What's all the fuss over a backup safety?
Well, there really isn't a commotion yet over strong safety Sean Jones, but he certainly wants to create one by the time the season starts in September.
"I definitely want to be out there and be a starter," Jones said. "I definitely have to go out there and work hard and prove that I deserve to be on the field. I still have to learn the defense, continue to get better and better."
Slight problem. Quintin Mikell is a second-team All-Pro at Jones' strong safety spot. Many would think Jones would compete with second-year player Quintin Demps for the free safety spot, but coordinator Jim Johnson declared at the post-draft mini-camp that Jones is going to work on the strong side. And Demps took the reps with the first-team at the free safety spot.
So, what do the Eagles do with a hard-hitting safety - think of a more athletic Michael Lewis – whose cover ability has netted 14 interceptions since 2006? In fact, Jones is one of only four NFL players to have at least four picks in each of the last three seasons. The others? Ed Reed, Charles Woodson and new teammate Asante Samuel. Pretty good company.
Expect Johnson to unleash a number of three-safety sets as he did at the end of last season. Jones can line up as a hybrid linebacker-safety in the box. Or Johnson said that he likes Demps' ability to blitz, so he can be unleashed and Jones can drop back in coverage or pick up the hot route.
The Mad Scientist will certainly have some tools to work with. Jones just has to master the scheme, which is much different than playing the 3-4 scheme in Cleveland for the past five seasons.
"I think it's different because everything is opposite of what we did in Cleveland. I'm still trying to grasp everything," Jones said. "We still have a long way to go. There's a lot of new faces, a lot of new guys in the secondary. We're going to develop that this off-season and the competition brings out the best in everybody."
You can't wait for the players to put the pads on in training camp.