Detroit Lions

New Eagles CB Darius Slay answers his critics: ‘They don’t watch film’

New Eagles CB Darius Slay answers his critics: ‘They don’t watch film’

It’s out there that Darius Slay had a down year in 2019.

He's heard it.

And he wants Eagles fans to know he disagrees.

Vehemently.

What does Slay say to people who say he had a disappointing season last year? “I say they don’t watch film.”

The Eagles acquired Slay Thursday morning from the Lions in exchange for third- and fifth-round picks and promptly signed him to a three-year, $50 million contract extension that runs through 2023 and makes him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history once that extension kicks in.

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark caught up with Slay by telephone Thursday and asked him about those whispers that his play wasn’t up to par in 2019 or that he’s not the player he once was.

You can read Clark’s full Q&A with Slay here:

I had a very, very solid year,” said Slay, who made his third straight Pro Bowl in 2019. “This past year I probably went six or seven games without being thrown at but one time, and that’s with me following their best guy. So I’ve got a lot of respect, man. I’m not making Pro Bowls just to make them. Shoot, we weren’t even consistently winning in Detroit, so for me to make the Pro Bowl on a team that wasn’t consistently winning, it says a lot. It shows you’ve got a lot of respect. Not to diss Detroit or nothing, but you look at it like, a guy making Pro Bowl from Detroit he’s got to be doing something (right) at the time.

Slay has 19 interceptions since he became a full-time starter in 2014, third-most in the NFL behind corners Marcus Peters and Stephon Gilmore and safety Reggie Nelson. His 13 INTs since 2017 are second-most in the league, behind only Kevin Byard.

No Eagle cornerback has more than six INTs since 2014.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who was the Lions’ head coach when they drafted Slay in 2013, has never schemed up a cornerback with the opposing team’s top receiver while with the Eagles, electing instead to assign each corner a side of the field.

But with a talent like Slay, he now has the luxury of just lining him up across the field from Amari Cooper, Robert Woods, Odell Beckham Jr. or Michael Thomas, all of whom are scheduled to face the Eagles in 2020.

“I love it, just because the fact that I just love to compete and I like the pressure on my shoulders,” Slay said. “I just like to go to the guys and say, man, whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it. That’s how I end up following the best guy all the time, because they feel like I’m the best cover guy so I’ll go cover the best guy, and I just look forward to that job every week and I just go out there and try to do my best for my teammates.”

Slay is the Eagles’ first elite cornerback since Asante Samuel made his last Pro Bowl in 2010, a full decade ago.

Since then they’ve used 26 different starting cornerbacks, and none of them has started more than 34 games.

Clark asked the 29-year-old Slay what he brings to the table as a player.

I bring a lot of versatility,” he said. “I can play outside, I can play slot, I can follow a guy — anywhere he goes I can go. If he lines up at running back I can play linebacker. With me, I was blessed with great ball skills and I’m a pretty fast guy and just have a knack for the ball, man. A knack for the ball. I like to cause turnovers. I love to give offenses great opportunities to put more points on the board, that’s why I try to create more plays on the defensive side.

He’s exactly what the Eagles need, what they’ve needed for a very long time. 

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Eagles lose defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to Detroit Lions

Eagles lose defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to Detroit Lions

Matt Patricia has hired Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin as the Lions’ new defensive coordinator, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Patricia and Undlin were entry-level assistant coaches on Bill Belichick’s staff in 2004 and have remained close.

Undlin replaces Paul Pasqualoni, who informed the Lions earlier this month that he was leaving coaching. Pasqualoni was head coach when Donovan McNabb was at Syracuse. McNabb, of course, quarterbacked the Eagles when they faced Undlin, Patricia and the 2004 Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Chip Kelly hired Undlin as the Eagles’ defensive backs coach after the 2014 season to replace John Lovett, who had been with the team for two years, and Doug Pederson kept him in the same role when he replaced Kelly after the 2015 season.

The Eagles have allowed the 10th-most passing yards in the NFL during Undlin’s four years under Jim Schwartz, but opponents have thrown the third-most passes. Opposing quarterbacks had an 87.4 passer rating against the Eagles during that span, 12th-lowest in the league, and completed 62.1 percent of their passes, 8th-worst in the league.

During that four-year period, the Eagles allowed 44 pass plays of 40 yards or more, 5th-most in the league, and 18 TD passes of 40 yards or more, 4th-most in the league.

But the collection of cornerbacks Undlin has had to work with hasn’t exactly been inspiring, and he deserves a ton of credit for holding things together over the last three years with a constantly rotating and changing lineup.

Some 15 different cornerbacks started at least one game for the Eagles over the last four years, and 19 played meaningful snaps in the regular season.

In 2017, the Eagles won the Super Bowl with Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby starting at cornerback and Patrick Robinson in the slot. 

What is Undlin’s role in the slow or non-existent development of 2nd-round draft pick Sidney Jones and 3rd-round pick Rasul Douglas? It’s impossible to say now, but generally speaking, it appears Undlin has gotten the most out of a collection of late-round picks, street free agents, undrafted players and other teams’ castoffs at cornerback.

Malcolm Jenkins, who hadn’t made a Pro Bowl in his first six seasons in the NFL, made three in five years playing under Undlin.

Dino Vasso is currently the Eagles’ assistant secondary coach and could be a candidate for the opening.

Vasso, who began his coaching career as an intern at Temple in 2011, spent three years as an entry-level assistant under Andy Reid with the Chiefs and followed Pederson to the Eagles after the 2015 season.

Also on Pederson's staff is former Eagle Tim Hauck, who has been safeties coach since 2016. Hauck played 13 seasons in the NFL and was with the Eagles from 1999 through 2001 before finishing his career with the 49ers in 2002.

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NFL Week 11 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 11 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 11 of the NFL season.

Cowboys at Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX)

Dallas got knocked off its high horse Sunday night by Minnesota. Now the 'Boys try to get back on the winning saddle at Detroit. Dallas has been its own worst enemy at times and has allowed the opposition to capitalize.

Meanwhile, the Lions are at the bottom of the NFC North and riding a two-game losing streak. QB Matthew Stafford is dealing with back and hip issues and may miss a second straight game. His backup Jeff Driskel is OK but if Stafford can't go, the Lions are in even bigger trouble. Dallas will take down Detroit.

Saints at Buccaneers (Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX)

Every dog has its day, and the Falcons chomped down hard on the Saints this past Sunday. New Orleans could do nothing right and Drew Brees was sacked six times.

Tampa Bay has been hard to figure out — one moment looking like a contender but more times than not diminishing itself to the role of pretender. Jameis Winston, when he’s on, can light it up but somehow ends up finding a way of costing his team a chance to win. The last thing the Bucs need right now is to face a ticked-off Sean Payton squad. Saints will make it a season sweep.

Texans at Ravens (Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS)

They are young, athletic and dynamic. Houston QB Deshaun Watson has completed 70 percent of his passes, while the Ravens' Lamar Jackson has completed almost 66 percent of his tosses — and has been talked about as a legitimate MVP candidate. The Texans are well-rested coming off a bye. The Ravens are rolling with a league-best five-game winning streak.

Houston claimed former Tampa Bay CB Vernon Hargreaves off waivers to help with its secondary woes. After watching its run game plow through the Patriots' defense, Baltimore feels it can beat anybody. Houston will be the Ravens' sixth consecutive victim.

Bears at Rams (Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC)

To think just a season ago the Bears won the NFC North and the Rams were playing in Super Bowl 53. Now they are both in third place in their divisions and in serious jeopardy of not making the postseason. 

The Rams have injuries all over the place and it's affecting their overall continuity. The Bears' offense finally came out of hibernation Sunday. Both teams are in desperation mode. Because the Rams are at home for this one, I’ll give them the hometown edge.

Chiefs at Chargers (Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN)

K.C. is struggling and its defense is a big part of the problem, especially the run D that’s allowing 148.1 yards per game. The Chiefs have lost two of their last three and four of their last six. Not even Patrick Mahomes, who returned after missing two games because of a dislocated knee cap, could turn around their fortunes this past Sunday.

As for the Chargers, who had put together impressive back-to-back wins over the Bears and Packers, they flopped against the Raiders. Mahomes and Philip Rivers on the same field means the passes will be flying. The Chargers, currently two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West, will slide one game further in the standings.

(Bye: Packers, Titans, Giants, Seahawks)

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