Sidney Jones Back With Eagles, Preparing Like He's Going to Play | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Sidney Jones Back With Eagles, Preparing Like He's Going to Play

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    Sidney Jones Back With Eagles, Preparing Like He's Going to Play
    CSNPhilly.com
    Sidney Jones back with Eagles, preparing like he's going to play

    Sidney Jones will spend every day doing the exact same thing the other Eagles cornerbacks are doing - getting ready to play football.

    The only difference is that when the season begins, Jones will just be watching.

    The Eagles are involving Jones in every facet of preparation for the 2017 football season … other than practice.

    Jones, expected to be a high first-round pick in this year's draft, fell to the Eagles at No. 43 in the second round after suffering a torn Achilles during his pro day in March.

    "It won't be a lost year," defensive backs coach Cory Undlin said Monday. "Whenever he comes back, he's going to be behind, but he's showing up every single day like he's going to play this year. 

    "Now is he? I have no idea. He has no idea. But we are going about our business on a daily basis like he's going to play, so his mindset has to be exactly the same. Will he be a little bit behind? He'll be behind because he hasn't had these reps."

    Jones has said he plans to be back in action by October, but the Eagles have been careful not to attach any timetable to his return. It could be late this year or maybe not until next year.

    But when he does come back, they believe they'll have a first-round caliber cornerback who will still be only 22 years old on opening day 2018.

    "My expectation is he's going to be back and be the same player," Undlin said. "Only time will tell on that. I have no idea when that's going to be. That'll be when the doctors tell me he's ready."

    After missing the voluntary OTAs because of an archaic NCAA rule regarding his class' graduation date, Jones is at the NovaCare Complex this week for mandatory camp.

    Jones said Tuesday he's not doing any interviews until he plays, but Undlin spoke highly of the former Washington Huskie when he met with reporters on Monday.

    "There's a lot that stood out on his tape," he said. "Competitiveness, effort, change of direction, ball skills, he can find it down the field, which is obviously imperative for us. I like everything about him.

    "The guy's a good player. Great control of his body, violent in and out of his breaks, guy plays with his hair on fire. He checks off all the boxes. Smart kid, asks a lot of questions, which is exactly what I expected him to do." 

    Undlin kept in touch with Jones during the three weeks of OTAs via FaceTime. The plan right now is for Jones to remain in Philadelphia between the end of minicamp on Thursday and the start of training camp on July 24 to rehab with the Eagles' medical people.

    When training camp begins, he'll likely spend most of the practices inside doing rehab but will be out on the field watching some drills.

    Whenever he does get back, he'll almost certainly be an instant starter.

    Undlin said Jones made an immediate impression on him and the other coaches and scouts when they sat down to meet him at the combine.

    "In the interview process, it's me, Howie (Roseman), Joe (Douglas), Jim (Schwartz), and we're sitting in this little room and the kid sits down," Undlin said.

    "You can talk to somebody for a minute, maybe less, and, OK, you just know [he's a player]. So that part of it [is] about his makeup and his mindset. 

    "And then you watch the tape and you see him on the pro day stuff, and it's pretty [impressive]. … Just looking at a straight corner being able to pedal, transition. 

    "The difference in my mind between good corners and the ones that are not just good but like really good - great - are the ones that when the wide receiver stops, they stop. And when the wideout goes down and gets out, the corner, with a little bit of awareness and anticipation, can hopefully go down and hopefully match that angle and not have circles and all that other stuff. 

    "His ability to drop his body and get his feet in the ground and come out with violence and efficiency, it's special."