PHILADELPHIA — Jim Schwartz noticed Darius Slay limping, perhaps the accumulation of dealing with the Herculean task of DK Metcalf and Davante Adams over a six-day period.
The Eagles CB1 entered his toughest stretch of the season with a sore calf and exited with a balky knee. In between, two of the NFL's best playmakers performed like two of the NFL's best playmakers.
When Adams, Aaron Rodgers' route-running machine, caught a pass late in the third quarter the Eagles defensive coordinator wanted his top outside option to stay down snd let the officials stop the game due to the injury.
Ultimately, Slay did get up and gingerly walked off the field under his own power, the last anyone saw of him in the 30-16 setback.
Adams, arguably the top WR in the NFL right now, had already gotten Slay twice for touchdowns, one an amazing grab in which Slay was draped all over Adams, hands between arms trying to rip the football out.
On the day, Adams caught 12 Rodgers passes for 121 yards on the heels of Metcalf's 10-catch, 177-yard performance.
When Slay left Sunday, Green Bay was up 17 points. Despite the troubles, Schwartz insisted he remained "appreciative of Slay.”
"He wasn't 100 percent coming into the game; went out and played," said the Eagles defensive coordinator. "Probably the biggest thing, the play - I mean, he gave up his last completion, I saw him limping on that play and I was trying to get (Michael) Jacquet in there for him and trying to get Slay to go down and just like, ‘Look, you're hurt. Let the officials take you out of the game.’
"He has so much pride as a player that he didn't want to do that."
Moving forward, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday that Slay was “day-to-day” with his injury, which could give him an opportunity to get right back on the horse against the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas.
Slay, a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback acquired from Detroit in the offseason to handle players like Metcalf and Adams, has been hard on himself,
After the loss to the Seahawks, Slay called it his worst game and he took to social media to vent after the Packers setback before deleting an emotional post that read: “Haven’t been worth s@#$!!! These past two weeks … This not it!!!!”
“I think that he’d probably be the first person to say that he hasn’t played his best football these last two games, but that’s not going to change the way we handle him,” Schwartz said of Slay. “That is not going to change the plan for him. Like any other player, we just got to get out of that and get him winning those matchups.
"I have every confidence that he will. He’s a veteran player. He has a long track record. You can’t show me a corner in the NFL that hasn’t had a bad game or two regardless of what their level is.”
After Slay went down, the Eagles were left with Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Jacquet, an undrafted rookie, as their only remaining healthy cornerbacks."
“We didn’t play our best football at the corner position,” said the DC. "... When we were off, they were making plays in front; when we were up, they were making plays behind us.
“Late in the game, Avonte made a really good play. They tried to put the ball in the end zone. It was (Adams), he made a really good play on that. But we didn’t make enough of those over the course of the game, and it had a lot to do with what the final score was.”
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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