Welcome to the latest edition of the Bleeding Green Nation mailbag! Each weekend I'll be taking some of your Philadelphia Eagles questions and answering them here in this post. As always, thanks to everyone who sent in a question. If you want to send me questions for future mailbag posts, follow me on Twitter: @BrandonGowton. Let's get started.
@smithtyler42 asks: In an ideal situation, if Sidney Jones' Achilles is fully healed by October, our cornerback situation goes from questionable to _______? And what do you think the likelihood of said ideal situation is, with all cornerbacks healthy and playing to their full potential?
My version of a realistic ideal situation for the Eagles with Sidney Jones is that he does not play at all in 2017.
I mean, yeah, the ultimate ideal is that he’d be ready by Week 1. But that’s not happening. There’s currently no timetable for Jones’ return.
I think the Eagles have every reason to be cautious with Jones, as I wrote about a few weeks ago.
Role: There’s a very real chance the injured Jones doesn’t suit up for the Eagles at all in 2017. And that’s very much okay. Personally, I think it makes all the sense in the world to not play Jones this year. Even if he fully recovers at some point during the season, he will have already missed all of OTAs/training camp. The Eagles should just be patient with him and make sure he’s fully ready by 2018. In addition, not playing Jones in 2017 means he’d become a restricted free agent (as opposed to an unrestricted free agent) when his rookie contract is up.
Prediction: Jones starts the season on the non-football injury (NFI) list, which acts just like the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. By having Jones on NFI, he won’t be taking up a roster spot. By rule, he’ll have to miss the first six weeks of the season. From there, the Eagles will have a five week window where they can decide if he’s ready to start practicing. If/once Jones starts practicing, the Eagles will then have 21 days to either activate him or shut him down for the season. If I were calling shots for the Eagles, I’d let Jones practice for three weeks and then place him on the season-ending injured reserve list. This way he gets to experience some practice reps without ever counting against Philadelphia’s roster limit.
I just can’t expect Jones to suddenly be a difference maker by October. Maybe I’m being too cautious, but I’d rather have that mindset than expect something out of him and be disappointed when he doesn’t deliver.
The realistic ideal situation at cornerback for the Eagles this year is that Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas step up and produce enough big plays to make up for the big plays they’ll likely give up at times. I do think Douglas will be more of a rotational player, at least at first, however, with Patrick Robinson taking a lot of reps this season. The nickel cornerback job will be worth keeping an eye on because it looks like Aaron Grymes, who’s had a strong offseason, could end up being the main guy there.
@casey_young52 asks: Are the Eagles still "comfortable" with the CB situation? Any veterans coming for training camp to battle for a spot back there?
I don’t see the Eagles signing any notable corners at this point. Don’t get your hopes up for Darrelle Revis. I think they know corner is a weakness but at the same time they’ll “comfortable” enough with Mills/Robinson/Douglas as the main contributors. If there was a new addition to be made at corner, which I don’t think there will be, I’d guess it would be through a trade. I’m not ready to give up on the Eagles getting Kyle Fuller.
They do. They wouldn’t have signed him otherwise.
Keeping Jeffery really shouldn’t be a problem unless there’s some weird circumstance due to injury/suspension. The Eagles will have plenty of time after the season ends to negotiate a deal with him. In the worst case scenario, the Eagles can always tag Jeffery to prevent him from leaving in free agency and continue to work out an extension with him.
@nickt_15 asks: What are the chances rookie wide receiver Shelton Gibson gets cut? Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins should all make it. Could Gibson be cut? Also, if he doesn't make the 53 man roster, will he be on our practice squad? He seems to have some potential, just needs to work on routes.
Fair question. Gibson didn’t have a very encouraging spring. He dropped passes on a daily basis in individual drills when there was no defense covering him. He had a nice moment here and there during team drills, but overall he struggled.
I’d say there’s a real chance he might not make the final roster. I wouldn’t say it’s a guarantee since there’s time for him to turn things around in training camp and preseason.
The ideal situation might be stashing Gibson away on the injured reserve list if he gets hurt this summer. Otherwise he could just end up being a healthy scratch each week. The Eagles could try to sneak him through to the practice squad, but I think some desperate team out there might be willing to take a chance on his raw speed.
Again, let’s give Gibson some more time this summer before we write him off completely.
@nickdevir asks: Haven't heard anything about Rodney McLeod lately. How's he looked in OTAs?
I wrote this about McLeod on Friday:
Rodney McLeod had a good spring but we already know he’s good so it didn’t get as much attention.
@W4RGEI5T asks: Why is DGB surprised at his lack of opportunity in OTAs?
DGB won’t have much more time to be surprised. His days as an Eagles player are numbered.
@a148all asks: Jeremy Maclin or Jordan Matthews, who's better?
Jeremy Maclin, but that’s obviously irrelevant for the Eagles now.
@AlexFischer_65 asks: Do you think Carson Wentz likes pineapple on his pizza?
I’d be surprised. I think he’s probably more of a pepperoni guy, which is always the right way to go.