Jones Passes First Test
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The NFL has a way of humbling you.
Take Sidney Jones, the Eagles' talented rookie cornerback, who finally got to make his NFL debut on Sunday after an arduous rehab stemming from the ruptured Achilles' suffered at his college pro day back in Match.
His reward for making it back in nine months?
How about former All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant, perhaps the strongest wideout in the game, in press coverage.
That was what Jones was tasked with when he took the field for the first time in his professional career late in the first quarter of Philadelphia's 6-0 loss to Dallas on Sunday.
“You can’t even describe it," Jones said when asked how he felt. "It’s a whole bunch of nerves and juices going. Good juices. It’s a blessing. I can’t even describe it.”
Jones ended up playing 29 snaps on defense, made two tackles and did a nice job in coverage for the most part. He allowed one reception to two targets for just three yards but did bite on a double move by Terrance Williams on one occasion when Dak Prescott simply misfired.
The 21-year-old was less effective in run support, losing contain on one Ezekiel Elliott scamper that went for 16 yards.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Jones played 25 of his 29 snaps at left corner, typically Jalen Mills' spot. Mills was given the afternoon enough to rest his cranky ankle in advance of the divisional round of the playoffs.
Jones returned to practice on Dec. 12 but hadn't played a competitive game since a year earlier to the day when Washington played Alabama in the Peach Bowl.
"A little bit of rust today," he admitted. "The first game there will be a little bit of rust, as expected, but I feel like I did good.”
Looking ahead, Mills, a Pro Bowl alternate, and Ronald Darby, along with star slot cornerback Patrick Roobinson, will continue to do the heavy lifting in Jim Schwartz's defense during the postseason. Jones, however, could push fellow rookie Rasul Douglas, who struggled against Dallas on Sunday, as the fourth corner.
“I don’t know their plan," Jones said of the coached. "I just do what they ask me to do and if my name is called, I’m here.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen