Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz knew that all eyes at Sunday's practice were on new cornerback Ronald Darby.
"I'm watching all 11 guys on defense. You guys are only watching one. You've got to admit, that is the only one you guys were watching, right?" Schwartz joked with reporters at his post-practice press conference.
The Eagles' acquisition of the third-year player provides a lot of options for Schwartz and the defense. Schwartz is open to the possibility of having Darby shadow the other team's best receiver. The Eagles could utilize Patrick Robinson as the slot cornerback, as was the case on Sunday. The challenge for Schwartz is to find out who will comprise the best secondary on Sundays this fall.
"I think it does elevate the level of competition. I think that obviously, it adds talent to the defense. But how it all works out, it's going to be our job over the next three weeks," Schwartz said. "Just like today, it's not a finished product. Obviously, it's his first day, but he's got some catching up to do in our scheme. But it's exciting to have him."
Here are some of Schwartz's thoughts on how the defense performed in Thursday's preseason opener.
On rookie defensive end Derek Barnett: "It looks a lot different, obviously, when you can finish the quarterback. He had a great hit on a screen one time. He's a slippery guy. There are some things he can do better. He had a couple sort of wasted rushes where we weren't in sync with our front four," Schwartz said. "Sort of what you expect from a rookie as you start. But obviously, two sacks on a limited number of reps - that kind of production, you expect from a first rounder."
On rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas: "I thought he played very well in the game. I don't remember if I said this before, but one of the things that's impressed me about Rasul, is every time we've taken a step up in competition, he's sort of met that challenge, you know, and it might not look the same on a normal practice, but on our first padded practice, he really stood out. First preseason game, I thought he stood out," Schwartz said.
"He's got great length. He can get his hands on balls. He responded quickly to things that happened in the game. Did a couple nice things on special teams, too, and that's important for young corners. So he's on the right track."
On the depth at defensive tackle: "I'd sort of start with a guy like Destiny (Vaeao). I think Destiny has really had a good camp," Schwartz said. "There were some opportunities since Beau (Allen) has been down, and Destiny has really taken advantage of those. I think also, probably for about the last week, (Elijah) Qualls has really been on the rise. Really since he came back from his injury, he's been hard to handle. He made some plays in the game. You sort of expect that from guys like Fletch (Fletcher Cox) and Timmy (Tim Jernigan), but it's been exciting to see some of the younger guys. Justin Hamilton's had an outstanding camp. Gabe (Wright) has done well. Gabe did some good things in the game."