Everything but a bounce-back game for Nick Foles

Everything but a bounce-back game for Nick Foles

OK, this didn't help.

If you were already worried about Nick Foles after the Raiders game, now you're twice as worried. 

If you weren't? Now you are.

Because this was not the bounce-back game Foles hoped for after a terrible performance against the Raiders.

As bad as Foles was last week against the Raiders, this was worse (see Roob's observations).

"As an offense, we expect to execute better," Foles said after the Eagles' first home shutout in 12 years. "This wasn’t acceptable, but we also know what we’re capable of and how talented we can be because of how we play together.

"So we’re just going to keep working on that. Keep our confidence high. There’s no reason not to be confident."

Foles, who replaced injured Carson Wentz a month ago, played four series before giving way to Nate Sudfeld Sunday in a game that had no bearing on the NFC playoff bracket. 

The Eagles, with No. 1 seed locked up, lost 6-0 to the Cowboys in the lowest-scoring game in franchise history.

In four series, Foles was 4 for 11 for 39 yards with one inexplicable interception (see grades).

Since throwing four touchdowns against the Giants, he's 23 for 49 for 202 yards with one TD and two INTs against the Raiders and Cowboys.

His passer rating of 9.3 Sunday was lowest by an Eagles quarterback throwing 10 or more passes since Donovan McNabb had a 0.4 rating against the Dolphins in 2007. It's the fourth-lowest in the last 40 years.

"Am I concerned? I'm not concerned," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I’ve still got a lot of confidence in our offense. Again, it's not one person or one guy. There is enough to go around.

"It's tough in this situation where you know you're kind of maybe only going to get a quarter, maybe a couple series, and you're coming out. But I’ve still got a lot of confidence in the guys."

Foles hasn't completed a pass longer than 32 yards in four games since replacing Wentz. Since throwing a TD pass to Jay Ajayi early in the Oakland game, Foles has engineered 16 straight drives generating no touchdowns and just six points.

Foles, who has a history of both very good and very bad games, said his confidence is fine going into the Eagles' playoff opener in two weeks.

"I’ve played a lot of football," he said. "I know who I am as a player and I also know that throughout my career and my life, I haven’t always played great games. I’ve been in games where execution hasn’t gone like we wanted it to. And the key is you remain confident because you know who you are. You know that you’re going to prepare every day to do everything to the best of your ability.

"It’s not like we go out there and say, ‘Hey we’re not going to play to the best of our ability today.’ We went out there and played as hard as we could. We didn’t execute, but that’s stuff that we can fix because I know every single guy in that offensive huddle and on this team gives everything they have.

"So that’s (why) I’m confident. Because I’m confident in myself and I’m confident in my teammates because I know what we’re capable of doing and that’s great things."

The Eagles did start out OK. 

Foles hit Alshon Jeffery for eight yards and Zach Ertz for 15 yards into Dallas territory. But Torrey Smith dropped a 3rd-and-7 that would have been a big play, and a 4th-down pass fell incomplete.

They only netted six yards on the last three drives with Foles in the game.

"We started off fine today," Smith said. "I dropped a ball, and honestly, if I caught it I probably would have housed it. That messed our momentum up and then we only played a short time after that and we kept getting penalties and shooting ourselves in the foot.

"I’m confident that if we stayed in the game we would have gotten it back on track, but we have two weeks of practice and I’m very confident we’ll be ready to roll."

This is the first time in his career Foles has had a passer rating below 60 in consecutive games.

In fact, he's the first Eagles quarterback to achieve that dubious distinction since McNabb in 2008 against the Bengals and Ravens.

And that Ravens performance got him benched temporarily for Kevin Kolb, although he did bounce back and lead the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game.

As for Foles, he insists his confidence is as high as ever, despite the worst two-game stretch of his career.

“I feel great," he said. "Honestly I feel great. I know what I can do.

"Sports are crazy at times. You don’t always play 100 percent of what you want to do, but you keeping trucking along. You keep working and I feel great.

"I feel really confident. I know the guys are confident in me. I’ve played with a lot of these guys. I’ve played with a lot of these coaches and I’m excited to get to work, get ready for the playoffs and keep this thing rolling."

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

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More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

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Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.