PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Welcome to the Eagles, Ronald Darby.
The newest member of the Eagles secondary was on the field for his first practice Sunday morning. If there was any doubt the team wants Darby to start right away, those doubts were quickly erased on Sunday.
Darby was with the top defensive unit and started along with Jalen Mills at cornerback. It marked the end of a whirlwind stretch for Darby, who came to the Eagles on Friday after a trade with Buffalo.
“There was a little but of pressure,” Admitted Darby. “They kind of have everything down. For me, just coming in, I’m trying to figure everything out. I’m just going to continue to study and get better.”
Darby’s studying likely involves a crash course in the playbook. After giving up Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews and a third round pick, it is clear the Eagles want to waste little time getting Darby acclimated to their defensive scheme.
Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz is impressed with Darby’s talent, but understands the cornerback will need time to settle into the system in place with his defense.
“We were just trying to get him out there,” Schwartz said. “It’s tough when you come in and you’ve got one day to try to get up to speed and there were a couple signs of that where we had a miscommunication. It really wasn’t a miscommunication. It’s just he’s not up to speed on a lot of the calls.”
The Eagles are confident Darby will get up to speed, and the rest of the secondary has been put on notice. After concerns over the cornerback position since the start of training camp, the arrival of Darby sent a clear message to the other cornerbacks that improvement is needed as the regular season approaches.
Corey Graham believes the arrival of Darby will provide a spark to the rest of his teammates.
“It’s like when you’re already on a team and they draft some rookies at your position,” said Graham. “You pay attention to guys coming to work the next day and the guys are working their tails off. It lifts guys up. Guys can always try to rise to the challenge.”
Graham is confident Darby will rise to the challenge of the high expectations placed on him in Philadelphia. Graham played with Darby for two years in Buffalo and knew from the first day he worked with Darby that he had the talent to succeed in the NFL.
“He was pretty much the defensive rookie of the year,” Graham said. “He was so dominant. Guys could do nothing on him. I was impressed the very first time he stepped in the building.”
The Eagles are hoping Darby will be ready for their next preseason game on Thursday. Ironically, it will be against his former team as the Buffalo Bills will be in town.
“It will be little weird knowing I was just there a few days ago,” said Darby. “But that’s just how the league works.”