On and off the field, the Eagles secondary has hardly been a welcoming sight in recent years. Plagued by injuries, inconsistencies, missed tackles, and a lack of development, it was clear change was needed after yet another disappointing season in 2019. The Eagles decided to go all-in on Darius Slay, finally granting Jim Schwartz a lockdown cornerback and one who he drafted all the way back in 2013. We all know the level of play Slay brings on the field, but his energy away from it is just as exciting.
It’s almost easy to take this early sign of chemistry for granted. After all, it was less than a season ago in which Sidney Jones was benched from week 9-13 after taking indirect shots from both Malcolm Jenkins and Doug Pederson about his mental toughness.
In that same breath, Rasul Douglas had long been on the outside looking in when it came to the secondary, with Schwartz looking to play any other player possible until finally giving him a shot in 2018. As a starter in 2019, several of the TD’s given up fell largely on the shoulders of the safeties, but it was Douglas who took the fall.
Perhaps most notably of all while discussing 2018, Malcolm Jenkins had to tell Schwartz mid-game against the Giants to simplify things for his corners. The young secondary was being overloaded and struggling to process information, costing them dearly.
With Slay onboard, it really does feel as though a fresh page has been turned. The former Lions CB clearly needed a change of scenery after his relationship with Matt Patricia soured more and more as time went on. The 29-year-old even went on to say that “the Eagles treat players like grown men” in a recent press conference, taking a jab at Patricia, who notably left Slay saying ‘Man, I wasn’t trying to hear that because of the fact that I’m a grown man, he’s a grown man.” after calling out a social media post praising a wide receiver.
Slay seems to be embracing a warmer culture in Philadelphia, and the City is hugging him right back. With a bit of luck, this will transpire into what we see on the field. But after years of unrest and what felt like a disconnect times off the field, it looks as though there is finally some serenity in the Eagles secondary.
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