Rasul Douglas

Latest On Eagles’ Cornerbacks

The Eagles secondary is beyond banged up. As the team gears up for Sunday’s game against the Giants, Chandon Sullivan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, and DeVante Bausby stand as the team’s only healthy cornerbacks, head coach Doug Pederson says. 

[RELATED: Eagles Activate DT Timmy Jernigan]

Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, and Sidney Jones were unable to take the practice field on Friday. It’s a terrible spot for the Eagles to be in after losing star Ronald Darby to a torn ACL.

To fill the gap, the Eagles have employed reserve wide receivers as cornerbacks in practice. That won’t fly in a real game, so the Eagles may have to make a move or two in the next couple of days. Practice squad defensive back Jeremiah McKinnon may be a leading candidate for promotion, but no decision has been made on that front just yet.

At 4-6, the Eagles are fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday. The Giants have been largely atrocious this year, but they’re riding a two-game winning streak and they’ll be motivated to spoil the Eagles’ season.

Eagles CBs Maddox, Douglas Suffer Injuries

The Eagles’ secondary continues to be hit hard by injuries. Cornerbacks Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas both suffered knee injuries in Sunday’s 48-7 loss to the Saints, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the maladies are not as bad as initially feared. 

The exact nature of Maddox’s injury is not immediately clear, but it is not believed to be a season ender. Instead, he is week-to-week, and Douglas is presumably in the same boat after his knee injury was deemed to be only a sprain.

In any event, the Eagles can ill afford more injuries in the secondary. The Eagles just lost star corner Ronald Darby for the season and Jalen Mills has missed the last two games with a foot injury. Mills’ status for Sunday against the Giants is murky and the same goes for Sidney Jones after he tweaked his hamstring, so the Eagles could be forced to draw from a group led by Chandon Sullivan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, and De’Vante Bausby.

No matter how things shake out, it stands to reason that the Eagles will sign at least one new corner this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Beckham, Eagles

Derrius Guice‘s injury delivers a considerable setback to the Redskins‘ running back corps, to the point they may have to consider adding a veteran to the mix. But Jay Gruden did not confirm the team will go in this direction, pointing to the second-round Guice selection being a best-player-available move rather than a need pick.

We have guys here that can play,” Gruden said Saturday. “We drafted Derrius because he was the best player, we thought, at the time of the draft … not because we weren’t satisfied with the backs we have.”

The primary Redskins starters the past two years, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine, remain on the team and are now set to be the team’s early-down backs. Passing-down specialist Chris Thompson, though he’s not yet fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered midway through last season, will reprise his role in 2018. Neither Kelley nor Perine surpassed 3.5 yards per carry last season, but Washington’s offensive line became significantly limited by injuries as the season progressed. Kelley fared much better in 2016.

Here’s the latest from the rest of the NFC East:

  • A day after Guice’s injury severity became known, the Redskins are concerned about 2017 sixth-round pick Robert Davis. The team fears its second-year wide receiver suffered a torn ACL, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Davis will head in for an MRI later today, per Garafolo. The Georgia State alum was expected to play a bigger role in Year 2 after playing in just one game as a rookie.
  • The Giants‘ reasoning behind sitting Odell Beckham Jr. in the preseason opener stemmed from his injury recovery, not his contract situation, per Pat Shurmur. “I want to be smart with his recovery coming back [from ankle surgery],” Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “I never intended to play him in this game. I didn’t reveal that to [the public], but I never intended to.” Beckham has not experienced a known setback in his recovery from last season’s ankle injury. He encountered ankle trouble during the preseason against the Browns last year, spraining his left ankle barely a month prior to fracturing it.
  • The subject of Rasul Douglas moving to safety surfaced at Eagles practice, but the coaching staff shot that down, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Philly lost Patrick Robinson and has Ronald Darby going into a contract year, so it would make sense Douglas stays at corner. Philadelphia’s staff still believes Douglas can have a quality career as a corner, although Kapadia adds he has not progressed like the team was hoping going into his second season.
  • Donnel Pumphrey may be in his final days as an Eagle, with Kapadia pointing out the “lower body” injury he suffered in the defending Super Bowl champions’ preseason opener may put him too far behind the other combatants in a hotly contested race to make the 53-man roster as the No. 4 running back. Wendell Smallwood, Matt Jones and rookie UDFA Josh Adams comprise the rest of that race, and Kapadia adds that Jones may be behind the other two after the Eagles’ first preseason game. The Eagles gave Adams a sizable guarantee to sign after the draft.

NFC Rumors: Lynch, Eagles, Saints

Aaron Lynch has an opportunity to play the Leo position in the 49ers‘ new 4-3 defense, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. That position in Robert Saleh‘s Seahawks-influenced scheme is viewed as the team’s top pass-rushing talent, but Lynch admitted the reports about his weight that surfaced earlier this offseason were true. The fourth-year edge defender clarified the weight struggles he’s having. Branch reports Lynch is currently in the 280s and wants to get down to around 270 pounds, but during his last year in San Francisco’s 3-4 scheme, Lynch ballooned to north of 300. This came during training camp, before he served a four-game suspension for substances of abuse. The then-outside linebacker was notified of a suspension last July. Lynch’s sack total plummeted to 1.5 last season after he registered 12.5 between his first two years.

I know last year I probably wasn’t as committed,” Lynch said, via Branch. “I mean, I was committed, but I basically [had] some off-field issues, getting suspended and getting hurt. So I don’t think my mind was in the right place as far as how the season was going. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t committed. I’m working my ass off right now. Getting down to the weight I need to get, doing everything they want me to do.”

The 24-year-old Lynch not making weight could result in the 49ers moving on from him, but the team is thin on pass-rushers. Branch writes the team did not draft a “legitimate Leo” candidate until the sixth round (Pita Taumoepenu of Utah), and the Bay Area-based writer isn’t categorizing No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas (8.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss in 2016) as such.

Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Ron Brooks is still recovering from the quadriceps injury he suffered in October of 2016 and did not participate in team drills during the first segment of Eagles OTAs, Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com reports. Brooks took a paycut in March that trimmed nearly $1MM off his 2017 salary. He will make $1MM this season. The Eagles remain thin at cornerback after losing Nolan Carroll and drafting Sidney Jones, who may not be ready to play in 2017. Rookie third-rounder Rasul Douglas lined up as Philly’s No. 3 corner, per Spadaro, with Jalen Mills shifting inside when the team lined up in that formation last week.
  • LeGarrette Blount‘s one-year deal on a $1.25MM base salary is plenty worth it for the Eagles to find out if he can thrive outside of New England, Bob Brookover of Philly.com writes, noting that Blount never being paid more than $1.85MM in a season doesn’t add up with his career production. The 30-year-old rushed for a career-high 18 touchdowns last season — the most any NFL back’s totaled since Adrian Peterson in 2009 — but averaged just 3.9 yards per carry. While he’s averaged 5.0 yards per tote twice, those seasons came with lighter workloads.
  • The Saints keeping their corners healthy could see the position look rather deep compared to the barren outlook of 2016, Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes. Marshon Lattimore joins Sterling Moore, Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams in a secondary that did not feature a lot of the latter duo due to injuries last season. Underhill adds that Williams could see time in the slot for New Orleans and would have last year under optimal circumstances. Any optimism can, of course, be countered by mentioning how Lattimore comes with a history of hamstring trouble and that Breaux and Williams suffered severe injuries in 2016. But under ideal conditions, the Saints appear to be much deeper than they were for most of 2016.
  • Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson wouldn’t mind some competition coming in to push Kellen Moore for the team’s backup job.

Eagles Sign Seven Draft Picks

With the notable exception of first-round defensive end Derek Barnett, all of the Eagles’ draft picks are now under contract. The Eagles have agreed to deals with seven members of their rookie class, per a team announcement. Here’s the list:

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The biggest name included in that group belongs to Jones, who underwent surgery on a torn Achilles in March and won’t return to the field until the fall, at the earliest. Jones’ injury, which occurred on the final rep of his pro day, caused his draft stock to slip after it appeared he’d be a first-rounder. The 6-foot, 181-pounder was a 30-game starter at Washington, where he tallied eight interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.