The Eagles have four interceptions in nine games. Just four. Last year, they had 19.
Anyone expecting a flood of them on Sunday when the Eagles visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints aren’t paying attention to the season quarterback Drew Brees is having. Brees has thrown only pick all year, and will now play a secondary that is somewhat depleted.
It is without starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. Darby is out for the season with an ACL tear and his spot on the 53-man roster was taken by De’Vante Bausby, who once upon a time ago played in four games for the Chicago Bears in 2016, when Darby was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday.
Mills will miss his second straight game with a foot injury.
But the Eagles will welcome back Sidney Jones, who will line up on the outside with rookie Avonte Maddox moving back from the safety position he occupied in recent weeks, with Rasul Douglas working opposite Jones. Jones hasn’t played since Oct. 11 after injuring a hamstring.
“Sidney is kind of that young player that still, his body is still developing, tremendous athlete,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “He's going to be a great player for us in this league and on this football team. It's just unfortunate that early in a player's career he's had a couple of setbacks due to injury.
“But, where he's at and what he's done I really see that once he gets this behind him, he gets stronger, he gets bigger, all those things, he learns how to practice and play, he's going to be a really good player.”
As for Douglas, he has one of the four Eagles’ interceptions this season, even though the second-year cornerback has played far fewer defensive snaps than Darby and Maddox, each of whom also has only one. Darby has played more than 500 snaps to Maddox’s more than 300. Douglas has 160 of them. Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill has the other pick this year and has played 147 snaps.
Douglas is always around the ball, it seems. In his final season at West Virginia University, he tied for the most interceptions in the country with eight. He had two picks last year despite playing just 41 percent of the snaps. Now, he will likely have more of an opportunity to play.
“I just want to win,” said Douglas, when asked during the week if he was excited for the chance to show more of what he can do. “I honestly don’t care about anything else. If I play 10 snaps a game and we win, I’m happy. I can go home happy knowing in practice I helped them out them on scout team or did my job in those 10 plays. I think that’s the only thing that matters to everybody in this locker room.”
Winning has been a challenge this season for the Eagles and doing so on Sunday will be an extremely tall order, no matter who is playing cornerback.
“I think for (Douglas) he’s gotta recognize what he does well and then have confidence in himself,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins. “He’s a big, long physical corner that can press, that can play the ball down the field. People really have a hard time with his physicality. He needs to lean on that and trust in it.
“I think as he settles down in that role and that responsibility, he’s one of the more confident guys on our team. He’s a big trash talker, so hopefully he continues to carry that with him.”