Eagles

NFL Notes: Texans' Deshaun Watson out for season with ACL tear

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USA Today Images

NFL Notes: Texans' Deshaun Watson out for season with ACL tear

HOUSTON -- Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson sustained a season-ending knee injury in practice on Thursday, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The rookie suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees and will go on the injured reserve. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced the injury.

His injury is the latest blow to a team that lost three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries on Oct. 8.

Watson had been a relative bright spot in challenging season for the Texans (3-4). The 12th overall pick in this year's draft was named AFC offensive player of the month after throwing for 1,171 yards with 16 touchdowns and running for 145 yards and another score (see full story).

Colts: Andrew Luck goes on injured reserve
INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck will spend a second offseason recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Indianapolis Colts put Luck on injured reserve Thursday, marking the end of his season and the beginning of a different rehab program that team officials believe will get their star quarterback on the field next fall.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard made the announcement during a surprise news conference at the team complex.

"I've heard all sorts of rumors about career-ending," Ballard said. "That's not the case here. I've not got that from one doctor. Career-ending is putting him out on the field before he's ready to play. That's where you should be concerned."

Indianapolis (2-6) never did rush Luck (see full story).

Cowboys: NFL says Elliott appeal has no chance of success
NEW YORK -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has no chance with his latest attempt to delay a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, NFL lawyers said Thursday.

The attorneys told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that it should not interfere with Elliott beginning his suspension Sunday when the Cowboys play Kansas City at home because the NFL Players Association "has no likelihood of success on appeal."

The union has asked the court to block the start of the suspension until it considers its request to overturn a lower-court ruling on the grounds that Elliott's career will be irreparably harmed if his suspension begins now.

The league said in a written submission that the public, including NFL fans and victims of abuse, have a "strong interest" in seeing that penalties stemming from domestic abuse by NFL players are promptly investigated and that discipline is imposed in a timely manner (see full story).

Buccaneers: Winston believes injured shoulder improving
TAMPA, Fla. -- Jameis Winston says his injured throwing shoulder is getting better.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback practiced again Thursday, throwing for the second straight day in preparation to face the New Orleans Saints.

This is the first time Winston has thrown early in the week since spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder on Oct. 15.

The past two weeks, he's refrained from participating in passing drills on Wednesday and Thursday before taking all of the snaps with the first-team offense on Friday.

"I'm just following the plan," Winston said. "It feels good to be back out there with the guys in a practice atmosphere, and hopefully it translates to the game."

Eagles Stay or Go — The Joneses

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AP/USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — The Joneses

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Donnie Jones
Roob: Jones turns 38 before camp starts and goes into his 15th NFL season out of LSU next year. Jones, who hasn't missed a game since 2004, is as reliable as ever. Including the postseason, he had 26 punts inside the 20-yard line and just six touchbacks. In five years here, he's established himself as the greatest punter in Eagles history. His 45.3 average and 40.6 this past year were very good. They'll drag a guy in to compete, but Jones is still terrific.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jones is 37 now but he's a punter and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Before the 2016 season, Jones said he wasn't interested in retiring any time soon and there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to stop yet. He had another good season in 2017. Of course, the Eagles proved that no one is immune from the business of the NFL when they decided to go with Rick Lovato over Jon Dorenbos in 2017, but Jones is still a really good punter. During Super Bowl week, Jones got a kick out of hearing he was the only Eagles player who was able to have a legal drink when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl. Jones joked that's probably what he was doing. 

Verdict: STAYS

Sidney Jones
Roob: 
It'll be fun to see what Jones can do with a full healthy offseason and training camp. Along with Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Ronald Darby, he's a big part of the most talented young stable of cornerbacks the Eagles have ever had. Where does everybody fit in next year? We'll see. But I expect Jones to be here and playing at a high level for years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: It was probably a pretty good thing for the young corner to get some experience toward the end of his rookie season. Fans should be excited about Jones if he really is back to being the player he was before his injury. Because before he tore his Achilles at the Washington pro day, Jones might have been the very best cornerback in a deep cornerback draft. The Eagles have a little logjam at the cornerback position; what a great problem to have. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go —2 big contracts and a fringe player

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USA Today/AP Images

Eagles Stay or Go —2 big contracts and a fringe player

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Tim Jernigan
Roob:
 Jernigan had a very good first half, an OK second half of the season and really didn't do a lot in the postseason, and there's no doubt the Eagles would like to see him maintain his level of consistency throughout the season. But he's certainly not going anywhere, not with $11 million in dead money vs. a $5 million cap hit. Jernigan's talent is undeniable. He just needs to find a way to keep it going through the year.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: I was a little surprised about how little Jernigan played in 2017. He played just 48 percent of the Eagles' snaps and in the playoffs, he played about as much as Beau Allen. Now, I know Jernigan dealt with an ankle injury throughout most of the year, so maybe that played a role. But for a guy who signed a four-year extension worth $48 million during the year, I really didn't see enough. He started off the season really strong, but then seemed to level off some. Maybe the ankle had something to do with that. In any case, he's now signed through 2021. The Eagles need more out of him. 

Verdict: STAYS

Lane Johnson 
Roob:
 We finally saw what Lane Johnson could do with a full season, and it was impressive. Johnson was named first-team All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl team, and he deserved all of it. Johnson, suspended two of the last three seasons for testing positive for banned substances, was a beast at right tackle. He's not going anywhere for a long time.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: That was the season we've all been waiting for from Johnson. He was a dominant right tackle in 2017 and finally made it to his first Pro Bowl roster. He deserved it. For a long time, there's been a stigma about playing right tackle and that makes sense on its face. Protecting the quarterback's blindside has historically been more important, but defenses have adjusted. That's why guys like Von Miller, DeMarcus Lawrence, Justin Houston and Joey Bosa generally rush against right tackles. Johnson shut down those guys and more last season. It's a big reason why the Eagles didn't move him to left tackle when Jason Peters went down. That was the right call. 

Verdict: STAYS

Marcus Johnson
Roob: Johnson stuck on the active roster all year and got into 10 games, catching five passes for 45 yards. But wide receiver depth is certainly one area the Eagles will try to upgrade this offseason. Johnson will get a long look with the other young receivers in camp, but he faces an uphill battle. He's got good speed, size and athleticism, but can he put it all together and catch the ball consistently enough to stick around another year? We'll see.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The young wide receiver had a great spring and summer a year ago to earn his spot on the roster. He really worked his tail off to get better and the Eagles rewarded him with a roster spot. From there, he carved out a role on offense. He was the Eagles' receiver in their 13 personnel (three tight ends) package for much of the early season. But then in late November, Johnson lost his active spot to Shelton Gibson, who didn't play as big a role on offense but was a better special teamer. That was a shock to Johnson at the time. He'll have a shot to make the roster this year, but losing his job on Sundays in 2017 isn't a good sign. 

Verdict: GOES