Rasul Douglas

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

Cornerbacks always talk about how crucial it is to put bad plays behind them.

Gotta be confident. Gotta have a short memory. Gotta forget about it when you get beat.

Every cornerback gets beat. The great ones bounce back quickly.

Fair to say Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones didn’t bounce back quickly Sunday.

I asked Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Tuesday how Douglas and Jones have handled having a short memory and putting bad plays behind them, and his answer was surprisingly blunt.

Inconsistently,” he said. “There have been times that they have, but you know like a 3-3 team, we’re all striving for consistency and I think that those guys are striving for that.

Douglas has played fairly well much of the season, although he’s been inconsistent. Jones has struggled both on the field and to stay on the field.

On Sunday, both struggled through their lowest moments. Kirk Cousins victimized both young corners to the tune of four touchdowns and 333 yards in the Vikings’ 38-20 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This was the first time Schwartz has spoken this bluntly about Douglas and Jones and their confidence issues.

I don’t know that any of those were lack of confidence or [not] putting a play behind them, but whether it was a penalty, whether it was a physical error or a technique error or a communication error, another bad play ended up rolling up on them and that’s the life they live,” he said. “There were a lot of technique errors, there are a lot of miscommunications in every game with D-linemen and linebackers and everything else, whether you win the game like we did against the Jets or you lose a tough game like we did against the Vikings.

But generally those don’t get the attention that the cornerback position takes, and that’s part of the job description. That scrutiny. Kickers. Quarterbacks. Head coaches. It’s just what we deal with, and corners need to be able to put bad plays behind them, and we’ve been inconsistent doing that.

Jones is only 23 and Douglas is 24, and both come from big-time college programs and were high draft picks in 2017 — Jones in the second round and Douglas in the third. 

The Eagles clearly are hopeful both can go on to become high-level long-term starters.

But Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby could both be back for the Cowboys game on Sunday or, if not, soon after.

We all know both of them have allowed their fair share of big plays, but they’ve also started for a Super Bowl championship team, and nobody has ever questioned their confidence. They’ve both shown a knack for bouncing back.

Who’s going to wind up starting when everybody’s healthy? 

Too early to answer that. But if you’re a coach and you have two cornerbacks who have confidence issues and two who don’t? Who would you play?

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What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

MINNEAPOLIS — After the game, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas spoke about putting the game behind them, learning from their mistakes, moving on.

But this was such a thorough collapse by the Eagles’ two third-year corners it really makes you wonder if that’s even possible.

Kirk Cousins attacked both Jones and Douglas all afternoon Sunday to the tune of 333 yards, four touchdowns and a 38-20 dismantling of the Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Eagles have now allowed 16 touchdowns passes in six games, and the only QB who didn’t throw one — Luke Falk — isn’t even in the league anymore.

We’re a confident group,” Douglas said. “We know what we can do. You’re not about to play in the league and not have a bad game. Everybody has bad games, as a team and as individuals. So we’ve got to just find out what we did wrong, fix it all up and move on, because we know the Cowboys are going to watch the film and try to do the same thing.

Douglas allowed two long touchdowns to Stefon Diggs, and Jones allowed an Adam Thielen touchdown, mis-played a short Diggs catch into a big play and was just shaky all day.

Douglas has played fairly consistent this year, but Jones has struggled both to stay healthy and to perform when he is on the field.

Sunday was a terrible day for both of them.

“We’re still putting pieces together,” Jones said. “We haven’t came to form. We know what we’re capable of and we’re still trying to do that.”

This is the first time since 1965 the Eagles have allowed five TD passes of 40 yards or more in their first six games. 

They allowed just three last year.

It’s very frustrating,” Jones said. “Obviously you try to eliminate those and make it hard for them to drive down the field, but when we give it to them easy it’s pretty frustrating.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins took the blame for the second long Diggs touchdown.

“I should have been back there.,” he said. “I just vacated the deep end of the field. We just did too many things to give them extra tries. We turned it on one point and it started to turn around, but it was too late.”

How do you put this sort of embarrassment behind you?

It’s not hard at all,” Jones said. “Watch film, go over your mistakes, what you need to do to get better and just practice. We have a game next week, we can’t think about this one. It’s over. We lost already. We’ve got to move on as a team. We’ve got the Cowboys, a divisional game and we’ve just got to move on to that.

Jones didn’t play against the Jets because of his nagging hamstring. He left the Vikings game briefly “to get right” but did finish.

He was a second-round pick, and so far we just haven’t seen it.

“I feel like I’m very close,” he said. “I just have to put the pieces together.”

Jalen Mills should be back this week, and Ronald Darby, Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox are all expected to return at some point this year.

But let’s be honest. 

It’s not enough.

The Eagles need help. Jones and Douglas are still young players and could get better.

But right now, if this team has serious playoff aspirations, their corners just aren’t good enough.

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Zach Brown's trash talk, looking ahead at corner, more in Roob's random Eagles points

Zach Brown's trash talk, looking ahead at corner, more in Roob's random Eagles points

A critical matchup on Sunday, another insane Nate Gerry stat, running backs of yore and lots more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles points.

1. The matchup Sunday between Dalvin Cook and the Eagles’ top-ranked run defense is a huge one. If the Vikings can’t get Cook going, the Eagles win. If Cook gains big yards, I think it’ll one a long day for the Eagles. I do think the Eagles’ defensive line matches up well against the Vikings’ offensive line, but that Eagles’ No. 1 rushing ranking has come against Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Derrius Guice and Aaron Jones, all of whom are averaging under 4.0 yards per carry. Bell is at 2.9, Freeman 3.2, Johnson 3.4, Guice 2.5 (currently hurt) and Jones is at 3.9. Cook is at 5.9 (and rookie teammate Alex Mattison isn’t far back at 5.6). Cook is way better than any back the Eagles have faced. If they can shut him down, this run defense is legit.

2. The fact that Miles Sanders has the Eagles’ three-longest receptions over the last three games speaks volumes about Sanders’ receiving ability. Unfortunately, it also speaks volumes about the recent play of the Eagles’ wide receivers.

3. When (if?) all the Eagles’ corners are totally healthy, who starts? It’s a fascinating question with no easy answer. Rasul Douglas has earned one of the two outside spots, but I have a hunch they’re going to go with Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby. The slot will be interesting, and you can make a case for Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc or Orlando Scandrick. We’ll see how the next couple weeks go, and I’m a big LeBlanc fan, but if Scandrick holds it down these next few weeks it’s going to be tough to take him out of there.

4. The strangest team record in the Eagles record book is the one for lowest career interception percentage. Does Nick Foles have it? Nope. Carson Wentz? Nope. Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia or Michael Vick? Nope. It actually belongs to Bubby Brister, who threw 6 INTs in 385 attempts as an Eagle, or one every 64 pass attempts. Wentz is second but would need to throw 304 consecutive passes without an interception to break Brister’s record. Walter Andrew “Bubby” Brister. Of all people.

5. Zach Ertz is kind of the forgotten guy since his numbers are predictably down from last year’s record-setting 116-catch season. But Ertz is quietly having another huge year. He’s on pace for 93 catches for 998 yards, and he’s had at least 50 yards in all five games. Nobody else on the roster has had 50 yards more than twice. Ertz has really been the Eagles’ only consistent receiving threat, and he’s only 34 catches from becoming only the 19th tight end in NFL history with 500 career receptions. Only Jason Witten has done it in his first seven seasons. Can’t take this dude for granted.

6. Did you see Zach Brown called former Redskins teammate Kirk Cousins “the weakest part” of the Vikings’ offense? Cousins has actually been pretty good against the Eagles — 5-3 record, 66 completion percentage, four 300-yard games, 17 TDs, 5 INTs and a 101.2 passer rating that’s sixth-highest ever vs. the Eagles. He’s faced the Eagles eight times and has thrown for at least 230 yards in each game. No other QB in history has done that eight straight games against the Eagles. And he’s thrown at least one TD with one or fewer INTs in all eight games. I don’t think anybody on this defense is in any position to talk trash right now. Brown better make some plays against Cousins Sunday because Cousins has made plenty against the Eagles.

7. Nate Gerry stats are my new favorite stats. We told you earlier in the week that Gerry’s 51-yard INT return against the Jets Sunday was the longest ever by an Eagles linebacker in Philadelphia — at any stadium. Now, how about this: Gerry is the first player the Eagles have drafted in the fifth round with three career interceptions since cornerback Eric Everett in 1988 and 1989. The only other one since 1960 is a linebacker named Dick Absher, who the Eagles drafted in the fifth round in 1967 and had three INTs for the Saints and Eagles from 1969 through 1972. Hard to believe, Harry! 

8. The Eagles’ four leading rushers last year were Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi. Looks like none of them will have a carry as an Eagle this year. 

9. And isn’t it crazy that Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy are the only Eagles running backs in the last 20 years with consecutive 700-rushing yard seasons?

10. It’s going to be tough to sit in U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon and not think about what happened on Feb. 4, 2018. My most vivid memory of Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the Philly Special or Brandon Graham’s strip sack of Tom Brady or Zach Ertz’s game-winning touchdown catch. It’s standing on the field two hours after the game with D-Gunn, and just standing there atop an ocean of confetti and looking up at the scoreboard and just seeing a massive Eagles logo. And that’s when it really hit me what had just happened. I’ll never forget that moment.



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