After losing to the reeling Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles were dealt a huge blow to their already thin secondary on Monday.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced at his day-after press conference that cornerback Ronald Darby suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Darby suffered the apparent injury in the middle of the third quarter, after coming up gimpy while covering a Cowboys wide receiver. It was announced shortly after he left the field, that the 24-year-old cornerback would not be returning to the game with a knee injury.
With Darby now on the shelf for the season, the Eagles have lost their second starting member of the secondary in as many weeks. In Week 3, Philadelphia saw safety Rodney McLeod walk off the field under his own power, before it was announced that he was done with a torn MCL.
In nine games started this season, Darby had 43 total tackles, 12 pass deflections, and an interception. He also played 97 percent of defensive snaps, which was second behind veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Darby, who was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, is in the final year of his rookie deal and now might miss out on a lucrative contract in free agency.
Heading into Sunday’s game against Dallas, the Eagles’ secondary was already leaking oil due to numerous injuries. Second-year cornerback Sidney Jones was out with a hamstring injury and is reportedly day-to-day.
However, third-year cornerback Jalen Mills, who is the other outside cornerback spot, missed the game with a foot injury. Pederson did not sound too optimistic when it came to a possible return for Mills.
The news of Darby missing the rest of the season could not have come at a worse time for the Eagles, who are currently 4-5 and still have a slight chance to make the playoffs.
The Eagles’ next game will be on the road against the high-powered New Orleans Saints, who scored 51 points versus the Cincinnati Bengals.
If Jones cannot play against the Saints, Philly’s starting cornerbacks could realistically be Rasul Douglas, Cre’von LeBlanc and Chandon Sullivan. That is a recipe for disaster for the Eagles and a potential feast for quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints wide receivers.
In Sunday’s game, Douglas struggled with a couple of man-to-man situations, allowing Cowboys wide receivers to get separation for quarterback Dak Prescott.
Therefore, the second-year cornerback out of West Virginia will have to play almost perfect next Sunday as he may have the tough draw of covering Mike Thomas.
It should be interesting to see what type of game plan defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz draws up for this must-win game. He might have to lean on the bend but don’t break style heavily throughout the game, which means there will be a ton of yards allowed in New Orleans.