It's been a quiet first couple of games for Sidney Jones in his second NFL season.
That's a good thing.
Because while Jones has played 76 plays (or 59 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps), he hasn't been tested very much yet. A quiet day can often mean a really good one for a cornerback.
Through two games, Jones hasn't done anything to move me off my position that he's going to be a special player. The only thing that's changed is that now I'm starting to wonder if the Eagles are going to need to give him an expanded role sooner.
Things have been really quiet for Jones through two games. In fact, while Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were in the middle of blowing coverages and missing tackles, Jones was the Eagles' corner who played well against the Bucs. The opposing passer rating of 60.4 when Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted him in the game was the lowest for any slot corner in the league in Week 2, according to ProFootballFocus.
Jones, 22, has played really well, even if he's humble about it.
"Not bad, I would say," Jones answered when asked how he thinks he's played so far. "Hasn't been too much action really. But pretty good."
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I'm not saying it's time to bench Darby or Mills. That would be too reactionary, and let's face it, Jim Schwartz isn't going to do that right now anyway.
But I wonder how much it would take before the Eagles would be willing to make a move. With how much depth there is at corner, I'd have to imagine that leashes are a tad shorter these days.
While most of Jones' work in practice comes in the slot, he said he gets a few reps at outside corner in scout team. And even though he won't say which one he prefers to play more, he clearly still projects as an outside corner, one who doesn't leave the field. Mills has played in the slot before, so he could do it again if the Eagles wanted to get Jones outside, where his talents might be better utilized.
Because Jones doesn't just project as an outside corner. He projects as the type of talent who will be able to chase the opposing team's best receiver around the field. Think Jones on Odell Beckham Jr. for the next half a decade.
That's the reason why it's going to be so good for Jones' career to get these reps as the nickel corner now. It helps him in the short-term because Schwartz values versatility and Jones understands that. But in two years, when we're watching Jones play left, right and inside on guys like OBJ, we'll think back to this time in the slot as the time that helped him develop a better all-around game.
Jones was asked if he's aware of the high expectations and hopes Eagles fans have for him; he is. But he says he doesn't let it affect his game.
He played just one game at the end of the 2017 season after coming back from that torn Achilles that dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles' lap at No. 43. Now, he's completely healthy and is settling into a rhythm as a major contributor on this defense.
Don't even ask him about his Achilles.
"I don't want to hear no more talk about injuries," Jones said. "We're way beyond that now. It's good."
I fully expect Mills and Darby to recover from their bad games in Tampa. They're both good players. They both deserve the benefit of the doubt.
But Jones looks ready. I don't know how long the Eagles can hold him back.