The Philadelphia Eagles D.C. answers two questions we’ve asked all Summer.
If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you’ve no doubt, been having the same conversations with different people and fellow fans since March. You don’t have to say anything or answer this out loud, but how many times have you asked yourself about whether or not Philly moved on from Malcolm Jenkins too early and whether or not Jalen Mills is an experienced enough or capable replacement
Then, there’s this, and it’s a big one. Who in the heck is going to start at the other starting cornerback position on the other side of the newly-acquired Darius Slay?
Fear not “Birds” fans, training camp is in full swing, and with it comes Zoom meetings with coaches and players. Thanks to a global health crisis, this will have to do until real press conferences can take place again, but on the final day of the seventh month, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took about twenty minutes to sit with several members of the Philly media. A lot of good stuff came out of this one.
So, what’s up with that Mills position switch, and who is the other Philadelphia Eagles starting cornerback?
After missing on both Byron Jones, who signed with the Miami Dolphins and James Bradberry, officially one of the newer New York Giants, Eagles vice president and general manager Howie Roseman had his version of a makeup date with the Philly faithful. Like a forgetful husband on an anniversary, good old Howie knew he had to do something, and he did by trading for Darius Slay and immediately signing him to a contract extension.
Just like that, he takes over as Philly’s top cover guy on the depth chart. The “Birds” also added Nickell Robey-Coleman, who will serve as the team’s slot corner. The question is who’s the other starting corner? Keep in mind the fact that even though, at the time of this story being published, Jalen Mills is still listed on the roster as a cornerback, we’ve all felt for some time that he’s transitioning to the safety position to take over for the departed Malcolm Jenkins.
Here’s some of what Schwartz had to say.
"I think Jalen’s in a little bit different position because he’s not learning a new defense. He’s learning a new position within the defense… Jalen’s a good leader for us… He’s tough. He brings an edge to our defense, and I think you might even see that a little bit more when he’s inside right there at the safety position as opposed to being all the way out on the perimeter."
In reference to that other starting cornerback role, the D.C. puts it this way.
"That’s what the abbreviated training camp that we’ll have will decide. There will be open competition in there… It’s not just on Slay to know inside and outside, which we have a real good comfort level with and feel like he can do that, but now it’s going to put all of your corners, your safeties, and your nickels just a little bit more into… they have to be a little bit more multidimensional"
Honestly, what did we expect other than that for an answer? Conventional thinking will lead us to the theory that the favorite might be Avonte Maddox or Sidney Jones. Cre’Von LeBlanc figures to be the backup slot guy as Rasul Douglas seemed to fall out of favor with the coaches towards the end of last season. In other words, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.