New Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby is expected to make his on-field debut at Sunday's practice. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will meet the media at around 11:30 this morning. You can watch it here on PhiladelphiaEagles.com or the Eagles Mobile App. Until then, here's what you need to know for Sunday, August 13.
1. Former Tryout Receiver Lands Roster Spot With Eagles
The Eagles made a pair of roster moves Saturday afternoon signing wide receiver Keevan Lucas and waiving linebacker Steven Daniels. The 5-10, 198-pound Lucas played with quarterback Dane Evans at Tulsa. Last year, Lucas caught 81 passes for 1,180 yards and scored 15 touchdowns to earn first-team All-AAC honors. The two were tryout players at the Rookie Camp back in May.
Lucas wasn't drafted, but it was a minor setback compared to what he's overcome to end up with the Eagles. He's battled through some injuries - torn meniscus as a senior in high school, torn patellar tendon as a junior at Tulsa before rebounding his senior year.
The strength to withstand adversity was formed as a freshman in high school when he lost his mother to a brain aneurysm three days before losing his grandmother to a heart attack and stroke.
Within three days, he had lost the two most important women in his life at the age of 14.
"With my mom, I couldn't sit down," Lucas told ESPN back in 2012. "They tried to control me, but I'd go in and see her, walk out, cry, come back in, see her, walk out and cry again. I tried going to school, but that didn't help.
"When I lost my grandmother, I was more shocked than anything. They said she died of a heart attack and a stroke at the same time, but I think her death was more so because of my mom's death. My mom worked all her life to take care of her. It's just crazy how things can happen in such a short time. I mean, it was three days."
Now, he's on the Eagles' 90-man roster with a chance to earn some playing time in the final three preseason games.
2. What A Difference A Move Makes
The acquisition of Ronald Darby paints a bright present and future for the state of the cornerback position in Philadelphia. Darby arrived in town on Friday night, and watched Saturday's practice from the sidelines as wide receiver Jordan Matthews had yet to pass his physical in Buffalo.
Darby welcomes the chance to be a part of a cornerback group here that can grow and develop in the years to come.
“I know it’s a young group. I’m a young guy, only 23, and I saw them today and they’re out there working hard and there’s a lot of talent,” Darby said. “The future is looking bright so I just want to go out there and work with them and get better each day.
“It’s very exciting especially in a city like this with great fans and Philadelphia itself. It’s exciting.”
3. Team Effort To Replace Matthews' Production
The Eagles received a starting cornerback with tremendous physical talent in Darby, but now must replace the production out of Jordan Matthews at wide receiver.
An extremely consistent force out of the slot, Matthews had at least 65 catches and 800 yards in each of his three seasons with the team. Some players will have expanded roles in Matthews' absence, but it won't be on one player to fill those shoes.
"We move so many guys in and out of that position that it’s just kind of by design of the offense, the scheme of the offense,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday after a long 2:30 practice at the NovaCare Complex. “With the versatility of some of our running backs that we have with (Darren) Sproles and (Donnel) Pumphrey, we can utilize that position and create some matchups against a defense. The versatility of the position and the flexibility that we have as personnel to put guys in that spot is a benefit.”
4. Who Is Impacted At Cornerback By Darby's Arrival?
Philadelphia is Patrick Robinson's fourth team in four years. He's learned a thing or two about the business of the NFL and did not overreact when he learned of the Darby trade.
"If I was being honest with myself, maybe I didn't perform up to what they thought I should have performed at," the former first-round pick said on Saturday.
"You can't take it personal. You have to be honest with yourself. It's about the team. We're all trying to win and that's the main goal is to win games."
Robinson is here on a one-year deal. Darby now gives the Eagles a stable of young cornerbacks who are 23 years old or younger. Robinson started in the preseason opener on Thursday night against Green Bay. He admitted that he could have been more aggressive, but thought he did OK for his first game. We'll see shortly how the depth chart changes with Darby on the field.