Good morning, Eagles fans! The Eagles will practice today at the NovaCare Complex before traveling to New Orleans tomorrow. Head coach Doug Pederson will address the media at 10:30 a.m., which we will carry live, and the players will speak in the locker room following practice at 1:30 p.m. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft beginning with a much needed return.
1. Sid's Back
Sidney Jones told reporters in the locker room Thursday after he was a full participant in practice that he will be "good to go" for Sunday's game against the Saints.
Jones suffered a hamstring injury in the Eagles' Week 6 victory against the New York Giants and has not played since. While he typically plays at the nickel corner position, he will most likely play on the outside Sunday as the Eagles are without Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. Chris McPherson has more on the much needed return:
"Inside and outside, they're pretty different," Jones said. "But at the end of the day, you play man coverage out here and just lock your guy up. At the end of the day, that's all it comes down to."
In addition, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) returned to practice in a limited capacity. Four other Eagles missed practice on Thursday: cornerbacks Ronald Darby (knee) and Jalen Mills (foot), tight end Joshua Perkins (knee), and running back Darren Sproles (hamstring). Tackle Lane Johnson (knee) was limited while safety Malcolm Jenkins (wrist) was a full participant.
2. Sid's Impact
With Sidney Jones slated to play Sunday in New Orleans and start at an outside cornerback position, it's a reminder that his development will be crucial for the Eagles' defensive success going forward. The second-round pick in 2017 would have been an early-to-mid first-round pick if not for an Achilles injury. He has the physical attributes to be a good cornerback in this league and, in the games he has started at nickel corner, Jones excelled in tackling and has been effective in coverage.
Sunday will be a big test for Jones on the outside against Drew Brees and the Saints' offense. As Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro writes, it could be a sign of what's to come for the Eagles' defense:
The Eagles need Jones to play at a high level given the second-round draft pick investment and the league's obvious open season on defenses. NFL offenses are scoring at a record rate and, let's be honest, it's never been easier to complete a pass in league history. Cornerbacks can't make contact with a wide receiver more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and throws down the field are either completed at a high rate or penalized (on defensive backs) at an even higher rate. In so many ways, a cornerback has the odds stacked against him.
3. Eagle Eye: Slowing The Saints
The Saints' offense is the best in the NFL. In addition to leading the league in scoring with 37.8 points per game, they lead the league in QB rating (123.1), completion percentage (76.7 percent), sacks allowed (9), touchdown efficiency (scoring a touchdown on 40.9 percent of their drives), average starting field position (32.8-yard line), big plays (137.2 passer rating on throws 20-plus yards downfield), and multiple other categories.
Fran Duffy broke down the tape to see what makes Sean Payton's offensive unit so successful. He started with the run game that often gets overlooked behind Brees' historic season:
Ingram is the hammer in the run game. They love getting him downhill between the tackles. He's got really good vision, making him effective both in their zone schemes as well as in their gap schemes. He's very competitive on contact and his play strength is one of his best traits. Ingram isn't just a plow horse inside, however, because he can operate out in space as well. They like him in the screen game, and Ingram is still capable of breaking long runs with the ball in his hands. He's tough to bring down whether it's in a phone booth or out in the open field.
Then we get to Kamara, who is just so much fun to watch, particularly in this scheme. He is a true "satellite" back in that he is moved all around the formation. He lines up in the backfield, in the slot, out wide, and is extremely effective in all three roles. Let's start with him as a runner.