Cloudy CB Situation as Jets Week Begins
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - We know the Eagles are playing a game on Sunday. What we don't know is who will be playing cornerback for Philadelphia when the struggling New York Jets arrive at Lincoln Financial Field.
Ronald Darby is still in the middle of what is supposed to be a month-long hamstring injury while Avonte Maddox is expected to miss a few weeks with a neck injury suffered on a friendly-fire hit from Andrew Sendejo in Green Bay on Thursday. Sidney Jones is likely the closest of the banged-up with his own hamstring injury suffered against the Packers, a tweak which has been described as not as serious as Darby's.
With Jones' injury history, however, it's probably not the best course of action to push him back as quickly as possible even if the need is there.
"TBD," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz responded when asked who would be playing QB against the Jets.
While it's "to be determined," Philadelphia's only healthy CBs entering the week are Rasul Douglas, Craig James and the recently re-signed Orlando Scandrick with potential practice-squad help in Ajene Harris and the newly-arrived D.J. White.
As a veteran with plenty of NFL playing time under his belt, along with a summer in Schwartz's system, Scandrick, who was brought back over the weekend, can certainly get up to speed at the nickel spot from a mental standpoint quickly so the most likely scenario Sunday is Jones or James at left corner, Douglas on the other side, and Scandrick in the slot.
While that's not optional the good news is it's not Aaron Rodgers at QB this week for the Eagles defense. It's either a weakened Sam Darnold, fresh off mono, or Luke Falk.
James was the unlikely hero in Green Bay with a bang-bang PBU at the goal line which resulted in Nigel Bradham's game-sealing interception with 20 seconds left. It was his second snap as an NFL CB.
"I didn't see anything from him in practice because he didn't get any practice reps," Schwartz acknowledged when discussing James. "That's just where it was. Those are the first two defensive snaps he's ever played in the NFL."
In case James wasn't aware of the obvious Malcolm Jenkins let him know the target was on his back.
"(The) first thing Malcolm said to him is, 'You know they are coming after you right away,'" Schwartz explained. "... He was up to the challenge and made a play to help us win the game."
"You control what you can control," Jenkins said. "... Our defense isn’t going to change. We don’t change our scheme based on who’s out there."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen