Cre'Von LeBlanc

Eagles hoping to get one of their corners back next week

Eagles hoping to get one of their corners back next week

The Eagles have been losing cornerbacks at an alarming rate.

Next week, if all goes well, they’ll actually get one back.

Jalen Mills, who hasn’t played in almost a year because of a mystery foot injury, is eligible to come off the in-season PUP list on Monday. 

It’s tough not being out there," he said Thursday. "Not being able to at least play with my guys, it’s always hard.

Mills will meet with his doctor early in the week and if he’s cleared, he’ll practice when the Eagles’ work week begins on Wednesday. If that goes well, he could play against the Cowboys a week from Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

They need him.

For sure, I’m just going to be excited,” Mills said. “Adrenaline’s probably going to be going through the roof. Go out there and have a lot of energy and create some.

The Eagles for a second straight year have been decimated at cornerback.

They currently have four corners on the shelf, including Mills and Ronald Darby (hamstring), the Super Bowl starters, along with Cre’Von LeBlanc (knee) and Avonte Maddox (concussion, neck)

And that doesn’t even include Sidney Jones, who hasn’t played since early in the Packers game because of a hamstring injury but is expected back Sunday in Minnesota.

The Eagles beat the Jets on Sunday with three cornerbacks in uniform who weren’t on the team two weeks earlier - Craig James, Orlando Scandrick and Ryan Lewis.

They've used 12 cornerbacks in 23 games since last year began, and Rasul Douglas is the only one who has played in every game.

LeBlanc is on Injured Reserve and eligible to return after the Bills game in two weeks. Darby and Maddox are both on the 53-man roster right now but seem to be a ways away.

Mills, the Eagles’ 7th-round pick in 2016, became a full-time starter in 2017 and started the first eight games of 2018, but his foot began bothering him at some point toward the middle of the season, and he hasn’t played sine the Eagles-Jaguars game in London last Oct. 28.

Mills has declined to exactly what the injury was, but it does seem like it’s finally behind him.

It was something serious,” he said. “It’s a long (healing) injury. Just have to take your time with it. Training staff did a great job with me as far as my recovery and rehab and making sure I’m running good, I’m cutting, I’m planting the way I could before the injury.

It’s too early to get a sense of where the Eagles will put everybody once Mills does return to action.

Most likely Mills will start with limited reps, perhaps in the red zone, where he’s most effective.

However it lines up, the Eagles will certainly be stronger defensively with Mills than without him.

(The Cowboys has) always been the plan,” Mills said. “But it’s really all about the doctor and what he says. He’ll tell me what I can and can’t do, just sticking to the plan. They’ve had a great plan for me and I feel great now. Whatever he says I can and can’t do I’ll just follow.

How challenging has it been to go nearly a year without playing football?

As a true competitor, you want to be out there regardless of the situation,” he said. “Of course I want to be out there. … I’ve dealt with adversity before, not just the football aspect but just my life in general, so as far as that goes just keeping a strong mind and strong head. I’ve got great teammates and great coaches (and) they keep me into it.

Here are the Eagles’ starting cornerback combinations since last season began:

6 games – Darby / Mills
3 games – Maddox / Douglas / LeBlanc
2 games – Darby / Douglas / Maddox
2 games – Jones / Douglas / LeBlanc
2 games – Maddox / Douglas
2 games – Darby / Jones / Maddox
1 game – Darby / Mills / Dexter McDougle
1 game - Darby / Mills / Jones
1 game – Jones / Douglas / Maddox
1 game – Chandon Sullivan / Davonte Bausby
1 game – Douglas / Jones 
1 game – Douglas / Craig James

So they’ve used 12 starting combinations in 23 games since opening day last year.

Barring more injuries or setbacks, that number will increase soon. And that's good news for the Eagles' defense.

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Will DeSean Jackson practice for Eagles this week?

Will DeSean Jackson practice for Eagles this week?

Updated: 4:12 p.m.

As the Eagles kick off their practice week on Wednesday, DeSean Jackson won’t be on the field because of his abdominal injury. 

The Eagles expected Jackson’s injury to keep him out two weeks, but now that he’s missed two full games, it doesn’t seem like Jackson is on target to return against the Jets on Sunday. 

“DeSean is still rehabbing,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “He won’t do anything today. He’ll just continue to rehab today and then we’ll progress from there.”

Jackson, 32, left the Falcons game in Week 2 after just 11 offensive snaps and is now in danger of missing his third consecutive game. 

Sidney Jones

Jones (hamstring) is day-to-day, according to Pederson. Jones left the Green Bay game early and was not able to return. Jones went through walkthrough and practiced today. 

He has struggled to stay healthy in his short career. 

“The No. 1 thing is making sure he is healthy before we put him out there,” Pederson said. “I trust our medical team, I trust our doctors, I trust Sidney. You gotta listen to your body, obviously. Everyone is different.” 

Avonte Maddox

Maddox has a neck sprain and a concussion from the friendly fire hit on Thursday night. He’s still in the concussion protocol, so he won’t practice today. 

Without Jones, Maddox and Ronald Darby, who is still out for "a little while" with a hamstring injury, the Eagles are very light at cornerback for the second straight year. Their only healthy corners are Rasul Douglas, Craig James, and Orlando Scandrick. They also have a couple of corners on the practice squad. 

And Jalen Mills (PUP) and Cre’Von LeBlanc (IR) will be eligible to return in Week 7 and Week 9, respectively. 

“We’ve got some guys that hopefully in the near future we get back,” Pederson said. “We make it work.”

Center Jason Kelce missed practice today for personal reasons. 

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Eagles sign cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc to contract extension, place him on Injured Reserve

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Eagles sign cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc to contract extension, place him on Injured Reserve

Updated, 5:13 p.m.

The Eagles have signed cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc to a one-year contract extension that will keep him in Philly through the 2020 season.

He was set to become a free agent after the 2019 season. He has a base salary of $720K this year.

LeBlanc, 25, was claimed off waivers by the Eagles in November and he helped save their season. With a rash of injuries at cornerback in 2018, LeBlanc came in and took over the nickel corner spot, helping solidify the secondary as the Eagles made their playoff push.

“I don’t know where we’d be without Cre’Von,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said last January.

For now, LeBlanc is getting over a foot injury he suffered early in training camp. The team placed him on Injured Reserve on Monday, meaning he'll miss at least the first eight games of this year. If he does return this season, he’d be the team’s backup nickel corner.

This summer, LeBlanc wasn’t given a chance to be the first-team nickel corner. Avonte Maddox will have that role, while Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas will man the outside spots. But having a depth player like LeBlanc is important, especially after seeing how quickly injuries can pile up and how it can nearly wreck a season.

After getting claimed off waivers from the Lions last year, LeBlanc played eight games (four starts) with the Eagles in the regular season and played both playoff games. He had a big interception early in the divisional round against the Saints. It was his first interception of any kind since 2016, when he was still with the Bears.

With Darby and Jalen Mills (PUP) scheduled to be free agents after this season, keeping around LeBlanc makes a lot of sense.

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