Last week’s Sunday Night Football matchup against the Falcons was a rough one for the Eagles. The injury bug bit the team pretty hard, as Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson were all virtually held out of the entire contest with an injury. Additionally, Carson Wentz, Timmy Jernigan, Corey Clement, and Jason Kelce all took the doleful stroll to the medical tent at various points throughout the game.
Though the Birds unrivaled depth was tested severely in their first road game, the most frustrating aspect of the game very well may have been the porous play of incumbent starter Ronald Darby. One quick look at his stat line and it’s easy to see how the Falcons air attack was able to find success despite Matt Ryan coughing the ball up three times:
For the second consecutive week, and the umpteenth time during his tenure in Philly, Darby was abysmal in coverage. From the first whistle to the last, Darby was clearly the worst defender on the field- on either side of the ball- and was routinely picked on by the Falcons offense.
It’s easy to forget that Darby is coming off fo a torn ACL, but it’s no excuse for his struggles, at least according to Jim Schwartz.
“I think he has all of his speed back. I don’t see the ACL as being an issue at all for him. He’s done a great job of rehab. He didn’t practice a ton in training camp, so I think — and we have a few players that are in that boat. So I think that sometimes you can see some of that, I don’t want to call it rust at this point, but there is a reason that we still do training camp and we still practice.
Made a couple big plays for us. There’s probably a couple plays he’d like to get back. There’s a 50/50 ball that [Falcons WR] Julio Jones makes a great play on. I don’t know that you can attribute that to an ACL or even missing some snaps in training camp. It’s just life in the NFL. Those guys are going to make some of those. You have to come back and compete. I like the fact that he gave up a touchdown pass and came back and got an interception. Kept his competitiveness up. I thought that was a good sign from him.”
Despite speed being one of his best attributes and giving receivers a sizable cushion at the line of scrimmage, Darby got torched on numerous deep routes and simply seemed helpless at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones both zipped past him for 30+ yard scores and JJ Hardy would’ve made it three against Darby had Ryan not overthrown him in the endzone.
Darby has certainly flashed at times and even had an interception in this game, but if the Eagles are to practice what they preach and award playing time based on production, they simply can’t justify rolling Darby out as the starter week after week.
Perhaps a situational role would suit him better, or maybe just some time on the pine to sort things out before getting a crack at earning his job back, but whatever the case, Ronald Darby should not be the Eagles starting cornerback next week against Detroit. Especially with a dynamic Kenny Golladay lurking around the corner.
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports