Strong safety Sean Jones had 14 interceptions over the past three seasons. But when he was signed to a one-year deal in the off-season, the Eagles didn't anoint him a starter. Instead, Jones is competing with second-year safety Quintin Demps for the starting free safety spot opposite of Quintin Mikell.
For Jones to win the job, he has to show the playmaking ability that helped him coup all of those interceptions as a member of the Browns. He finally showed it off in the live two-minute drill at Thursday morning's practice. Jones was set to blitz the quarterback. However, Jason Avant was lined up in the slot. Jones realized that if he blitzed Avant would have been left wide open in the end zone. The defense called out of the blitz. Avant ran a slant. Donovan McNabb had a window and fired the ball in there. The ball was in Avant's arms, but Jones knocked it into the air and he wrangled it for the pick.
The drill was over. No points for the offense.
"We needed it. It was a big play for us," Jones said.
This play showed Jones' increased comfort level with the defense. In Cleveland, he played in a 3-4 scheme. Here, in Philadelphia, it's a very aggressive 4-3 scheme. Jones has his eye on winning the starting free safety job. He believes that at some point this season he will win the job.
"I still want to be one of the good safeties in this league and I'm striving for that everyday," Jones said. "It's still a goal in my head. I'm going to be ready whenever the time comes for me. When I get out there, I'm going to be a productive safety and I can't wait for that opportunity."
Jones' 6-1, 220-pound frame and hard-hitting ability is more suited for the strong safety spot. But Jones thinks that he and Mikell can work in the same backfield together citing that they are both strong, physical safeties who have the ability to cover.
Of course, Demps is in the way and has had a very good training camp of his own. He doesn't look ready to cede the job anytime soon.
"This is (Demps') first year trying to compete and really play legitimately and be one of the guys," Jones said. "It's my first year, too, with the Eagles. We're both trying to learn and become better each and every day. We're both excited for the opportunity to go out there and play and win some games."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 7:12 p.m., August 6