Patriots

NFL lockout hits practice squadders hard

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NFL lockout hits practice squadders hard

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

For a practice squad wideout, Darnell Jenkins did all right in 2010. He made 125,000 -- about 37,000 more than the 88,400 that most practice squad guys around the league are making. But the 28-year-old Patriot, who has shuffled through four different practice squads since coming out of the University of Miami in 2008, is itching to get going. With a wife and three young daughters (soon to be 10, 9 and 4), the uncertainty he faces is far different than the players who have spent even a season or two at the end of an active roster. Mr. Jenkins and family are not exactly well-to-do. "It's very difficult," admitted Jenkins. "It's a good thing I'm not a big spender or anything like that.I tell my family all the time, we have to be careful here. But we put some money away . . .
"But budgeting is very important. I make my money through the season. When the season is here, the money is here. With no season, there's no income."Players that spent 34 weeks on an active roster in 2009 and 2010 are entitled to a 60,000 stipend from the lockout fund the NFLPA set aside. The stipend for practice squad players, however, was a fraction of that. But there are programs in place to help players like Jenkins pay their bills. After a few phone calls and conversations with teammates, Jenkins got himself pointed in the right direction and was able to get some assistance to tide his family over. "I pay for my own training and the bills, andI saved up a good amount of money to make it," he explained. "We knew we would go through this problem soI did my best to save. And I'm a homeboy. Every now and then, you'll see me out getting something to eat if my wife doesn't cook, but other than that, I'm in the house playing Xbox."Only Patriots fans who pay attention to the preseason will remember Jenkins. He actually led the Patriots in receiving yards during the 2010 practice games, catching 6 balls for 145 yards and a score. At 5-10, 198 pounds, he's solidly built and he has excellent speed. He's a good prospect and a good man, which explains why teams remain interested in having him on their practice squads, just an injury away from real relevance. During this offseason, Jenkins has been working out in Foxboro at the training organized by Jerod Mayo. He dutifully runs routes for backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, working at all the receiver spots because he needs to be ready if any one of them opens up. It was a different vibe last week when about 25 more Patriots came to town to work at Boston College in workouts organized by Tom Brady."Brady is more of a coach to us younger guys," said Jenkins. "Brady works at a very fast pace and likes to get the feel of Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate and working a lot with them. When we did our camp with Brady, wegot a feeling of what it will be like when we come back from the lockout, but we got a lot of work done with all three quarterbacks (Brady, Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton). Our bond on this team is strong. We have positive leaders and we got a lot of great chemistry."I'm just waiting on the opportunity," said Jenkins. "Me getting older, it makes me just work harder.I feel I'm ready to go and can do anything the team asks me to do. I understand I have to know all the positions because I'm fighting for a spot on the team. I know physically and mentally I'm ready to step in when mynumber is called."Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE