Eagles

NFL Notes: Bengals give suspended LB Vontaze Burfict 3-year extension

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NFL Notes: Bengals give suspended LB Vontaze Burfict 3-year extension

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals have signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2020 season.

The move Thursday comes despite Burfict being suspended by the NFL for the first three games this season for his egregious hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman in a preseason game.

Burfict has been a key playmaker on Marvin Lewis' defense with 582 tackles, seven sacks, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in his first five seasons. But he has also been one of the league's most-frequently fined -- eight times -- players and been suspended twice for questionable hits during his career.

Lewis says in a statement that Burfict, signed in 2012 as a rookie free agent out of Arizona State, "is still one of the young, emerging talents within the league."

Browns: Top pick Garrett out with ankle injury
CLEVELAND -- Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett will be sidelined for weeks because of a sprained right ankle.

The top overall pick in this year's draft was injured Wednesday during Cleveland's first full practice leading to Sunday's opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's not known how Garrett was hurt.

The team said Thursday he has a high ankle sprain and his status will be updated in a "couple" of weeks.

Garrett's loss is another blow for the Browns, who went 1-15 last season and have had their share of costly injuries in recent years.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Garrett was limited by a left ankle sprain last year at Texas A&M. He sprained a foot with the Browns this spring (see full story).

Saints: Peterson says assuming he’s not still elite is ‘crazy’
METAIRIE, La. -- Adrian Peterson suggests it is "crazy" to assume he isn't still one of the best running backs in the NFL just because he's 32 years old and has had two knee surgeries.

In a few days, the new Saints running back gets his chance to demonstrate his point against the team that let him go in the city where he became arguably the best ball carrier of his generation.

"I'm pretty excited about it -- just trying to keep myself calm until Monday night comes around," said Peterson, who spent all of his previous 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. "I'm looking for amazing things to happen for me and our team."

Peterson's logic is "just based on the work that I put in and just honestly the God-given ability I've been blessed with."

Patriots: Fans cheer 5th banner, boo Goodell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots are celebrating their fifth Super Bowl title.

The Patriots planned a ceremony to unveil the NFL championship banner before the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team had to do some minor renovations of their home stadium to make room for the latest banner.

Commissioner Roger Goodell was on the field before the game, which was also the opener for the NFL season. With New England fans still angry about Goodell's "Deflategate" investigation, he received a chilly welcome.

Fans booed him and wore shirts featuring his face adorned with a red clown nose. A website handed out thousands of towels with the image, too.

The Patriots won their fifth championship in February, rallying from a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

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How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

When you think about the best wide receivers in the NFL today, names like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins come to mind and rightfully so, but the Minnesota Vikings have a pair of wideouts who have given opposing secondaries fits.

This season, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been the perfect complement to each other. Thielen finished the regular season with 91 receptions (eighth-best in the league), 1276 yards (fifth-best) and his 20 catches for 20 or more yards tied for fifth-best overall. As for Diggs, he finished with 64 receptions for 849 yards.

Together, Thielen and Diggs accounted for 54 percent of the Vikings' receiving yards this season. They also combined for 12 touchdowns. In the Vikes' miraculous playoff win over the New Orleans Saints, they accounted for 66 percent of the passing game. They have been the safety valves for Case Keenum all season long.

Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has the rare luxury of lining up either one of them on the inside or outside on any given play. Both are excellent route runners — whether it's doing deep or intermediate routes or crossing routes, and both are excellent blockers.

So how should Jim Schwartz defend against these two? Some believe help over the top on Thielen and playing single coverage on Diggs is the way to go. We may see that concept occasionally in the NFC Championship Game but I have a feeling Schwartz will come up with some variation we have not seen before. The Eagles are not going to completely shut these two down, but their damage can be minimized. Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and the other DBs will put in a full day’s work shadowing these two.

Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

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Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

As the Eagles practiced on Thursday afternoon, just a few days before hosting the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stood next to owner Jeff Lurie and watched the team he created. 

Of the 53 members on the Eagles' roster heading into this championship game, 25 weren't on the active roster last season. Roseman had a very busy offseason, molding the Eagles into a Super Bowl contender. 

For his efforts, the 42-year-old Roseman, who began with the Eagles as an intern in 2000, has been named the NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. 

Roseman helped turn over a roster that went 7-9 last season into a team that went 13-3, earning the first-overall seed in the NFC. He built the team with enough depth to survive major injuries to Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis. 

Never afraid to make a trade, Roseman came back from his time away from football operations more aggressive than ever. He claims his year away from GM duties while Chip Kelly took over was both humbling and eye-opening. 

For this season, Roseman traded 25 spots in the third round to bring in veteran defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, traded away Jordan Matthews and a pick to bring in cornerback Ronald Darby and pulled the trigger on a midseason move to bring in Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi. 

In free agency, he signed Alshon Jeffery, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Nick Foles, Patrick Robinson and Chance Warmack. He brought in several of those players on one-year prove-it deals, and for the most part, the team has gotten more than their money's worth out of them. 

He also helped hire VP of player personnel Joe Douglas to revamp the scouting department. That hire of a top personnel man was one of the conditions when Lurie reinstated Roseman to power following Kelly's dismissal. 

Roseman and Douglas spearheaded drafting a class that included Derek Barnett in the first round, an injured Sidney Jones in the second and some other contributors in the next five rounds. 

Aside from just bringing players in, Roseman has been able to manipulate the salary cap better than anyone in the league. It's been a strength of his since his arrival in Philly, so that should be no surprise. 

You could actually argue that Roseman's 2016 was more impressive. That's when he laid the groundwork for this playoff season by moving up and drafting Carson Wentz. But 2017 is when it all came together.