Eagles

Eagles need Dorial Green-Beckham’s production to catch up to workload

Eagles need Dorial Green-Beckham’s production to catch up to workload

Dorial Green-Beckham was on the field in Washington for 42 of the Eagles’ 52 offensive snaps on Sunday.

He had one catch for 23 yards.

Green-Beckham, who the Eagles added during training camp via a trade with the Titans, has been brought along slowly since his arrival to Philadelphia. In each week, his playing time has increased.

Now, the Eagles just need his production to catch up.

“[We are] moving him a little bit more around in formations, but still trying to keep it to one position for him,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Utilizing his strength; I think he's a tremendous slant runner. I think he can run those deeper in-routes, things like that, and utilize his height and strength in the red zone a little bit more. That's him and that's the type of player that he is. Can he be an every-down starter? I think he could eventually probably get there.”

Green-Beckham, who also had a 38-yard reception nullified by a questionable illegal block in the back in Washington, has all the qualities that could make him a special receiver. At 6-5, 237, he has size and strength to go along with his 4.49 speed.

There’s a reason the Titans took him in the second round last year. But there’s also a reason Tennessee was willing to give him up a year later for reserve tackle Dennis Kelly.

There had been knocks on Green-Beckham’s work ethic and consistency. But through a couple months in Philadelphia, those things don’t seem to be problems. In fact, Green-Beckham claims he’s been putting in extra work and asking plenty of questions in an attempt to catch up.

So when can we expect to see DGB targeted 8 to 10 times per game?

“Hopefully that day comes soon,” Green-Beckham said. “But right now, I feel like each and every day we're getting better and better. We just have to continue to do the right things, starting at practice. And then when it comes to the game, everything comes easy.”

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said there are no more limitations with Green-Beckham because of the receiver’s late arrival, but Pederson made it seem like the team is still bringing him along slowly.

Pederson on Friday said he would love to have an entire offseason with DGB, but that’s a luxury he doesn’t have right now and won’t have until next spring and summer.

For now, Green-Beckham could offer the Eagles an alternative to a group of receivers that has been a clear disappointment over the last couple of seasons.

DGB played 81 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps on Sunday against Washington and he thinks that high number is a trend that will continue.

“I feel like every time I'm running a route, I'm always giving my all, giving my 100 percent,” Green-Beckham said. “Quarterbacks see that, coaches see that, players see that. That's why I feel like my reps have increased — coaches see that. And every time I'm out there, I'm just thinking open grass.”

Through five games, Green-Beckham has 11 catches for 131 yards without a touchdown. Thanks to his strength, he also has 65 yards after the catch, which means he averages 5.9 YAC per reception, second on the team to only Darren Sproles.

DGB has clearly surpassed Josh Huff on the depth chart and has a chance to become a go-to receiver for Carson Wentz. With Wentz just getting started, the combination of the two of them could be a mainstay in Philadelphia if they can get on the same page.

And if Green-Beckham can finally live up to his potential.

“DGB is playing very well,” Reich said. “I think he looks fast; he looks strong. We see it every time he gets the ball in his hands, he's hard to tackle. He's a big man who can run fast. He's gaining more and more confidence.”

The strange, sad tale of Sidney Jones grows even stranger

The strange, sad tale of Sidney Jones grows even stranger

The strange odyssey of Sidney Jones grows even stranger.

With Orlando Scandrick released, Cre’Von LeBlanc not eligible to return from Injured Reserve until Monday and Avonte Maddox still in concussion protocol, Jones is the only logical candidate to play in the slot for the Eagles Sunday against the Bills.

Yes, the same Sidney Jones who was benched Sunday in Dallas and never got off the bench.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz met with the media on Tuesday but declined to confirm that Jones will be the Eagles' starting slot corner Sunday in Buffalo.

"We’ll see," Schwartz said. “He can play that position. Obviously, Malcolm (Jenkins) can play that position … and then sometime we’ll ... get Cre’Von and Avonte back too, so we’ve got a lot of different players who can play in that position, but Sid started last year in that position and was able to hold that position, so we have confidence that whoever we put in there will be able to accomplish that role.

To recap:

Jones began the season rotating with Rasul Douglas opposite Ronald Darby.
He started three games after Darby got hurt.
He left the Packers game early with a hamstring injury.
He missed the Jets game with the hamstring.
He had a nightmarish game in the loss to the Vikings.
He was benched Sunday for the Cowboys.

Now he’s most likely your slot. Temporarily.

Jalen Mills and Douglas started outside Sunday night in Dallas with Scandrick in the slot. But the Eagles released Scandrick on Monday.

On Sunday, Mills and Douglas or Darby will start in Buffalo. Douglas and Darby don’t play in the slot, and Jones and Craig James are the only other healthy corners on the roster.

How far has Jones fallen in the Eagles’ cornerback hierarchy?

In the Cowboys game, it was James who got a handful of snaps outside while Jones — active and in uniform — stayed on the sidelines.

"He was in a backup role," Schwartz said. “We had an injury outside just for a couple plays. Craig was backing up the outside and he was backing up the inside, so he still had a role.

So Jones, the 43rd pick in the 2017 draft, is now behind an undrafted 23-year-old street free agent who has had two stints on the practice squad this year and has already been released once this year by the Eagles.

And after playing 175 snaps of outside cornerback the first month and a half of the season and 52 snaps outside just seven days earlier, he apparently suddenly lost the ability to play outside corner because he practiced inside during the week.

Jones wasn’t in the locker room on Tuesday while it was open to the media.

Jones is only 23. His career has been marked by inconsistency, injuries and now a benching. 

Now he’s a backup at a position where the Eagles’ two best options are about to return in the next couple weeks, and he’s not even practicing at the position he began the season.

This isn’t trending in the right direction.

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More on the Eagles

This has been Eagles' most embarrassing week since Chip Kelly's final days

This has been Eagles' most embarrassing week since Chip Kelly's final days

Had an Eagles team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations merely lost 37-10 in Dallas, people would rightly be pissed.

But this wasn’t just some blowout on the football field. It was the climax to the most embarrassing week for the Eagles organization since the Chip Kelly days — a humiliation felt inside the locker room, by the coaching staff and all the way up to the front office.

At least, you hope it was the climax. To recap, in the span of nine days:

• Zach Brown talked trash on Minnesota’s quarterback.

• The Eagles got dropped 38-20 by Minnesota.

• Coach Doug Pederson proclaimed “we’re gonna win” in Dallas.

• The Eagles cut Brown.

• After a weeks-long pursuit, the Rams, not the Eagles, traded for Jalen Ramsey.

• An anonymous Eagles player talked trash on Carson Wentz.

• The Eagles got crushed in Dallas.

• Lane Johnson claimed teammates are late for practices and meetings.

• A reporter claimed the anonymous Eagles player is Alshon Jeffery.

• The Eagles were accused of leaking the information to said reporter.

Am I missing anything? You could certainly point to some individual plays that stand out — the ridiculous fake field goal, blown coverage after blown coverage and whatever Sidney Jones was doing in Minnesota; or Malcolm Jenkins getting run over and Nelson Agholor’s “effort” in Dallas.

Blowouts happen, occasionally even to good teams. They can become rallying points, as we saw last season after the Eagles got smoked 48-7 in New Orleans, then proceeded to win six of seven games en route to a playoff rematch.

Blowouts in back-to-back weeks, on the other hand, are often a sign of far deeper fractures.

In the fog of everything else happening around the Eagles, the feeling at this very specific moment in time is more akin to Kelly’s final season in 2015, right after the team got rolled 45-17 by Tampa Bay and 45-14 by Detroit in consecutive weeks.

Jason Peters was pulling himself out of games left and right. DeMarco Murray was sliding rather than fighting for extra yards — and being criticized for it by an anonymous teammate. High-priced free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell was getting beat like a drum on the reg. Riley Cooper was still on the team despite using a racial slur two years earlier. Opponents routinely said they knew the Eagles’ plays before the offense ran them. And after winning an offseason power struggle with Howie Roseman, Kelly reshaped the team in his image, trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso and Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, among other head-scratchers.

Surely, that was a more embarrassing period of Eagles football than this. And yet, you don’t have to strain your eyes too hard to find some parallels.

That season ended with Kelly’s firing prior to the finale. I seriously doubt anything so drastic will happen here. Roseman and Pederson built a lot more cache after guiding the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship two years ago.

However, if the Eagles don’t turn things around on and off the football field this season, Roseman and Pederson will be facing some uncomfortable questions. And while it’s easy to make the cases that Roseman assembled an aging roster, that he hasn’t drafted well enough through the years, that it really shows when everybody keeps getting hurt, and that Pederson and his staff haven’t developed young players or properly used the “talent” at their disposal, there is potentially a much larger issue here.

How is it the core of a football team that went 13-3 and won it all with one of the most harmonious, accountable locker rooms you’ll ever see has become so unglued, with teammates ripping their own franchise quarterback going back to last season, and looks so unprepared to play on such alarmingly regular basis?

These seem more like the hallmarks of a Chip Kelly team, but for the last week-and-a-half, the only discernible difference is the Eagles aren’t being peppered with questions about their blatant disregard for time of possession.

NFL seasons are deceptively long, so it's plausible the Eagles plug the leaks and right the ship in the 10 weeks that remain, even reach the postseason. But if they don't, somebody will need to answer for this level of dysfunction.