Eagles

NFL Notes: Another hearing set over Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

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NFL Notes: Another hearing set over Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court has set a Thursday hearing as attorneys for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott seek a longer-lasting injunction to stop his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday issued an emergency stay of the NFL's punishment, the third legal reprieve for Elliott. It cleared last year's league rushing leader to play in Sunday's game against Kansas City. Elliott scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Cowboy's 28-17 win over the Chiefs.

It is possible, if not likely, that the three-judge panel in New York will rule as early as Thursday, after oral arguments, on whether Elliott can play Sunday at Atlanta.

None of the judges assigned to Elliott's case presided over the NFL's winning appeal in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension in the Deflategate case.

Elliott's suspension has been weaving through the courts since he was ordered in August to serve the ban for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Texans: O'Brien says team has discussed signing Kaepernick
HOUSTON -- Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien says he and general manager Rick Smith have discussed signing Colin Kaepernick in the wake of last week's season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson.

When asked about Kaepernick on Monday, a day after Tom Savage struggled in a loss to the Colts, O'Brien said: "We talk about the roster and what's out there every day Rick and I."

When pressed on whether they have specifically discussed adding Kaepernick he said: "Oh yeah, everybody gets discussed."

Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, began the national anthem protest movement by kneeling last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that team owners colluded against him because of the protests, which are aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other social justice issues.

The Texans have not been very active in anthem protests, but the majority of the team kneeled during the anthem before a game on Oct. 29 at Seattle after a report revealed that team owner Bob McNair said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison," during a meeting of NFL owners about players who protest by kneeling. No member of the team kneeled this week before Houston's annual salute to service game to honor members of the military (see full story).

Jets: Jeremy Kerley suspended 4 games for PED violation
NEW YORK -- New York Jets wide receiver-punt returner Jeremy Kerley has been suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.

The NFL says in a statement Monday that Kerley's suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Dec. 11, the day after New York plays at Denver. The next game in which Kerley will be able to play will be at New Orleans on Dec. 17.

In a statement released by his representatives, Kerley says he was "shocked" to test positive for Turinabol. He adds that he has never used steroids and fully intends to investigate what caused the positive test.

Kerley, who has 22 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown, says he has always been and will continue to be "a clean player."

Buccaneers: Mike Evans suspended 1 game
TAMPA, Fla. -- The NFL suspended Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans for one game Monday for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness in the Buccaneers' loss at New Orleans.

Evans ran up from behind and knocked over Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore after a confrontation between Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who was on the sideline because of a sore shoulder, and Lattimore.

"During the third quarter, after a play had ended, you struck an unsuspecting opponent in the back, knocking him to the ground," Jon Runyan, the league's vice president of football operations, wrote to Evans. "Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

Evans was penalized but not ejected from the Saints' 30-10 victory. He will miss the Bucs' home game against the Jets on Sunday and can return to the active roster next Monday. But he can appeal the suspension within three days.

Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

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Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

Carson Wentz doesn't care about accolades. 

He just better get used to them. 

The NFL announced Wednesday afternoon the Eagles' quarterback is leading all players in Pro Bowl fan voting. 

"I honestly didn't even know that," Wentz said to NBC Sports Philadelphia while sitting at his locker after Wednesday's practice. "I guess that's cool and all but you know how I am about that stuff. At the end of the day, we're 9-1 and that's what we like. You know me, I don't get caught up in that stuff."

Wentz has 273,367 votes, well ahead of the second-place player, Tom Brady (239,989). He has over 30,000 more votes than perhaps the best quarterback of all time. 

Fan voting is open until Dec. 14 and the Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 19.  

This season, Wentz has thrown for 2,430 yards and leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 25. He has just five interceptions. Wentz, in his second pro season, is a big reason why the Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1. 

If Wentz makes the Pro Bowl this season, it would be the first of his career. He admitted it would mean something to be named to the team. 

"I mean, obviously, that's recognition and that's something cool," he said. "But that's for down the road. We still have six games here to take care of business. We'll see what happens." 

In addition to Wentz, his favorite target Zach Ertz is closing in on his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ertz leads all NFC tight ends with 156,183 votes. In nine games this season, Ertz has 536 yards receiving and a career-high six touchdown catches. 

The Eagles are hoping neither of these two will be able to play in this year's Pro Bowl even if they make it. They're hoping both will be preparing for the Super Bowl that week. 

Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

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Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

Carson Wentz's declining production probably isn't a sign of trouble on the horizon for the Eagles. Quite the contrary, the quarterback's down numbers may be at least in part a reflection of the scheme and how well the team is playing.

With 2,430 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, Wentz might be the front-runner to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player at season's end. He's among the top two or three candidates, anyway. But the second-year player's once eye-popping statistics have notably dropped off in recent weeks, begging some question as to whether the magic is wearing off.

Over the Eagles' last three games, Wentz has completed 47 of 86 pass attempts (54.7 percent) for 192.7 yards per game (6.7 average) with eight touchdowns — far from MVP-caliber.

Perhaps the most concerning of those numbers is Wentz's completion percentage. At 59.7 percent for the season, he's fallen well below his mark of 62.4 as a rookie.

Wentz concedes he could be more accurate. The 24-year-old signal caller also believes some of the dropoff in his completion percentage is due to the offense pushing the ball vertically with more frequency in 2017.

That, and stats are meaningless as long as the Eagles are winning.

"That's definitely a number that I'd like to get higher again," Wentz said before Wednesday's practice. "I'm not crazy about stats. What really matters is wins and losses, but I'd like that to get higher.

“I do think it's a product of taking more chances down the field, taking more shots, being aggressive. I'm not going to get too hung up on that.”

There is certainly something to what Wentz is saying. While his completion rate is sub-optimal, his yards per attempt are over a yard higher compared to last season — 7.6 to 6.2. That's good for ninth in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks.

More incompletions or not, Wentz has still managed to play more efficient.

The Eagles are also 3-0 during Wentz's ongoing funk, so to speak, and he's only turned the football over once. He's obviously doing something right.

In fact, Wentz and the Eagles have been so successful in the last three games, that's actually had a negative impact on his individual numbers as well. The team jumped out to big second-half leads in contests against the 49ers, Broncos and Cowboys, reducing the need to put the ball in the air. Wentz even sat out portions of the fourth quarter twice.

Those types of game scripts will obviously put a damper on volume totals such as yards and touchdowns, and possibly Wentz's MVP chances along with them. From the team's vantage point, they're overwhelmingly positive.

With the Eagles chugging right along at 9-1, there doesn't seem much need to perform an autopsy on Wentz's season at this point. But if critics are searching for holes in the ship, the quarterback doesn't appear to be the place where this squad is going to spring a leak.