumalo said. “I’m going to continue to feel that way. Go in on Sunday and just play with my hair on fire, play loose, have a good time.”

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