Eagles

The slot cornerback position remains up in the air for the Eagles

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Patrick Robinson was the two biggest loss for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is still looking for his replacement.

Thursday’s dress rehearsal in Cleveland could go a long way towards finding it.

The starting slot cornerback position appears to be down to three candidates, Sidney Jones, De’Vante Bausby and rookie Avonte Maddox, after the team experimented with numerous corners in the nickel spot during OTAs. Schwartz said Monday that nothing has been settled regarding who will be the slot corner come Week 1 against Atlanta.

I think just like everything, we’re still a work in progress. Nothing has been settled there. Each guy brings a little bit different skillset, a little bit different strengths and weaknesses to the position. I think the competition is good. This game will go a long way to deciding who is going to be out there in the opener.

Jones had never played the slot until this spring and it was he and Bausby who were splitting reps with the ones there, but the fourth-round rookie Maddox was running with the first team defense last Thursday. Schwartz was asked how much a guy like Maddox could get out of playing against a living legend like Brady.

Any time you compete against great players it’s going to raise your game up a little bit. I think whether it’s in a pre-season game like that, going against our offense, a lot of times we don’t match groups. You’ll see a lot of different things. You guys don’t watch practice anymore, but I’m sure you saw a lot of times where people were like, ‘Wow, that’s threes against ones.’ That’s part of the evaluation process. You want guys that can raise or maintain the same level of play regardless of who is out there.

When it’s all said and done, if you make our 53-man roster, you’re going to be on the 46 somewhere along the line. And if you’re on our 46, you’re going to play. And if you’re going to play, you’re going to play against guys like Tom Brady and everybody else, and we have to know if you’re going to perform and what chances you have to look good.

He has demonstrated the quickness and mirroring skills he exemplified with the Huskies and hasn’t been afraid to stick his nose in the run game. He did whiff badly attempting to tackle Cordarrelle Patterson on this flip screen Thursday.

Maddox has developed quicker than I thought but still feel like he’s a year away from being consistent. Although he allowed a touchdown to Chris Hogan on Thursday, Maddox had a solid outing. Bausby flashed in the preseason opener and plays with good instincts. The 25-year-old is the oldest cornerback on the roster and has bounced around on three practice squads.

Although Jones never played the slot at Washington, I believe he’ll be the one beginning the season in there. With Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills having stellar offseasons, they is no room for Jones as a starter on the outside, so the slot will have to do for now.

 


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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