Are Eagles Starting to Question Sidney Jones?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There are two sides to every story and on the other end of Amari Cooper's breakout performance for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's 29-23 overtime win over Philadelphia was the Eagles' cornerbacks who were tasked with slowing down the former Pro Bowl receiver.
No one had success whether it was De'Vante Bausby getting beat over the top or Rasul Douglas being the victim of deflection but Sidney Jones probably had the toughest time with Cooper while dealing with persistent hamstring issues that forced him out of the crippling setback on two different occasions.
That was hardly the first time that the second-year player has dealt with the hammy,
Someone, perhaps Jim Schwartz or Jones himself, tapped out after Cooper scorched the University of Washington product for a 28-yard score with just unfer eight minutes to go in regulation.
On Monday, coach Doug Pederson actually said he needed to be “careful” when asked about Jones, and actually directed reporters toward the California native, not exactly the typical way Pederson does business.
“Amari is a great receiver, he’s hard to defend and early in the game I thought Sidney did a nice job defending a couple of passes and making some tackles in there," Pederson said. "You’ll have to ask Sidney about the rest.”
That's not exactly falling on the sword for a struggling player and it's not like others were all that successful against Cooper with Bausby serving up a 75-yard home run and Douglas allowing the walk-off game-winner.
Jones, though, is a different animal because he came in with the reputation of a first-round talent who the Eagles were willing to wait for as he rehabbed a torn Achilles that essentially wiped out his rookie campaign.
The intimation to some is that the Eagles would like Jones to fight a little harder through injury although hamstrings are always tricky for so-called thoroughbred players.
“It’s something where we’re going to continue to evaluate Sidney each day,” Pederson said. “Make sure again, that he’s right, not only physically but mentally.”
The latter part is the bigger concern obviously especially in this city where a No. 1 overall pick in basketball, Markelle Fultz, had been a nonentity due to psyche issues mixing in with possible physical ailments.
“I think that for any player that is dealing with injury, you focus on that just a little bit,” Pederson said. “It can pull you away from playing at a high level at times. I think that’s where I can appreciate guys, where – and Sidney is one of them – each week everybody is a little banged up and a little sore, going through stuff and for them to battle through it, be out there practicing every day and put themselves out there for the team, I think is a credit to each player.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen