The Eagles were able to push through a few weeks earlier in the season without Avonte Maddox when the corner landed on IR and missed time.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were left without him once again in Dallas on Christmas Eve. That left the Birds with Josiah Scott on CeeDee Lamb and was a major reason why the defense never forced the Cowboys to punt in the first half of the game before adjustments were made.
Scott, acquired via trade last May, has shown he can be a serviceable player at times. The downgrade from Maddox in the slot to a serviceable player, however, is very large.
Scott was supposed to be the over-the-top coverage with Slay on that third and 30 conversion the Cowboys had on Sunday night.
The Eagles have solid backups in the secondary with Zech McPhearson at outside corner and Reed Blankenship at safety (with Anthony Harris now on the practice squad), but to take on playoff teams they may want more depth at slot corner.
Enter former Eagles corner Cre’Von LeBlanc. Strap posted on Twitter to let teams know that he’s been keeping himself ready and is just waiting for an opportunity.
Any GMs or teams that are banged up and could use some help on defense I’m here, available, & 100% healthy!!! 👀— Cre'Von LeBlanc (@Strap_Ent) December 22, 2022
Any GMs or teams that are banged up and could use some help on defense I’m here, available, & 100% healthy!!! 👀
The Eagles should certainly bring him in and there’s no harm done signing him to the practice squad and seeing if he can prove to be the team’s second-best slot corner before looking to add him to the 53-man roster.
LeBlanc was last with the Raiders early in this offseason, but wound up on IR before the season started and was released, so the injury is more of the reason he is not already with a team rather than talent. Eagles fans should be familiar with that, however, as LeBlanc was a waiver claim by the Eagles in 2018 and proved incredibly valuable.
LeBlanc wound up being a starter in the playoffs and was, in the words of then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, “the key” to the Eagles season that year, going so far as to make an incredible pick in the playoff game against the Bears.
Of course, it would be a tragedy not to mention the game he played with a broken finger, showcasing his toughness and determination.
With Avonte Maddox as the starter (and Nickell Robey-Coleman entering the 2020 season), LeBlanc found himself buried on the depth chart but managed to work his way into nine games anyway. Around Thanksgiving that year, he was placed on injured reserve and wound up signing.
He signed with the Dolphins early in the 2021 season before joining the Texans for most of the season. He joined the Patriots practice squad at playoff time last season before his stint with the Raiders during camp prior to his suffering the injury that would have sidelined him for the entire season had Las Vegas not released him.
It’s really a low-risk move to bring LeBlanc in for a visit and potentially open up a practice squad spot for him to get him working with the playbook and competing in practice. He brings determination and a positive mindset that will help him meld into the locker room, too.
At each turn this season, Howie Roseman has brought in help any time a weakness begins to reveal itself. The aforementioned return of Harris and the signings of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh are examples of this. Saturday afternoon revealed another potential weakness in depth and it should not be a shock if the front office looks to try and fortify that, as well.
Update: Avonte Maddox has been deemed “out indefinitely” with his toe injury.