It could be brushed aside as a generic comment. But it shouldn’t be. It sure sounded like Doug Pederson was calling out his injured cornerback.
Sidney Jones has been fighting his way back from a sore hamstring ever since the Packers game. After leaving the Week 4 matchup mid-game, Jones slowly worked up to practice speed last week and the coaching staff penciled him in to start against Jets.
That didn’t happen. Jones suffered a setback on Sunday and never took a snap. Instead, Craig James took the starting cornerback slot opposite Rasul Douglas. It was his first career start.
On Wednesday, Doug Pederson seemed to hint that Jones wasn’t doing everything in his power to return. The Eagles head coach made it sound like the third-year player should be pushing a little harder to play. He also indicated that Jones’ conditioning isn’t where it should be for a professional athlete.
“I think from a player’s standpoint I think sometimes, too, you sort of have to push yourself, breakthrough that threshold, and push yourself through that and feel that level of comfort as an athlete,” Pederson told reporters. “We monitor these guys every day with the amount of running and conditioning. Sometimes it’s even extra conditioning for guys as they are healthy and can do that just to stay on top of this stuff.”
Jones has been a lightning rod for injuries since being taken in the second round of the 2017 draft. He’s only played in 14 out of a possible 48 games, including seven starts. Jones was shut down last year after hurting his hamstring, one year after sitting out with a brutal Achilles’ tendon tear.
Jones is officially listed questionable to play this week versus Minnesota, although the Eagles are expecting him to go. He was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice.
Pederson, who has watched several players incur soft tissue ailments this year, defended the medical staff when discussing Jones’ injury history. Maybe it’s time for the oft-injured cornerback to accept some of the blame.
“Everybody is built a little bit differently and the body gets tugged and pulled in different ways,” Pederson said, “but we do everything we can through our medical staff to keep them healthy and try to prevent as best we can.”