Examining the Eagles' endless rash of cornerback injuries


With injuries continuing to plague the cornerback position, the Eagles yesterday signed … 

OK, how many stories have you read in the past 13 months that started out that way?

This time it’s Orlando Scandrick, but one constant of the Eagles since last year started has been cornerback injuries.

Rasul Douglas — knock on wood — is the only regular corner that hasn’t missed extensive time with injuries.

Cornerback injuries decimated the Eagles last year. They started the season in Tampa with Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby as the starters and Avonte Maddox, Douglas and Sidney Jones as the backups and they finished it with Cre’Von LeBlanc, Douglas and Maddox as the starters and Josh Hawkins off the bench.

The carousel hasn’t stopped turning this year. 

LeBlanc is on IR. Mills is on PUP. Darby left the Lions game with a hamstring injury and Jones left the Packers game with a hamstring injury.

The Eagles beat Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Thursday night at Lambeau Field with two healthy corners, one of whom entered the game having never played a regular-season defensive snap.

That was Craig James, who had been on the practice squad two days earlier. He wound up making the defensive play of the season so far, deflecting a last-ditch Aaron Rodgers pass that Nigel Bradham intercepted, sealing the Eagles’ 34-27 win over the Packers.

Now Scandrick, who spent the summer here, is back on the roster, and when he plays against the Jets Sunday he’ll become the 11th cornerback and 20th defensive back to play for the Eagles since opening day 2018. 

But unless Darby is able to get back without missing a game, the Eagles still have only three healthy corners — only one of whom has played more than two snaps in an Eagles uniform.

Mills will be eligible to return for the Cowboys game on Oct. 20. LeBlanc will be eligible two weeks later. There’s a kid named Ajene Harris on the practice squad.

But four games into the season, the Eagles find themselves in the same predicament they’ve been in for most the last two years.

Trying to cobble together a healthy, productive cornerback rotation in an age where three- and four-receiver sets are the norm and the Eagles face a Hall of Fame quarterback seemingly every other week.

“It’s challenging,” Doug Pederson said. “It is challenging. Just like it was with the receivers, now it's affecting the defensive backs. So it's a challenging deal. Fortunately, we have some days here to get guys healthy.”

That said, here’s a look at the Eagles’ cornerback injuries and roster movement on a day-to-day basis since last year began. I didn’t include players the Eagles signed and released during the offseason who were never on the 53-man roster or practice squad during the season:

Eagles' cornerback activity since 2018
Sept. 2, 2018: Signed De’Vante Bausby to the practice squad
Sept. 2, 2018: Signed Chandon Sullivan to the practice squad
Sept. 11, 2018: Released De’Vante Bausby from the practice squad 
Oct. 11, 2018: Sidney Jones left Giants game with hamstring injury
Oct. 16, 2018: Signed Dexter McDougle
Oct. 25, 2018: Promoted Chandon Sullivan to the 53-man roster
Oct. 28, 2018: Jalen Mills left Jaguars game with shin injury
Nov. 5, 2018: Claimed Cre’Von LeBlanc off waivers from the Lions
Nov. 5, 2018: Released Dexter McDougle
Nov. 5: Signed De’Vante Bausby to the practice squad
Nov. 17: Promoted De’Vante Bausby to the active roster
Nov. 17: Placed Ronald Darby on Injured Reserve (knee)
Nov. 18: Ronald Darby left Saints game with knee injury 
Nov. 18: Sidney Jones left Saints game with knee injury
Nov. 18: Avonte Maddox left Saints game with knee injury
Nov. 20: Signed Jeremiah McKinnon to the practice squad
Dec. 8: Placed Jalen Mills on Injured Reserve (foot)
Dec. 9: Sidney Jones left Cowboys game with hamstring injury
Dec. 11: Signed Josh Hawkins to the practice squad
Dec. 24: Promoted Josh Hawkins to the active roster
Dec. 24: Released De’Vante Bausby
Dec. 24: Released Chandon Sullivan
Dec. 26: Signed Chandon Sullivan to the practice squad
Jan. 14: Signed Jeremiah McKinnon to future contract
Jan. 14: Signed Chandon Sullivan to future contract
March 15: Signed Ronald Darby 
May 1: Waived Chandon Sullivan
May 10: Signed Jay Liggins
July 26: Claimed Alex Brown off waivers
July 27: Signed Orlando Scandrick
Aug. 4: Signed Ajene Harris
Aug. 16: Released Jay Liggins
Aug. 31: Placed Jalen Mills on PUP
Sept. 2: Signed Cre’Von LeBlanc
Sept. 2: Placed Cre’Von LeBlanc on Injured Reserve (foot)
Sept. 2: Signed Craig James to the practice squad
Sept. 11: Promoted Craig James to the 53-man roster
Sept. 12: Signed Ajene Harris to the practice squad
Sept. 17: Released Craig James
Sept. 18: Signed Craig James to the practice squad
Sept. 22: Ronald Darby left Lions game with hamstring injury
Sept. 24: Promoted Craig James to the active roster
Sept. 26: Sidney Jones left Packers game with hamstring injury
Sept. 26: Avonte Maddox left Packers game with concussion and neck injury
Sept. 27: Signed Orlando Scandrick 

And here’s a look at the 10 cornerbacks the Eagles have used since opening day last year with the number of starts they’ve made first and the number of games they’ve played second:

Rasul Douglas: 11-22
Avonte Maddox: 14-19
Ronald Darby: 12-12
Jalen Milles: 8-8
Sidney Jones: 7-13
Cre'Von LeBlanc: 1-10
De'Vante Bausby: 1-6
Chandon Sullivan: 1-5
Dexter McDougle: 1-2
Josh Hawkins: 0-3
Craig James: 0-2

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