The first full-padded practice brought physicality and grit on Saturday at the NovaCare Complex. One position group that took advantage of this unofficial real start to Training Camp was the cornerbacks, specifically Sidney Jones. His determination to find a consistent spot on this team was highlighted today with an impressive interception, arguably the play of the day.
"It was a run fake, the receiver downblocked, and I thought he was going to block Malcolm (Jenkins)," Jones said. "So that's my key to shoot for the run. But it was a fake, so I noticed it like a second late. He (Mack Hollins) got downfield and I'm chasing him. I didn't panic. I stayed calm, turned my head, found the ball, and then use my ball skills from there."
The University of Washington product is no stranger to going the extra mile for interceptions. During his time as a Husky, he recorded nine of them which is the second most in the program since 1996.
Since being drafted in the second round by the Eagles in 2017, Jones has filled any role that the team has asked. With starts at both nickel and on the outside, his versatility makes him a candidate for more action in 2019.
"It's huge," Jones said on having experience at both positions. "It is one of the more underappreciated things that I've dealt with. I'm an outside corner, so going to play inside, it's kind of something new. I just took it for what it is; I'm going to play and help contribute to this team. Looking back at it, if somebody goes down, I have the confidence to go in there and step up, nickel, corner, wherever it is."
While the ability to move around on defense has helped Jones excel, injuries have kept him from reaching his potential. Jones spent the majority of his rookie year rehabbing a pre-draft Achilles injury. After finally getting the chance to play from the start of last season, his chances were cut short with a nagging hamstring injury that ended his year after Week 14. This past offseason, his took strides in his personal growth off the field to help him reach his ultimate form. He grew up in a religious environment but took that a step further by getting baptized just prior to Training Camp.
"I continue to stress my faith and make that something that's a daily routine and keep God first," Jones said. "Growing up, I always believe, believe, believe. But this is like a whole 'nother level where you get baptized and you grow within yourself. I'm a grown man now. ... I've taken those steps to really get close with God and make that a priority."
As he enters his third season, Jones is ready to help this team succeed by any means necessary. The cornerback room is filled with talent, but Jones is prepared to make his presence known.
"All I can do is come out here and get one percent better every day," Jones said. "Make sure I'm trying to reach perfection in terms of every day on the field. Being assignment sound and having the coach basically have the trust in me going forward. Whether it's me contributing on special teams or on the field with defense or whatever it is, I'm just trying to contribute to this team."