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August 13, 2017

Ronald Darby trying to make quick transition into Eagles’ top cornerback

Eagles NFL
081317RonaldDarby Jimmy Kempski/PhillyVoice

This is what Ronald Darby looks like in Eagles green (or white, or whatever).

Only two days after being traded by the Buffalo Bills for a third-round pick and Jordan Matthews, Ronald Darby made his on-field debut at Eagles practice on Sunday. And Jim Schwartz wasted little time inserting the team’s newest cornerback into the starting lineup.

Howie Roseman and the front office knew that they had to address the cornerback position in some fashion, and the coaching staff wasted no time throwing Darby into his new role as the Eagles’ top corner. When the team went through 11-on-11 drills at the NovaCare Complex, he was lined up opposite of Jalen Mills. 

“It was a little bit of pressure, because they kind of got everything down,” Darby said. “So me just coming in, trying to figure everything out, [I’m] just going to continue to study and get better.”

When asked to give an assessment of Darby’s first practice in Philly, Schwartz said that he was simply content with getting the third-year defensive back on the field.

“I mean, I'm watching all 11 guys on defense,” Schwartz said. “You guys are only watching one. You've got to admit, that is the only one you guys were watching, right?”

Schwartz has made light of the media’s fascination with the Eagles defensive back situation a few times over the past few weeks, but he even admitted that he’s excited to have Darby in the fold. For just Sunday’s practice, Schwartz mentioned that Darby wasn’t up to speed on a few of the Eagles’ defensive calls.

That learning process could take some time. Schwartz and Darby, who just missed each other in Buffalo by a few months, both warned that it might take a while for Darby to adjust to the Eagles scheme.

Darby singled out Mills, Patrick Robinson, and Malcolm Jenkins as players that are helping ease his transition.

“To be honest, they’re the teachers because they got the defense down pat,” Darby said. “I’m out here going against a new offense for the first time. It’s just a lot that I have to learn with the verbiage and everything.
 So they’re the ones helping me a lot.”

Darby said that the Eagles' man-to-man coverage principles remind him of Rex Ryan’s defense in Buffalo from his first two years in the league. And speaking of Buffalo, the Bills visit The Linc on Thursday.

“Yeah, it would be a little weird knowing I was just there a few days ago,” he said of playing against his former teammates. “But that’s just how the league works.”

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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