Eagles

Is there hope for Sidney Jones?

Is there hope for Sidney Jones?

Who’s CB2?
 
Whenever we toss around all the scenarios, there’s one that’s so unlikely we generally just dismiss it outright.
 
What if Sidney Jones can play?
 
The Eagles currently seem to have Avonte Maddox penciled in at outside corner opposite Darius Slay, the three-time Pro Bowler they acquired in March from the Lions. That would leave Cre’Von LeBlanc and Nickell Roby-Coleman competing for the slot.
 
It’s hard not to like what Maddox brings to the defense. He’s tough, physical, smart, instinctive and active. 
 
He’s also probably best suited to the slot and only projected as an outside corner because Jones has been injured and ineffective, Rasul Douglas has been inconsistent and prone to allowing big plays, Jalen Mills is now penciled in at safety and LeBlanc is also probably best as an inside corner as well.
 
It’s not ideal. 
 
But what if Jones figures it all out in Year 4? What if it all comes together mentally and physically for the former second-round pick out of Washington.
 
It’s hard to imagine because Jones’ first three NFL seasons have been so disappointing.
 
The first year he rehabbed the Achilles, blown out before the draft at his pro day. The second year he started the first six games of the season in the slot before hamstring injuries ruined the rest of his season. And last year he was again in and out of the lineup with more hamstring injuries and eventually as a healthy scratch.
 
It’s not much of a resume.
 
But here’s the thing about Sidney.
 
We’ve seen some flashes. Enough that we can at least pose the question: Can Sidney Jones be a viable starting cornerback for the Eagles in 2020?
 
Let’s look at those first six games of 2018, before he got hurt. The Eagles only allowed eight TDs in those six games — sixth-best in the league at that point — and were fourth in the NFL allowing just 18.3 points per game. That was with Jones playing about 40 snaps per game.
 
And there were moments last year where he showed up.
 
He picked off Matt Ryan with the Eagles down 10-3 in Atlanta to set up a field goal. He batted down Dak Prescott’s 4th-down pass to Michael Gallup in the final moments of a huge over the Cowboys. He had that INT off Daniel Jones at the Eagles’ 6-yard-line at the Meadowlands on the final day a week later to seal a win and get the Eagles into the playoffs.
 
It’s not a lot to go on. And certainly the disappointing moments have outnumbered the encouraging ones by a long shot.
 
Getting benched against the Vikings. Hamstring injury after hamstring injury. Dropping below Craig James and even Orlando Scandrick at one point on the depth chart. A healthy scratch in last year’s playoff loss to the Seahawks. 
 
But here’s the thing. Jones just turned 24 last week. He’s younger than Andre Dillard, who’s only in his second season. At one point before his 2017 pro day he was seen as a mid-first-round talent.
 
We’ve seen him make a few plays that make you think, “Maybe?”
 
If he can ever get his hamstrings healthy enough to run, can he be a viable starter?
 
Heck, as CB2 he wouldn’t even have to match up with the best receivers the Eagles face. Slay would handle that, and Jones would only have to contend with the other team’s WR2.
 
This is Jones’ last chance with the Eagles. He’s going into the final year of his four-year rookie deal, and if he doesn’t figure this thing out this summer, his next opportunity will be somewhere else.
 
Sometimes last chances have a way of getting a player’s attention. Maybe something will click, he’ll find a way to get physically stronger and more durable and get his speed back to the 4.47 he ran at the combine.
 
Is any of this likely? Honestly? No. 
 
The odds are against Jones. He’s a longshot at this point. 
 
But when you’ve seen a guy make plays here and there, it’s hard not to wonder whether he can make them consistently.
 
In this strangest of NFL offseasons, maybe we all have one more giant surprise in store for us.

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Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Barrett Brooks take a long look at the Eagles’ decision to bring back Jason Peters.

They get into what the move means for Andre Dillard, whether Peters will ultimately end up back at left tackle, how long J.P. might be able to extend his career if he stays at guard, how long it will take him to adjust to a new position and and much more. 

They also looked at defensive tackle and defensive end on the All-Time Eagles Team and whether Fletcher Cox or Jerome Brown is the greatest defensive tackle in Eagles history. 



(0:42) — Jason Peters back with the Eagles to play right guard

(27:18) — Jerome vs. Fletcher 

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Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

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