De'Vante Bausby

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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Eagles activate Mike Wallace off injured reserve, release two cornerbacks

ap_wallace.jpg
AP Images

Eagles activate Mike Wallace off injured reserve, release two cornerbacks

Mike Wallace, the three-time 1,000-yard receiver who was one of the Eagles’ more notable offseason acquisitions, was activated off injured reserve Monday afternoon.

Wallace had been on IR since Week 2, when he broke his ankle in the Eagles’ loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa.

Wallace told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro three weeks ago that he felt like he was close to being able to return.

Wallace was a Pro Bowler with the Steelers back in 2011 and was still a 1,000-yard receiver as recently as 2016 with the Ravens. But he never got untracked in the two games he played this year, failing to catch a pass against the Falcons despite 66 snaps and then getting hurt after just seven snaps in Tampa.

The Eagles also made these moves:

• Promoted cornerback Josh Hawkins from the practice squad to the 53-man roster

• Released cornerback Chandon Sullivan

• Released cornerback De’Vante Bausby

Wallace becomes the sixth wide receiver on the active roster, joining Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Golden Tate and Shelton Gibson.

Head coach Doug Pederson said earlier Monday that he expected Wallace to return to practice Wednesday, but he could have practiced without being activated. It will be interesting to see if he plays Sunday in Washington.

“I will tell that you Mike will entertain some more individual reps, Wednesday, Thursday, and see where he's at moving forward,” Pederson said.

Wallace, 32, has 538 career receptions for 8,072 yards and 57 touchdowns with the Steelers, Dolphins, Vikings and Ravens. His 15.0 career average is among the top 20 among active players in the NFL.

Hawkins
Hawkins just signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Dec. 11. He began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Packers in 2016, when he played in 11 games, mainly on special teams.

He played a lot on defense in 2017, getting 403 reps, including three starts. He played in five games with the Panthers this year, almost exclusively on special teams.

Hawkins, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, played collegiately at East Carolina. He becomes the 10th cornerback to spend time on the Eagles’ roster this year.

Sullivan
Began the season on the Eagles’ practice squad and was activated to the 53-man roster before the Jacksonville game in London. He played in five games, with 87 reps on defense and 53 on special teams. He started in the second Giants game and got 42 snaps.
 
Bausby
Began the season with the Bears, spent a week on the practice squad, then played in the last six games, with 146 snaps on defense and 43 on special teams. Most of his snaps came in the first Giants game (60) and the second Dallas game (61).

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Hamstrung in secondary, Eagles give up staggering numbers to Cowboys

Hamstrung in secondary, Eagles give up staggering numbers to Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas — By the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 29-23 overtime loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles were down to a hamstrung Sidney Jones and De’Vante Bausby, who wasn’t on the team a month ago.

It showed. 

And Dallas attacked with its newest weapon (see observations)

Even though the Eagles’ defense played fairly well for most of Sunday, by the end of the game, the stats were staggering.

• Dak Prescott threw for 455 yards, the most the Eagles have ever given up in a regular-season game, surpassing Jon Kitna’s 446-yard game in 2007. Prescott’s previous career high was 332. 

• Amari Cooper had 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He’s just the ninth player in the modern era to put up that stat line. It’s the second-biggest game a receiver has ever had against the Eagles (Kenny Britt in 2010). 

• The Cowboys piled up 576 total yards — the fourth-most ever against the Eagles in a regular-season game. 

Staggering. 

“We did a pretty good job earlier in the game,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “We knew they wanted to throw quick game and control passes. But with some injuries we had on the outside, they felt like that was the matchup they could take deep obviously. Two big plays that kind of broke open the game on defense. I mean, Amari Cooper is a good player. We knew they would make plays. He made those plays.”

The two big plays Jenkins was talking about came in the fourth quarter. Cooper caught a 28-yard touchdown against Sidney Jones and then he caught a 75-yard touchdown against Bausby just a few minutes later. 

Jones played just one more series after giving up his touchdown before his hamstring really pulled on him and trainers took him out. He said he just couldn’t open up when running. He was in and out Sunday. 

It was pretty clear Jones’ hamstring was hurting during that game.  

“It’s nowhere near 100 [percent],” Jones said. “I can tell you that for sure. This hammy’s been frustrating. It lingers. Just gotta get healthy at the end of the day. 

“It hurt but I was like, ‘I gotta go back in, it’s do or die.’ I fought. I went back in and gave my best effort.”

It seemed like the Cowboys were happy to target Jones, who clearly wasn’t healthy. They were similarly eager to go after Bausby when he replaced him at left cornerback. 

Bausby, who was promoted from the practice squad on Nov. 17, gave up the 75-yarder as Corey Graham was slow to get over as help. 

The Eagles on Sunday afternoon had just one regular defensive back left starting in Jenkins. Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are all on IR. The Eagles have been at the bottom of the barrel in the secondary and that definitely showed Sunday. 

“It’s tough,” said nickel corner Cre’Von LeBlanc, who arrived to town on Nov. 5. “We gave it all we got and we didn’t fold.” 

They didn’t really hold up either.

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