Sidney in the Slot Looks Locked Up
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz isn't one to give away "proprietary information" but he did admit the Eagles plan at nickel cornerback is "probably at about 85 percent" for the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6.
Throughout the summer a three-horse race between Sidney Jones, De'Vante Bausby, and Avonte Maddox was whittled down to Jones and Maddox before Jones seemingly settled the deal in Cleveland with an impressive performance last week.
"We are not ready the announce anything yet, but just as far as roster in general and roles guys are going to play I would say we are probably at about 85 percent," Schwartz claimed. "Pretty firm on the way we will go into the week on Thursday night."
You want to be locked in against the talented Falcons, who possess a former MVP at quarterback in Matt Ryan and All-Pro receiver Julio Jones, a player complemented by an excellent WR2 in Mohamed Sanu as well as first-round pick Calvin Ridley.
Sidney Jones, who essentially redshirted his rookie season after tearing his Achilles at his pro day, is himself a first-round talent but he played on the outside at the University of Washington so the slot is all new to him.
Schwartz isn't one to hand out grades but when the dress rehearsal goes well you tend to stay status quo when the curtain drops.
Against the Browns, Jones showed the ability to communicate well with outside corner Jalen Mills on an impressive goal-line stand.
"I never like to get into talking particulars about the way guys played or anything like that. I think that we have multiple players that we have confidence in that can get the job done for us," Schwartz said. "I think that is the bottom line."
As for that missing 15 percent, Malcolm Jenkins explained that in the locker room.
"When it comes to that position we tend to tailor things for the opponent," the Pro Bowl safety told 973espn.com. "If a team uses a lot of two tight ends we have our big-nickel package with three safeties. Against Arizona and someone like Larry Fitzgerald, maybe I'm considered the better matchup."
MONDAY PRACTICE NEWS AND NOTES:
-After Doug Pederson refused to address it on Sunday offensive coordinator Mike Groh confirmed Carson Wentz and Nick Foles are still splitting reps with the first-team offense at practice. Wentz is still not cleared for contact 10 days before the opener and Peter King made some waves earlier in the day by speculating Wentz would not play until Week 3. The third-year QB continues to look good at practice, however.
-The Eagles signed safety Deshawntee Gallon, originally a rookie free agent signing of the Arizona Cardinals back in 2017 out of Georgia Southern. Gallon was added to the mix for the final preseason game after rookie safety Stephen Roberts was waived on Saturday.
-Running back Jay Ajayi, receiver Mack Hollins and tight ends Richard Rodgers and Joshua Perkins remain out of practice.
-If you want to project the final 53, pay attention to special teams. If you did that today you would have noticed undrafted rookie defensive tackle Bruce Hector on the first-team FG block unit, a good sign for him.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen