Eagles

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers, Titans and Seahawks no-shows

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers, Titans and Seahawks no-shows

The Tennessee Titans are joining the Seattle Seahawks in deciding not to come out for the national anthem.

The Seahawks announced nearly 30 minutes before kickoff that they would not stand for the national anthem because they "will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country."

The Titans followed 10 minutes later by saying they will remain in the locker room during the national anthem. They posted a statement on their website noting they want to be unified as a team with the players deciding jointly that staying inside was the best course of action.

The team also said their commitment to the military and community is "resolute" and that "the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic."

Seattle has been one of the more outspoken teams in professional sports on social issues, led by Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin.

NFL to re-air unity ad
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a tweet that the league will re-air a unity television advertisement Sunday night that it first ran during February's Super Bowl.

The one-minute spot called "Inside These Lines," will be shown during the Sunday night game between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

Over images and video of NFL players embracing one another on the field, the narrator says "Inside these lines, we don't have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination."

Goodell said that President's Trump's remarks about the NFL demonstrated "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."

Steelers stay in locker room for anthem
The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, coach Mike Tomlin has told CBS.

The move was apparently in reaction to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners fire players who kneel for the national anthem.

Several players from the Jaguars and Ravens decided to kneel in the first NFL game of the day in London. Then Tomlin said his players would not be on the sideline at Soldier Field in Chicago for the anthem.

Tagliabue lashes out at Trump
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue called President Donald Trump's comments on NFL players "insulting and disgraceful."

Tagliabue, who was in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a guest of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, spoke to the media before Carolina's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"For me to single out any particular group of players and call them SOB's, to me, that is insulting and disgraceful," Tagliabue said. "So I think the players deserve credit for what they do. And when it comes to speech they are entitled to speak. And we are entitled to listen. We are entitled to agree or disagree. But we're not entitled to shut anybody's speech down. Sometimes you don't like what you hear and that is true in life in lots of contexts, but you can't shut people down and be disgraceful when you are doing it."

Richardson is not making a statement on the Trump's remarks, per team spokesman Steven Drummond.

Dolphins players support Kaepernick
A handful of Miami Dolphins players are wearing black T-shirts supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups.

The shirts have "(hash)IMWITHKAP" written in bold white lettering on the front.

Kaepernick was the first athlete to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a protest. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.

Among the players sporting the shirts before their game against the New York Jets are wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Jay Ajayi and offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. Stills, also a team captain, posted a photo on Twitter of himself wearing the shirt , along with the post: "In case you didn't know!"

Bills fans speak out
Outside the Buffalo Bills' New Era Field, fans were tailgating as normal with no signs of protests or indications of support.

Last season, vendors here sold anti-Colin Kaepernick jerseys -- including one with him pictured in the crosshairs of a target -- before the San Francisco 49ers game at Orchard Park on Oct. 16. Kaepernick was jeered once the game began.

Kaepernick was the first player to refuse to stand during the national anthem.

"If they do this as a whole team, I will want my money back as a season-ticket holder and I'll never come back to a game again," fan Mike Ragyna said when asked about the prospect of players protesting during the anthem.

"There's no reason they can't stand for the national anthem and get up on a soapbox afterward and do it then," Ragyna said.

Jags owner stands with players
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan calls it a privilege to stand arm-in-arm with players during the national anthem in London.

Khan stood between tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith at Wembley Stadium and then released a statement to express his support for players. Coaches and other team personnel from both teams did the same before the game against the Ravens.

About two dozen players on both teams kneeled, something President Donald Trump has said owners should fire players for.

"It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium," Khan said. "I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."

Treasury Secretary defends Trump
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is defending President Donald Trump's attacks on football players who kneel during the national anthem.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Mnuchin says the National Football League enforces other types of rules and Trump thinks "owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem."

Mnuchin adds that "they can do free speech on their own time."

Trump suggested during a speech Friday night that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. A handful of NFL players have refused to stand to protest several issues, including police brutality.

White House responds
A White House adviser says the president lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem because he stands with Americans who want the anthem respected.

Marc Short is director of legislative affairs. He argues on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Donald Trump believes NFL players have First Amendment rights, but that owners should have the right to fire them.

Trump seemed to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House because of star Stephen Curry's public opposition to him.

Asked why Trump is inflaming tensions, Short says the Warriors started it. He says players "were the ones that first went out ... and began criticizing the president."

Ravens owner supports players
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says he "100 percent" supports his players' decision to kneel during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

At least seven Ravens players and more than a dozen Jaguars players took a knee during the anthem while the rest of the players stood locked arm-in-arm in an apparent response to President Donald Trump, who said this week that NFL owners should fire those who disrespected the American flag.

But the Ravens issued a statement from Bisciotti minutes after kickoff, saying: "We recognize our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood arm-in-arm with his players during the anthem.

Ravens, Jags players kneel
About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.

Redskins dealing with numerous injuries heading into Week 7 vs. Eagles

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USA Today Images

Redskins dealing with numerous injuries heading into Week 7 vs. Eagles

ASHBURN, Va. — Quinton Dunbar takes pride in the way Washington Redskins defensive backs coach Torrian Gray makes every member of the secondary prepare as though he's starting.

"When you get in, you are expected to play like a starter," Dunbar said.

That approach has come in handy this season. Already 2015 All-Pro Josh Norman, fellow cornerback Bashaud Breeland and safety Stefan McClure have gone down with injuries, and second-year safety Su'a Cravens left the team to contemplate retirement.

It's possible Breeland, who sprained his left knee Sunday against San Francisco, and Norman, who has been out with a broken rib, play Monday night.

If they can't go, Washington will lean heavily on Dunbar, Kendall Fuller and rookies Montae Nicholson, Fabian Moreau and Joshua Holsey against quarterback Carson Wentz and the NFC East-leading Eagles.

"It'll be a great challenge because he's playing extremely well," Gruden said.

"Our guys will have to step up. That's just the way it is. There's a lot of teams around the National Football League this time of year that are dealing with key injuries at certain positions and we just had a couple of them at the corner spot. Fabian, Dunbar, they'll have to step up and play well (along with) Holsey, Fuller."

Breeland began the 49ers game as the top cornerback with Norman out and took a block at the knee from offensive lineman Joe Staley. Gruden said Breeland escaped serious MCL damage and is a quick healer, so he could be ready to face the 5-1 Eagles.

Norman will ramp up his running and exercise this week, and Gruden said "there's a chance" he plays Monday.

The news isn't so good for rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who could miss three weeks or more with a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot, and kicker Dustin Hopkins, whose right hip rotator muscle strain will force the Redskins to work out free agent kickers this week.

Even with all the injuries in the secondary, Washington hasn't yet had to look for external help because it has four 2016 or 2017 draft picks on the roster and able to take on extended roles.

"We are as strong as our weakest link and we always talk about not having the drop-offs," said Fuller, a 2016 third-round pick. "Anybody who is in there, we trust to make plays."

The Redskins have had no choice but to trust their young players, including Dunbar, a 25-year-old converted receiver. Injuries to D.J. Swearinger and Nicholson on Sunday almost forced Fuller to move from cornerback to safety where he saw no snaps at practice, and Moreau had to take over on the outside when Breeland was hurt in the second half.

Moreau, a third-round pick who missed the start of training camp with a torn pectoral muscle, said players follow Swearinger's lead to be ready for any situation.

"We got dogs," Moreau said. "We all trust each other. We all feed off of him, and we know that."

Of all the young defensive backs, no one has made a bigger leap than Dunbar, who was a receiver at Florida. Gruden joked that Dunbar isn't "really smart enough to know the magnitude of the situation he's in" and just goes out and plays.

Dunbar said after what he went through growing up that football's a pleasure for him and he doesn't blink. But he has made incredible strides since shifting to cornerback.

"Mentally I'm a thousand times better," Dunbar said. "I always had the physical attributes, man. It was more mental for me -- just breaking down the offenses, learning what's coming and stuff like that."

That'll come in handy against Wentz as the 3-2 Redskins try to close the gap and keep this a competitive division race.

From the coverage to the pass rush, Washington's defense must be better against Wentz than it was in a 30-17 loss in Week 1.

"We've got to figure out a way to contain Wentz," Gruden said. "He killed us with the off-schedule plays, and he's been doing that consistently throughout the year. That's why they're 5-1. It's a big game for us. We know that."

Roob's Random Points, part 1: Eagles' power ranking, playoffs, I-95 traffic tips

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USA Today Images

Roob's Random Points, part 1: Eagles' power ranking, playoffs, I-95 traffic tips

Are the Eagles the best team in football? Parking in Northern Liberties? Carson craziness? And Modern Baseball's final shows?

You can find it all in Part 1 of this week's 25 Random Points! Look for Part 2 at some Random time in the near future!
 
1. Watching football all day Sunday, it was impossible to ignore the reality that the Eagles are as good as anybody out there. One after another, the teams you wondered where the Eagles stacked up against lost. The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers and then lost meekly to the Vikings. The Falcons, once unbeatable in Atlanta, lost at home to the Dolphins. The undefeated Chiefs lost at home to the Steelers. The Broncos, who come to the Linc in a couple weeks, lost at home to the winless Giants. The Redskins barely hung on at home against the winless 49ers. And meanwhile, the Eagles just keep on winning. If I had to rank the 32 teams right now, the Eagles would be at No. 1. I'm sure the Chiefs would have something to say about that based on a head-to-head win and an identical 5-1 record. But as far as where everybody is today? You can make a compelling case that the Eagles are the best team in football. Yep.
 
2. A big theme on Twitter since Thursday night has been fans saying, "Calm down, don't get carried away, settle down, it's only six weeks." You know what? This team hasn't done anything since 2008 and they're now 5-1 with four straight wins, a hot quarterback and the best run defense in the NFL. There's nothing wrong with getting excited!
 
3. Of all the areas he's improved, Carson Wentz's interception ratio is the most dramatic and most important. He's seeing the field better but more than anything he's just not forcing throws like he did last year. With three INTs in 207 attempts, he's got the sixth-best INT ratio in the NFL out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks (1.45 per 100 attempts). This after ranking 17th out of 36 last year (2.31). Based on all 281 QBs in NFL history who've thrown 750 passes, Wentz now has the eighth-best career INT ratio at 2.09.
 
4. I'm crushed that they shut down the giant free parking lot behind the Acme across the street from the Piazza where Germantown Avenue hits 2nd Street. There is now officially nowhere to park in Northern Liberties.
 
5. Once the Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention, Philly's streak of consecutive seasons without a team advancing in a postseason series increased to 21. That goes back to a 76ers team led by Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday eliminating the Bulls in an Eastern Conference first-round series on May 10, 2012. That streak includes six Phillies seasons and five 76ers, Flyers and Eagles seasons. Not only is that streak about to be smashed to smithereens, I also wouldn't be surprised at all if all four teams advance in a postseason series over the next year.
 
6. Speaking of the Smithereens, they are without a doubt one of the most underrated American rock bands of the last quarter century. Here's my Smithereens Top 10: 1. Strangers when we Meet, 2. Behind the Wall of Sleep, 3. A Girl Like You, 4. Only a Memory, 5. Blue Period, 6. Yesterday Girl, 7. Top of the Pops, 8. Time Won't Let Me, 9. Drown in my own Tears, 10. House we used to Live In.
 
7. The Eagles are only the 10th team since 1970 with 750 or more rushing yards gained and fewer than 400 rushing yards allowed after six weeks.
 
8. Wentz's current streak of eight straight games with one or more touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions is the longest by an Eagles quarterback since Randall Cunningham had a 12-game streak in 1990.
 
9. If he throws three touchdowns Monday night, Wentz will become the first Eagles QB to throw three TD passes in three straight games in 64 years — since Bobby Thomason in 1953 (three at Pittsburgh, four vs. the Giants, three vs. the Colts). Only one QB has thrown more than one TD pass against the Redskins this year. Wentz. Of course.
 
10. Attending one of Modern Baseball's final three shows over the weekend was a genuinely moving experience. Modern Baseball — or MoBo, as they're affectionately known because MoBa looks stupid — is a beloved Philadelphia pop-punk band whose lyrics by co-songwriters Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald are deeply personal and resonate in a powerful way with the 17-to-22-year-olds who make up most of their massive world-wide audience. MoBo over the past seven years made a completely unexpected and meteoric rise from playing basements at Drexel to 20,000-seat arenas opening for Brand New. But the band is going on hiatus — perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent — because, as Ewald wrote on the band's Facebook page, "The project we started as a source of joy and positive expression had become something that was slowly eating away at our mental health and our friendships." But I'll tell you what … seeing 1,500 fist-pumping, body-surfing kids at Union Transfer joyously singing along to literally every word to every song Friday night really makes you realize just how much this band meant to so many people. A powerful, profound experience.
 
11. I once sat on a flight next to the manager of a Hard Rock Café. He had a great quote: "We're not a restaurant. We're a T-shirt store that also sells hamburgers."
 
12. LeGarrette Blount played in his 100th career regular-season game on the final day of last year with the Patriots. Thanks to the wonders of the Pro-Football Reference, we can compare his rushing average in all his games since No. 100 with every other running back since 1950. The result? Blount's rushing average of 5.6 after his 100th career game is the highest by any NFL running back in Game 101-on since Doak Walker averaged 6.2 yards from 1953 through 1955.
 
12½. Pro Tip: When there's an accident on 95 South near Center City, take the 2nd Street ramp off 95 and then turn left on Market and get back on 95 South. Even if you haven't passed the accident, the ramp is so long — 9-10ths of a mile — it will get you past a ton of blocked traffic before dropping you back on 95 South.