The Eagles announced on Saturday Jalen Mills will be placed on injured reserve, ending his 2018 season.
This is a big blow for a defense that is now missing three of four original starters in the secondary.
Now that Mills and Darby are out, 2nd-year corners Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas are expected to start on the outside for the rest of the season.
A lot rides on their performance down the stretch.
Tough WR match-ups could make or break the Eagles playoff hopes
Jones and Douglas can either be a main reason the Eagles make the postseason, or they could become the reason they don’t.
In the final four games, the fellow 2017 draft picks will go up against Amari Cooper in Dallas, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods next week in LA, and then a match-up with DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas when the Texans come to Philadelphia.
Two of those match-ups feature mobile quarterbacks in Dak Prescott and DeShaun Watson who can buy time for their receivers to get down-field, while Sean McVay and the Rams gameplan is sure to include getting the ball out quickly, going after the two young corners.
Both can help clear up a foggy CB future for the Eagles
Not only can Jones and Douglas help get the Eagles into the playoffs, but they can also help reassure Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas that they don’t need to go out and invest serious assets into the CB position.
With Darby becoming a UFA this off-season, it doesn’t seem likely that Howie Roseman will be interested in paying what Darby could make in a free agent market that tends to overpay corners of his speed and age.
Jones can help make the Darby decision even easier with a strong end to the season. The Eagles drafted the former Washington Huskie in the second round with the expectation that when healthy, he could become the CB1 on defense.
Douglas’s situation is a little more interesting. Unlike Jones, Douglas isn’t guaranteed playing time next year.
Jalen Mills is in a contract year and will start in some capacity on defense. Hypothetically, if Darby walks with Jones and Mills taking two CB spots, Douglas would have to convince the Eagles to make some interesting calls.
Rodney McLeod is still under contract next year but if Douglas plays well down the stretch, the Eagles could elect to free up cap space by releasing McLeod, going with either Maddox or Mills at safety, and the other starting in the slot.
If Douglas struggles, it is likely the Eagles go with Jones and Mills on the outside with Maddox in the slot. Not to mention the Eagles would likely strongly consider taking a corner in a deep 2018 draft class.
Splash plays and consistency
For Jones and Douglas to help push the Eagles into the playoffs, and secure future spots in the secondary, they will need to repeat their performances against Washington and avoid the showings they had against the Saints.
While Jones has been consistent, it would go a long way for the Eagles defense if he could come away with some splash plays, preferably turnovers.
Douglas has made the splash plays this year but he needs to find the consistency that Jones has had.
The pressure is on for the CB younglings.
Graham and Agholor are the blueprint for Jones
Brandon Graham and Nelson Agholor should have taught the Eagles about how to handle Sidney Jones.
Louie dives into the criticism, future role, and 2018 evaluation of the 22 year old corner.
Foles in a new jersey will be painful
With Nick Foles on the verge of joining a new team as their starting QB in 2019, how tough will it be to see the 2017 Super Bowl MVP in a new jersey?
Will it be as painful as Dawkins in Denver? How about DeSean Jackson in Washington?
Louie and listeners come up with other former Eagles that were painful to see on different teams.
Wentz-Foles is over
The offseason of Wentz vs Foles debates lasted all about two days. Doug Pederson announced today that Carson Wentz will be the quarterback going forward.
Louie and Gino discuss the news, if it was the right call, and go into what past QB controversy solutions tell us about the decision.