Sidney Jones

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.

Injury Notes: Gronk, Mack, Pack, Eagles

A third Rob Gronkowski injury absence appears to be in the cards. The Patriots will not deploy their All-Pro tight end to play Sunday against the Titans, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. While Gronkowski is traveling with the team to Nashville, per ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter), he’s expected to be held out. Gronk missed games against the Bears and Packers but played in Buffalo on the Monday night in between those tilts. He’s been dealing with back and ankle trouble. While the Patriots have been able to win without their top pass-catcher, these repeated absences are obviously a concern for the future Hall of Famer’s availability for New England’s stretch run and potentially his post-2018 NFL future. It’s likely the Pats are attempting to rest Gronk now to hopefully see him healthy for key late-season games and the playoffs, but that can’t be considered a lock given his extensive injury history. Gronkowski hitting his incentive targets may now be unrealistic as well.

Here’s the latest from the Week 10 injury front.

  • Better news for the Bears. They’re in line to have both Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson back on Sunday when they face the Lions, per the Associated Press. Mack is no longer on the injury report after missing the past two Chicago games because of an ankle malady. His defensive player of the year chances took a hit because of this hiatus and Aaron Donald continuing another all-world season but Mack figures to still be in the running and can help a team attempting reach the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
  • The Lions‘ Robinson coverage options will be limited. Darius Slay is out for Week 10, joining guard T.J. Lang in that regard. Slay’s played in each of Detroit’s previous eight games and hasn’t missed time since 2016 but is battling a knee injury. A neck ailment will sideline Lang, who also missed time because of a concussion this season.
  • A tough injury night against the Patriots will have after-effects for the Packers. Kevin King will not play Sunday against the Dolphins because of a hamstring injury. Bashaud Breeland, whom ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky notes appeared to impress the Packers in his Green Bay debut, figures to see more time.
  • Both Sidney Jones and Jalen Mills are going to miss Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys game, but Corey Graham will return after missing four games, per Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). After claiming Cre’Von LeBlanc off waivers earlier this week, surely due to injuries affecting the aforementioned duo, the Eagles have seven corners on their roster.
  • Taco Charlton and Connor Williams aren’t playing for the Cowboys on Sunday. Xavier Su’a-Filo appears to be the choice to replace Williams at left guard for Dallas, per executive VP Stephen Jones (Twitter link). A full-time Texans starter the past two seasons, Su’a-Filo has not played this season. Williams is down with a knee injury.

East Notes: Beckham, S. Jones, Patriots

The Giants and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are far apart in extension talks, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Beckham should stage a holdout. After all, if Beckham reports for training camp — as he said he will do — but does not get the deal he’s looking for, then he would essentially be foreclosed from holding out. As Florio notes, a player who reports and then leaves subjects himself to a “five-day letter,” in which a team advises such player that, if he does not return within five days, he will be put on the reserve/left squad list, thereby tolling his contract for a full year. And, if Beckham reports but does not practice with the team until he gets a new deal, he could be subject to fines and suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

As such, Florio believes Beckham’s only chance to get the contract he deserves this year is to hold out and put a little pressure on the Giants, which none of his other alternatives would do. Beckham, though, appears to be sensitive to the stigma associated with holdouts, so this will remain a fascinating case to monitor.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Matt Lombardo of NJ.com names the secondary as perhaps the biggest weakness on the Giants‘ roster, though he says UDFA cornerback Grant Haley — who reportedly received a whopping $100K in guaranteed money from Big Blue — could be a solid slot corner in his rookie season. Lombardo also says the team could reunite with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which grows more likely the longer DRC lingers on the open market.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones had a strong offseason, but as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com observes, Jones spent the last three practices of the spring on the sideline with soreness in his lower body. Philadelphia has said that soreness is wholly unrelated to the Achilles injury that forced Jones to miss almost all of his rookie season, but Shorr-Parks says the fact that the Washington product was forced to miss the most important practices of the spring with a vague injury is noteworthy. The team needs Jones to live up to his collegiate potential, which would have a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of a secondary that needs to replace Patrick Robinson (as of now, Shorr-Parks says, Jalen Mills is the favorite to serve as the Eagles’ nickel corner, a role that Robinson filled so admirably last year).
  • Free agent WR Eric Decker indicated earlier this week that the Patriots would be a good fit for him, and while no team — including the Patriots – has publicly expressed interest in Decker in nearly three months, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England could be interested once it has had the opportunity to fully evaluate its receiving corps in training camp.
  • One potentially key member of the Patriots‘ receiving corps, Malcolm Mitchell, is unsure if he will be ready for the start of training camp. Per Stephen Hewitt of the Boston Herald, Mitchell — who missed all of the 2017 campaign with a knee injury after a promising rookie season — simply said “we’ll see” when asked if he would be ready to go when camp opens next month. New England would love to have a healthy Mitchell, especially in light of Julian Edelman‘s impending four-game suspension.
  • Reiss says that Patriots‘ UDFA punter Corey Bojorquez is a legitimate threat to incumbent Ryan Allen.

Eagles To Activate Rookie CB Sidney Jones

Cornerback Sidney Jones is set to make his NFL debut this weekend. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles are planning on activating the rookie defensive back from the non-football injury list.

Sidney Jones (Vertical)Jones, a projected first-rounder in this past year’s draft, finished his standout collegiate career with six forced fumbles and eight interception. However, the cornerback suffered a torn Achilles during his pro day workout. Despite the injury, the Eagles still selected the Washington product in the second round.

As Rapoport notes, the activation is a reward for the cornerback’s hard work in returning from the injury. Meanwhile, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com tweets that Jones has been ready to play for weeks, but the Eagles have been taking a cautious approach with the rookie.

While the rookie may have been “shining in practice,” it may be tough to expect a whole lot from the rookie during the regular-season finale. Jones will presumably fight for reps with Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas behind starters Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Scandrick, Eagles, Williams

Orlando Scandrick doesn’t sound like he’s counting on another Cowboys contract in 2018. Dallas placed the veteran slot cornerback on IR Friday and dangled him on the trade block earlier this year. Younger talents Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown are signed to rookie deals for the rest of the decade, leaving the 30-year-old Scandrick as a player who may need another team to swoop in to allow him to continue his career.

I’m prepared for whatever,” Scandrick said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m still going to play football. I’m still a good football player when I’m healthy. We’ll see what happens. … I’m not at the point of my career where I’m willing to just be an inactive guy or a guy that’s not a part of what’s going on and can’t help the team win. I just want to play somewhere I can finish things out the right way.”

The 10th-year veteran will be entering free agency after fracturing multiple transverse processes and missing the final five Cowboys games. Scandrick also thanked the Cowboys for his 10 seasons of work. He will turn 31 in February.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East, shifting to another team’s cornerback situation.

  • The Eagles‘ placement of linebacker Joe Walker on IR could open up roster a spot for cornerback Sidney Jones, who remains on the PUP list. Philadelphia’s roster stands at 52 players, and the rookie has to be activated by next week in order to be on the playoff roster. Zach Berman of Philly.com expects the Eagles to activate the second-round pick (Twitter link). This would allow Jones additional practice time to prepare for a small role in the postseason rather than a full redshirt year. The University of Washington product has not played in a game since New Year’s Eve of last year, but Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets he’s recovered sufficiently from the Achilles’ tendon tear that damaged his draft stock. However, Caplan adds a conditioning issue stands in the way of Jones’ potential activation now.
  • Trent Williams‘ post-surgery clock started Friday. The Redskins tackle underwent the long-discussed knee operation, one performed by a patella specialist. He’s expected to be shelved for approximately six months, putting training camp well within reach for Washington’s stalwart edge blocker.
  • The Redskins are expected to let fourth-year starter Bashaud Breeland walk as a free agent come March.
  • Dave Gettleman discussed Eli Manning‘s status for 2018, and as of now, he’s slated to be the Giants’ starter.

Eagles’ Sidney Jones To Practice This Week

Eagles rookie cornerback Sidney Jones will begin practice this week, a source tells Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Jones suffered a torn Achilles in March and has yet to see the field. Sidney Jones (Vertical)

Jones has been eligible to start practicing since the beginning of Week 7, but he has not been healthy enough to resume football activities. This is a major step forward for the Washington product, though it’s still not clear if he will be activated within the three-week window. It’s possible that the Eagles are looking to get Jones some valuable practice reps as the regular season winds down in order to give him a head start on his offseason training.

Jones fell to the Eagles at No. 43 he suffered an Achilles tear during the final rep of his pro day. At the time, it was believed Jones could get back on the field in October or November. Still, the Eagles believe that Jones has first-round caliber talent. And, with an NFC-leading 11-2 record, it’s not like the Eagles regret taking the long view with their second-round choice.

The Eagles currently have four true cornerbacks on the roster in Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby, and Rasul Douglas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Redskins, Jones

Now that the Giants front office and coaching staff is set to go through a number of changes after the firing of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, there’s a ton of speculation of who could be the person put in charge to bring the franchise back to perennial success.

While many people think the hire will come outside the organization, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network thinks interim GM Kevin Abrams should not be overlooked as the Giants begin their search.

Garafolo notes that Abrams is a “cap guy by trade”, but has worked on his scouting ability in recent years and has “attended multiple NFL seminars” to prepare to lead a football operations department. A number of names are likely to be floated for the job given that the team will likely have a high pick and has a track record of winning, but Abrams seems like he might get a realistic shot at turning his interim tag into a full-time position.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Apart from Abrams, Mike Sando of ESPN.com speculated a few candidates from outside the organization who could be contenders for the Giants general manager and head coaching gigs. Sando names front office guys like Nick Caserio from the Patriots, former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and former Colts President Bill Polian. He also highlights many well known up-and-comers such as Eric DeCosta (Ravens), George Paton (Vikings), Eliot Wolf (Packers) and Terry McDonough (Cardinals) among many others. Sando added that former GM’s Scott Pioli (Falcons) and John Dorsey (free agent) could be intriguing hires as well. In terms of potential head coaching candidates, Sando names guys who were on the teams original list back before they hired McAdoo prior the 2016-17 season. This would include current coordinators like Teryl Austin (Lions) and Mike Smith (Buccaneers). An under-the-radar name to watch is Texans defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel, who is best known for his time leading the Patriots defense to Super Bowl titles.
  • While the Redskins are out of the NFC playoff race after losing to the Cowboys last Thursday, that doesn’t mean that team will start resting their players, states John Keim of ESPN.com. He passes along that Head coach Jay Gruden said that he wouldn’t rest some of their injured starters just because the games don’t have postseason implications for the team. “They’re all trying to get back in the lineup,” Gruden said. “They’re going to play hard because they want to win and want to do well. That’s the reason they’re all here. We try to target guys that love football, are passionate about the game and are going to play hard no matter what. For the most part, we’ve got that here. So whether you are on one year left or five years left, doesn’t really matter.” Starters like left tackle Trent Williams, right tackle Morgan Moses and tight end Jordan Reed have all dealt with nagging injuries this season, but it appears that the Redskins won’t just solely be resting key players hoping that could lead to a better draft pick.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones has not played in a game this season as he’s continued to rehab the achilles that he had torn back in March. However, the rookie has yet to participate in practice, reports Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Jones has been eligible to start practicing since the beginning of Week 7, but has just a 21 day time period to be activated to the roster once he does begin to take part in practice. It’s important to note that Berman explains in a follow-up tweet, Jones could just use the last three weeks of the regular season to get extra reps and get a head start on his offseason training. The Eagles currently have corners Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas patrolling the defensive backfield.

No Timetable For Eagles CB Sidney Jones

Sidney Jones was one of the 2017 draft’s most exciting cornerback prospects, but a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the predraft process pushed him to the second round, where the Eagles scooped him up with pick No. 43. Still on the non-football injury list with only five weeks left in the regular season, Philadelphia doesn’t have a timetable for when Jones may be able to see the field, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.Sidney Jones (Vertical)

“Not right now,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s obviously still doing well with his rehab. He’s getting better there, and again, don’t want to rush him back just yet.”

It’s not as if the Eagles need Jones at the moment — Philadelphia sits at 10-1 and boasts the No. 4 ranked pass defense DVOA. Free agent signee Patrick Robinson (who inked a one-year deal for the minimum salary) currently grades as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 cornerback, young players such as Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas are producing, and trade acquisition Ronald Darby is now back in the lineup after missing time with injury.

Of course, an argument could also be made that this — when the Eagles have greater than a 99% chance of earning a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight — is the best time to take a look at Jones. With the pressure off, Philadelphia could use the final weeks of the season to get reps for Jones and see exactly where its second-round pick stands.

If and when Jones returns to practice, the Eagles will have a 21-day window during which they can activate Jones to the 53-man roster. If they choose not to do so, Jones won’t earn a credited season for 2017, meaning Philadelphia would control his rights through 2021 instead of 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Place Sidney Jones On Reserve/NFI List, Trim Roster

The Eagles have placed rookie cornerback Sidney Jones on the reserve/NFI list, per a team announcement. Consequently, Jones won’t be eligible to practice or play during the first six weeks of the season.

Although Jones suffered a torn Achilles during his pro day in March, the Eagles still used a second-round pick on the former Washington standout. Jones looked like a first-rounder in the making after a stellar three-year Huskies career that saw him intercept eight passes. When the Eagles signed Jones, they inserted language in his contract that will pay him his full 2017 base salary even if he spends the season on the NFI list.

Along with the Jones transaction, the Eagles announced that they’ve waived 14 players to bring their roster to 70:

Eagles Cut Dwayne Gratz

As the Eagles convene for training camp, the team made a few moves on Sunday. One of them was jettisoning fifth-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz.

Philadelphia announced the release of Gratz, whom the team signed late last season to a two-year deal. No guaranteed money was attached to Gratz’s $775K contract. The Eagles also placed Sidney Jones and Beau Allen on the Active/NFI list. Philly will meet for camp on Monday and begin practice Thursday.

The Eagles are the third team since October 2016 to part ways with Gratz. The Jaguars cut him in October, but Gratz didn’t make it to free agency when the Rams claimed him. However, Los Angeles cut Gratz as well after deploying him in three games. The Eagles signed him in advance of Week 15 last season. The 27-year-old corner did not play any games for Philly. Gratz functioned as a primary starter for the 2014 Jags but has otherwise been a backup.

Philly does not have a particularly deep cornerback contingent, but Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes (on Twitter) 2016 UDFA C.J. Smith and CFL import Aaron Grymes performed better than Gratz during offseason workouts.

Jones could still miss the season due to his Achilles injury, and Allen suffered a chest injury while working out this offseason. The defensive tackle who has served as a rotational player is not expected to be ready by Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.