Eagles

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Alshon Jeffery doesn't give a bleep about stats

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Alshon Jeffery doesn't give a bleep about stats

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Alshon Jeffery had a strong performance Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and looked like the guy the Eagles expected to get when they paid him this offseason. 

He just didn't give a bleep. The Eagles lost. 

"They won the game," Jeffery said in the locker room. "None of that s--- matters." 

The bleep that didn't matter to Jeffery was his stat line, which read seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, his first as an Eagle. When he scored his 16-yard touchdown, it gave the Eagles a 10-6 lead in the third quarter. It was their only lead of the afternoon. 

Initially, Jeffery was ruled down at the 1-yard line on his touchdown, but the replay clearly showed he went down on his own and wasn't touched before he reached across the goal line with the football. 

Even before the refs announced that the call was overturned, Jeffery watched the replay on the big screen at Arrowhead and began to jump in celebration. He knew it. 

"It was a touchdown," he said. 

On Sunday, Jeffery looked more like what Eagles fans probably expect from him this season. His strong performance against the Chiefs comes a week after a disappointing debut in which he caught just three passes for 38 yards. 

"Honestly, I've always felt really good chemistry with [Jeffery]," quarterback Carson Wentz said. "Obviously today, I think he was almost 100 yards or something like that. Felt good with him, felt good with the other receivers. And we're just going to keep working on that."

Much of the conversation during the summer and the preseason was about Wentz and Jeffery needing to get on the same page. They looked like they were Sunday. 

But the Eagles still lost 27-20, so Jeffery didn't care about that bleep. 

"Like I said, we didn't win the game," Jeffery mumbled. "None of that s--- matters to me." 

Kickin' it
Just before the end of the first half, the Eagles had a golden opportunity to tie the game at 6-6 and then get the ball back for the start of the second half. 

Zach Ertz caught a 53-yard pass down the sideline after Chiefs defensive back Terrance Mitchell should have had an easy interception but popped the ball into the air and into the hands of Ertz at the perfect time. Ertz was tackled at the Kansas City 11-yard line with just two seconds left when the Eagles called their third and final timeout. 

Then Andy Reid iced the kicker. And it worked. 

Jake Elliott missed a 30-yard field goal. A 30-yarder!

"I don't think so," Elliott said when asked if the timeout took him off his rhythm. "It just made me sit out there a little longer. It shouldn't affect anything. It's just not a good kick."

While Elliott missed that chip shot, he did make a 34-yarder before it and a 40-yarder after. 

Elliott was signed last week after Caleb Sturgis was placed on IR with a hip injury. Before signing Elliott off the Bengals' practice squad, the Eagles worked out a trio of kickers. If Elliott misses another 30-yarder, the Eagles might want to bring one of them in. 

Odds and ends 
• Vinny Curry missed a huge opportunity in the fourth quarter. He had Alex Smith in his paws but somehow let the QB slip away and scramble for a five-yard gain on 3rd-and-4. Had Curry sacked him, the Chiefs would have been at the very edge of their field goal range. 

"I had him," Curry said. "He just broke loose. If we play again, he won't break loose." 

• Before the start of this season, Ertz had just one 90-plus-yard game before December in his career. He has two already in 2017. He has a total of 190 receiving yards through the first two weeks of this season. It's the first time an Eagle has done that since DeSean Jackson in 2013 and just the 17th time in team history. Ertz is third in the NFL in receiving yards, behind only Antonio Brown and Adam Thielen.

• Wendell Smallwood is having a slow start to his second year in the NFL. Through two games, he has nine total touches for just 10 yards. 

• You've probably already heard this one, but Wentz leads the Eagles in rushing through two games with 61 yards. That's obviously not very good for the Eagles. But Wentz is just the fourth Eagles QB to have 60 rushing yards through the first two games of a season. The other three are Mike Vick, Donovan McNabb and Randall Cunningham. 

• Speaking of Wentz, here's what Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford said about him: "He's a great quarterback. We call him a smaller Big Ben. He is going to make his mark as a quarterback." 

• Trey Burton made a great play on the onside kick to recover and give the Eagles a little bit of hope at the end. But with just five seconds left, they elected to heave up a Hail Mary.   

Reid said with five seconds left, his defense was covering the deep ball but also covered the sidelines. He didn't want the Eagles to throw a quick strike to get closer. 

In the end zone, Jeffery was in the area of where the ball went before it landed on the ground. He thought he had a shot at it. 

"Yeah, I believe so," he said. "But unfortunately, plays like that … I don't know the percentage of it, but it's very rare."

Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson, Wendell Smallwood back at practice

injury-report-eagles.jpg

Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson, Wendell Smallwood back at practice

Right tackle Lane Johnson and running back Wendell Smallwood were both back at Eagles practice Tuesday.
 
Johnson missed the Panthers game with a concussion he suffered against Cardinals, and Smallwood missed the last two games after hurting his knee against the Chargers.
 
Practice was closed Tuesday and the Eagles are not required to release an injury report until Thursday because of the long week, but a team official confirmed that Johnson practiced — which means he was cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol by an approved neurosurgeon.
 
Johnson was not in the locker room during the period it was open to the media, but Smallwood said he did practice without limitations and hopes to play against the Redskins Monday night.
 
"It's been coming along," Smallwood said. "Felt good these past couple days, since really after the Carolina game it started feeling good. I was full-go today, I practiced with the guys. ... I wasn't limited at all. It really didn't bother me much. I felt good today. Hopefully, later on in the week, I'll feel better as the week goes and I'll be playing Monday. I think I should be ready."
 
Smallwood rushed for 113 yards with a 3.9 average and caught seven passes for 56 yards in four games before getting hurt early in the Chargers game.
 
"Wendell obviously brings a lot to the table," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "He's that thrashing, downhill runner. He's got some explosiveness. He's a three-down back, he's good out of the backfield, he's really good in protection. It brings all those things."
 
Smallwood said he played "on adrenaline" with the injury but said his knee swelled up during the game.
 
Injuries have married Smallwood's career. He missed the last three games last year with a knee injury and missed time in training camp with a hamstring injury.
 
"I get frustrated a lot when I'm not in the game, not being out there to help and progress as the year goes on," he said. "So it frustrates me.
 
"But it happens. I've just got to suck it up and not pay attention to it. Just know I can bounce back and just try to get on the field as fast as I can."
 
Smallwood said he expects to be 100 percent Monday night in a huge divisional game against the Redskins at the Linc.
 
"I believe so," he said. "I'm not going to hold back any. I'm not going to think about it or get nervous. I have that confidence in myself. As the week's gone on, I just started feeling better about what I'm able to do."

Also, rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who became eligible to practice Wednesday after spending the first six weeks on the reserve-non football injury list, said he did not practice. Jones has been out since suffering a torn Achilles at his pro day in March.

Judge set to rule on latest bid to stop Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

usat-ezekiel-elliott.jpg
USA Today Images

Judge set to rule on latest bid to stop Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

NEW YORK — A federal judge said he will rule Tuesday on an emergency request from attorneys for Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott to stop the running back's six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty heard arguments from lawyers on both sides as the NFL Players Association scrambled to keep Elliott on the field after a federal appeals court last week overturned an injunction that had stopped the league's suspension.

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, is on the suspended list. The Cowboys play at San Francisco on Sunday.

Attorney Daniel Nash, arguing for the NFL, accused Elliott's legal team of seeking relief from courts in Texas to evade courts in New York and the effect of the April 2016 ruling that reinstated a four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the NFLPA, asked Crotty to prevent enforcement of the suspension for two weeks so that the Southern District of New York judge assigned to the case — Katherine Polk Failla — can return from a vacation and rule. Crotty concluded the hearing by saying he'd look at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Brady case before ruling by the end of the day on the union's request for a temporary restraining order.

Nash warned Crotty that allowing the union to continue to delay the suspension would invite "every player who's suspended" to go to court for relief.

"They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None," Nash said.

Kessler said the harm to a player's short career was serious when a suspension is served.

"He can never get that back," Kessler said, arguing that the irreparable harm — among issues of law considered before a temporary restraining order is granted — faced by a player is much greater than harm claimed by the league when a suspension is delayed.

In their request for the temporary restraining order, Elliott's attorneys said NFL procedure required rosters to be set by 4 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said there is no such deadline from the league's perspective.

NFLPA attorneys, working on Elliott's behalf, also said the league had already informed Elliott that he couldn't practice or play this week. The Cowboys returned to work Tuesday after their bye week and will have their first full practice Wednesday.

Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence, but the NFL did its own investigation and announced the six-game punishment.

That led to weeks of court filings, with NFLPA lawyers contending that league investigators withheld key evidence from Commissioner Roger Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses. Elliott has denied Thompson's allegations under oath.

The NFL placed Elliott on the suspended list a day after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned a Texas court's injunction that kept Elliott on the field.

The case is shifting to New York because the New Orleans court ordered the dismissal of Elliott's lawsuit in Texas. Depending on the outcome in New York, Elliott's attorneys could still seek a rehearing with a larger panel of the appeals court, which they have indicated they would do.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled 2-1 last week that Elliott's attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because the arbitrator had yet to decide on the running back's appeal through the NFL. Elliott's attorneys have argued in subsequent filings that the dissenting judge in New Orleans agreed with the Texas judge's findings that the NFL appeal was unfair to Elliott.

Brady's suspension was served more than a year after it was imposed. A federal judge ruled against the NFL and overturned the suspension, but the league won an appeal.