When the Eagles signed former Cleveland Brown defender Sean Jones in the offseason’s free agency period, they expected to get a top-notch Safety with excellent starting qualities. However, the 27-year-old failed to stay in true competition for the Free Safety job, and eventually lost his chance at beginning the season as the starter to 5th-round Draft pick Macho Harris. After a move back to his natural Strong Safety position and four games of special teams and reserve play, it was looking as if Jones(pictured) was on pace for little to no significant impacts on the team all year.
But the Eagles decided to begin incorporating him more into the defensive schemes, and over the last two weeks, the Jones that the team planned on getting when they acquired him started to show. Coming onto the field as an extra defensive back and occasional pass rusher, Jones started to experience success on the defensive side of the ball, and saw action at both Free and Strong Safety spots. Against Oakland two games ago, he was able to record a pair of tackles, a pass deflection, and assist pressure the Raiders on passing plays. Last week versus Washington, the 6′1″, 220 lb. secondary member racked up 6 tackles, another pass deflection, and played solidly against both running and passing plays the Redskins ran.
With starter Macho Harris listed as “Questionable” for the game this weekend with a sprained ankle, Jones may step in as the number 1 at the FS position, the spot he was projected to capture in the time leading up to the season. Should Harris be held out, Jones would start while 2nd-year FS Quintin Demps would play the backup role. Officially, Demps is listed as the team’s second Free Safety, but because of Jones’ recent performances and the complete play of Quintin Mikell at SS, the logical situation would be to keep Demps an emergency reserve.
This potential starting opportunity for Jones not only gives the veteran a chance at regaining confidence and motivation for the season, but it also gives the Eagles a chance to possibly evaluate his skills further, and allow a battle-tested experienced player to lead the defensive backfield rather than a league freshman (no offense to Harris). Besides, quite a few of Jones’ teammates, as well as his coaching staff feel very confident he will be able to get the job done if called upon:
“[His play has] been tremendous,” said leading SS Quintin Mikell. “He’s really stepped up. He’s been asked to do a lot, especially these last couple week. He’s a smart guy. He already picked the system up pretty early but now he’s able to apply it on the field and he’s doing a good job there.” Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott also commented: “You come in with an experienced safety, number one, who has played in the league for a number of years,” “He’s seen things that even we can’t draw up on the chalkboard for him. The communication aspect needs to remain the same, number one, and we need to have a physical presence in there. That’s what Sean brings to the table.”