When it rains, it pours. Ronald Darby may have been torched by opposing receivers in the opening few weeks of the season, but he was their starting CB1. Now, it looks as though they’ll be without him for a few weeks.
This is ultimately something that the Eagles should’ve been prepared for. Darby has missed 14 games over the last two years due to injury. Darby has had a torrid start to 2019, but he did record an interception against Atlanta and leads the team in pass breakups. The good news is, they will have a contingency plan in place.
Two of the lone real standouts on this team so far have been Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones. We now enter a scenario where the duo will be the starting outside corners along with Avonte Maddox in the slot. The trio seem to wrap up ball-carriers far more consistently and are more active around the catch-point.
Douglas and Jones already have 7 passes defensed between them and both showed that they have the potential to play press against Julio Jones. That has to be an encouraging sign moving forward.
As for timing however, it couldn’t get much worse. The Eagles are on a short week and will travel to Green Bay to face a rebuilt Packers offense before facing a further three NFC powerhouses (Minnesota, Dallas, Chicago) all in the space of a month. Losing Darby is absolutely going to sting if he is out for some of, if not all of these games.
The Eagles are still missing Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jalen Mills from their secondary and it may be a while until they return. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles bring back veteran Orlando Scandrick, who spent a portion of the offseason with the team and is coming off a career-high 13 passes defensed in Kansas City. The secondary is light on depth again and Scandrick at least gives you an insurance policy, enabling Schwartz to move Maddox around like the versatile weapon he is.
It’s unclear how much time Darby will miss, but he is in his contract year, as is Jalen Mills. This is a huge opportunity for both Jones and Douglas, who are contracted through next year, to make their mark and try and assert themselves as the rightful starters.
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports