August 06, 2017
Carson Wentz put together an excellent performance for the 30,000 Eagles fans at The Linc on Sunday, and the second-year quarterback’s improved play through two weeks has certainly been one of the storylines of training camp.
The other big story, though, is who Wentz has been throwing against. The Eagles roster appeared to have a major hole at cornerback as camp started, and through a couple of weeks, the defensive backs have done very little to ease any concerns.
“Everybody on our 90-man roster has shown up somewhere, but being consistent and winning match-ups consistently, we're still a work in progress there,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz admitted before practice. “I don't think that's any secret.”
Jalen Mills is the de facto top corner despite an up-and-down rookie season (admittedly one that you would expect from a seventh-round pick). Free-agent signing Patrick Robinson typically lines up as the other starter, but even he would tell you that his play hasn’t been up to par.
The Eagles signed Corey Graham this week, and we’ll see if Schwartz can find a way to deploy three safeties in some packages. But on the outside, a player that the Eagles surely would like to see step up is recent third-round pick Rasul Douglas. But Schwartz, who is usually very honest in his assessment of players, was quick to point out Douglas’ inconsistency during camp so far.
“He's not only trying to learn all the nuances of the scheme, he's trying to be consistent with technique,” Schwartz said. “Sometimes I think it feels like every time he gets like a finger in the dyke, so to speak. Another leak pops somewhere else and that's what happens with rookies.”
For Schwartz, Douglas’ inconsistency has little to do with his physical ability. Mostly, he sees a rookie struggling to learn a new scheme and some techniques that the Eagles teach. Schwartz told a story about how confident Douglas looked at rookie mini-camp, when there wasn’t an information overload.
“We had nothing in, I mean nothing,” Schwartz said. “It was simple as could be, but he was very confident, he was very competitive, and he showed really well, and what happened is the more stuff that you put in, it took away from some of that other stuff. Eventually it all circles back. It does for every player.”
At one point of his media availability, Schwartz said with a smile, “We’re really hitting the corners, aren’t we?” But heading into the season, you would figure that he’ll spend a lot of his time thinking about that specific position group, including Douglas.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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