Philadelphia Eagles News

Jones Emerging At Safety

With starting free safety Macho Harris listed as questionable for the Giants game with an ankle sprain, veteran safety Sean Jones, who signed as a free agent in the off-season, may get his first start as an Eagle.

Head coach Andy Reid said that Jones will replace Harris in the starting lineup if Harris is unable to go, and that Jones will be able to step in right away and be effective. Jones, 27, was previously a starting strong safety in Cleveland.

"Our safeties are interchangeable," said Reid. "It doesn't matter if you're free or strong; you line up all over the place and have the same responsibilities."

"You come in with an experienced safety, number one, who has played in the league for a number of years," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott of Jones. "He's seen things that even we can't draw up on the chalkboard for him. The communication aspect needs to remain the same, number one, and we need to have a physical presence in there. That's what Sean brings to the table."

After starting the season primarily playing only special teams, Jones has been incorporated more into the defense the past few weeks.

"I've played different positions here. I've played strong, free, and dime," he said. "This league, it's a very long season, and whether your role changes, it varies. It's all dependent on you how you take it. In the beginning, my role was on special teams and I went out there and played the best that I could, tried to help my team that way. Now, my role has been bumped up a little bit, playing safety, and I'm going to go out there and do the best I can.

"It's going to be a challenge for us to go out there and play good style football against the Giants but I think we're up to the challenge and I can't wait to go out there and get a win."

Jones admits that he thought he would make more of an immediate impact on the Eagles, but he's glad to be able to contribute now.

"I don't want to say it's been tough, but I've been anxious, I've been waiting," he said. "I've been praying for the opportunity and this week I'm going to get an opportunity to go out there and play and I'm going to make the best of it.

"I just kept focused, kept at it. I kept grinding and kept working. I know this a long season and anything can happen on any play, so I was always ready. I'm going to continue to be ready for whatever may come up, so it's fun trying to come out there and play safety again. Special teams is great, but my heart and my love is to play this game of football at safety."

Part of the reason it took Jones a little while to make an impact defensively is the intricate nature of the Eagles' defense.

"If you look overall over the years at free agents coming into this system, defensively, it takes some time for them to master the system to the point where they can play and execute," said McDermott.

"The Eagles have a great scheme and there's a lot of detail in it so in order to detail your work you have to practice at it," Jones said. "You have to study at it, you've got to work at it. It's coming along pretty good."

Jones has indeed worked hard on and off the field, and he's caught the eye of the man he be sharing the safety position with come Sunday.

"It's been tremendous," said Quintin Mikell. "He's really stepped up. He's been asked to do a lot, especially these last couple week. He's a smart guy. He already picked the system up pretty early but now he's able to apply it on the field and he's doing a good job there.

"He brings experience. He's been in the NFL for a while. He's been a starter so he brings experience. And obviously he's a ball-hawk, he makes plays on the ball. I'm not saying that guys that were here weren't doing that, but he brings another element with his size to doing that."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:18 p.m., October 30

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