New Eagle Ronald Darby to face former team as preseason continues

August 15, 2017

The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday as the team prepares for its second preseason game. The game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field, with the kickoff set for 7 p.m. on NBC 10.

In the Eagles first preseason contest, they dropped a 24-9 decision to the Green Bay Packers. Since then, the Eagles traded wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft for cornerback Ronald Darby to help improve their secondary.

Ironically, these two teams will face each other after completing one of the biggest trades in the preseason. Matthews, a 2014 second-round draft pick of the Eagles, played three season in Philadelphia. He had 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. The former Eagles wide receiver suffered a chip fracture in his sternum during practice Sunday and his return to the field has been listed at week-to-week as a result, according to the team.

Darby played some good football with the Bills. The third-year player out of Florida State played two seasons for Buffalo. He was a second-round draft pick of the Bills in 2015.

He started 29 games in Buffalo, recording 137 tackles (121 solo), two interceptions and 33 passes defended. Darby landed a starting job as a rookie. He had two interceptions and 21 passes defended. Darby was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team. He was also chosen as the Pro Football Focus Defensive Rookie of the Year.

His speed and ability to cover wide receivers man-to-man on those deep pass routes will be a huge asset to the Eagles’ secondary. He will be tested throughout the season against a number of the NFL’s top pass catchers such as Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr. and others.

Darby isn’t the only story on the defensive side. The Eagles first-round draft choice Derek Barnett, a 6-foot-3, 259-pound rookie from the University of Tennessee, had an impressive start. He got his first two career sacks against the Packers, albeit in the preseason. Barnett displayed some quick moves and agility on the defensive line. You could see why he broke Hall of Famer Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had a good performance against the Packers, connecting on 4-of-4 passes for 56 yards including a touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins. With Matthews traded to Buffalo, it’s going to be interesting to see which receiver steps forward to fill his spot. This could be a big opportunity for third-year wide receiver Nelson Agholor to step up in this role. Others who could get a look include receivers Bryce Treggs and Hollins. This is what these preseason games are all about, to look at the talent on this team, especially at wide receiver.