Eagles

NFL Notes: Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians feels 'great' after cancer scare

NFL Notes: Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians feels 'great' after cancer scare

PHOENIX -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he is facing the coming season with renewed energy after an offseason cancer scare.

Arians reveals in his new book "The Quarterback Whisperer" that a small spot was detected on his kidney while he was being examined for a hernia problem in December.

He said in the book that the diagnosis was renal cell carcinoma. A small portion of his kidney was removed in February "and now I feel great," he said.

The 64-year-old coach said his energy has returned and he's ready for at least one more season as an NFL coach.

The cancer was found at an early enough stage that Arians' kidney was saved. He told NFL Network that he feels very lucky.

It was Arians' second bout with cancer. He beat prostate cancer in 2007.

Bills: Police release arrest video of Washington
SHARONVILLE, Ohio -- Police in Ohio on Wednesday released cruiser and body cam video of the arrest of Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Adolphus Washington on a weapons charge.

The Cincinnati native and former Ohio State standout is accused of improperly carrying a concealed weapon outside a water park in Sharonville. A police report says officers were breaking up a crowd at the park Sunday night when Washington "reached for and displayed a gun while sitting inside his vehicle, just feet away from officers."

The video shows Washington in his vehicle, with officers surrounding him and shouting at him to "put the gun down."

Washington is later seen in a cruiser with an officer asking him: "Why in the hell would you have that gun in your hands?"

He replied that he was "putting it away."

Washington was processed at the Sharonville Police Department and released that night. Court records do not list an attorney for him (see full story).

Packers: President says GM Thompson doing a great job
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy says general manager Ted Thompson is doing a great job, and the team will have a plan in place whenever he decides to retire or step down.

The 64 year-old Thompson is entering his 13th year as Packers GM. Murphy was asked during a Wednesday conference call about team finances whether there was a succession plan in place for Thompson, who last signed an extension in 2014.

The Packers and Thompson didn't disclose how long he was under contract, though Murphy said it was "multiple years."

Murphy says his first objective is to keep Thompson in place as long as the longtime GM enjoys the work.

The Packers' success has led to other teams hiring away Thompson's assistants.

Cowboys: Team ranked most valuable sports franchise
NEW YORK -- The Dallas Cowboys are worth $4.2 billion, making them the most valuable sports franchise for the second straight year, according to Forbes .

In its annual rankings, Forbes placed the New York Yankees second -- up from fourth a year ago -- with a value of $3.7 billion.

Next are three soccer clubs: Manchester United ($3.69 billion), Barcelona ($3.64) and Real Madrid ($3.58).

The rest of the top 10 includes the New England Patriots ($3.4 billion), New York Knicks ($3.3 billion), New York Giants ($3.1 billion), San Francisco 49ers ($3 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($3 billion).

The rankings are based on Forbes' valuations done over the last year for all NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, soccer, NASCAR and Formula One teams.

The average current value of the top most valuable teams is $2.5 billion, the highest to date, an increase over last year, when the average value was $2.2 billion.

Unselfishness at core of Eagles' balanced, lethal offense

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AP Images/USA Today Images

Unselfishness at core of Eagles' balanced, lethal offense

You look at the stats, and nothing jumps off the page. No running back on pace for 1,000 yards, no wide receiver on pace for 1,000 yards. Heck, even the all-world quarterback hasn't thrown for more than 211 yards in his last three games.

No 100-yard games by a wide out or tight end. Only one 100-yard game by a running back, and that was two months ago.

Four different guys have led the team in rushing, three different guys have led the team in receiving, 11 different guys have scored touchdowns.

Heck, in the win over Dallas Sunday night, the Eagles' longest catch wasn't by one of the speedy free agent wide receivers, and it wasn't by Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins or Zach Ertz. It was by rarely used 11th-year tight end Brent Celek, who turns 33 in January.

You want Pro Bowlers? This is not the offense for you. You want guys to score you a ton of fantasy points? This is definitely not the offense for you. 

You want a Super Bowl contender? Welcome to Philly, where head coach Doug Pederson has found a way to get a bunch of players used to being the guy to suppress their egos and do whatever's necessary to help the team.

LeGarrette Blount led the NFL in rushing touchdowns last year. Jay Ajayi was a Pro Bowler last year. Alshon Jeffery has been a Pro Bowler and was fifth in the NFC in receiving yards per game over the last four years. 

They're used to being stars. They like being stars. They get paid to be stars. And they've all put their egos aside to be part of something special.

Pederson's greatest accomplishment this year has been to get everybody on the roster to buy into the notion of setting aside personal goals to help the team win football games.

These are guys with big-money incentives and tremendous pride in their numbers. They want to be considered the best at what they do. And they want to put up numbers that land them that next big contract.

But Pederson has them all locked into something bigger, something greater. That game in Minnesota in 2 ½ months.

"The bottom line is winning the game," Pederson said. "Bottom line. I don't go into a game saying, ‘Jay, you've got to get 100 yards rushing. LeGarrette or Alshon, you've got to have 100 yards receiving.’ 

"It doesn't work that way. We don't design the offensive plays to work that way. If it happens, great. Alshon a couple weeks ago had an opportunity to be our first 100-yard receiver this year.

"It's just the guys just want to win, and it doesn't matter who's hot in the game. Our quarterback is so prepared and well-prepared, knowing exactly where to go with the ball in the passing situations. We ask him to do so much in the run game. And it's all part of the process, and these guys have bought in 100 percent, and they prepare that way. 

"You see it on game day. They're just all making plays and they're all contributing right now."

The Eagles are an NFL-best 9-1, and a win at home Sunday against the lowly Bears gives them nine straight wins, which would tie a franchise record set in 1960 and matched in 2003.

Their last four wins have all been by double digits, they're averaging 32 points per game, and they're on pace to score the 15th-most points in NFL history.

And they're doing it without anybody on pace for a 1,000-yard season and with just one 100-yard game by a receiver or running back.

Every coach talks about unselfishness, but Pederson genuinely has these guys living it and breathing it.

Why does it work?

"Because we all want to win," Blount said.

And it works because the quarterback is the most unselfish guy of all and legitimately doesn't care about anything other than getting a win.

"Winning is contagious, and the guys feed off of that," Pederson said. "And so it really doesn't matter who makes the play. It's just at the end of the day, just find a way to win the game."

Eagles DE Derek Barnett wreaking havoc as sacks starting to pile up

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USA Today Images

Eagles DE Derek Barnett wreaking havoc as sacks starting to pile up

With each passing game, it's starting to become clearer and clearer why the Eagles used their first-round pick on Derek Barnett. 

The rookie defensive end is beginning to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. 

"This guy is very disruptive, explosive," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's another one of those unselfish guys. He just wants to win and do whatever he can to help the team win."

Barnett, the 14th overall pick in April's draft, had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Eagles' 37-9 win Sunday night over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

In addition to Barnett's two sacks (he forced a fumble on one), he also applied pressure and hit quarterback Dak Prescott on two of his three interceptions. 

It seemed like Sunday was probably Barnett's best NFL game so far. The 21-year-old humbly didn't go along with that assessment. 

"I think I did some good things, but I need to do a better job in the run game," Barnett said. "I didn't do that well in the run game. At the end of the day, we won. That's all that matters. We got a victory and let's all go back to Philly." 

After failing to record a sack in his first five NFL games, Barnett now has 4.5 in his last five games. He is second among all NFL rookies in sacks this season. 

He's already eighth on the Eagles' rookie sack list and could move up that list quickly. Two more sacks would put him third behind just Reggie White (13) and Corey Simon (9.5). 

Sacks sometimes come in bunches. 

"I just think they're coming now," Pederson said. "I think he's getting comfortable in the role. He's developing. He's understanding the game. He studies tackles, he studies his opponent. He's developed a couple of different moves. It's just his willingness. It just clicks for any player. They start to come. I love where he's at right now too." 

Even before the sacks started coming, Barnett was quietly getting pressure. Now, he's getting pressure and finishing the plays. 

Barnett played 51 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps Sunday and is closing on the 50 percent mark on the season. While he hasn't been widely talked about as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, he could make a case quickly if these numbers keep piling up. 

More importantly, he could offer the Eagles a dangerous pass-rusher as they make their way down the stretch and into the playoffs.

And he's doing it with the same traits that made him attractive to the Eagles in the first place. 

Remember just after he was drafted, when vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas raved about Barnett's "excellent" ankle flexion? 

Well, check out Barnett's bend on his fourth-quarter strip sack: 


 

He bent around the left tackle and came at Prescott horizontally. 

He did it earlier in the game on the Rodney McLeod interception: 

 

And remember how much everyone praised his high motor and compete level? 

Check out his first-half sack. He willed his way to a sack and wouldn't let Prescott escape. 

Sunday was Barnett's second career two-sack game; they came less than a month apart. And it looks like there are plenty more sacks in his future. 

"They're starting to come in slowly but surely," Barnett said. "Everybody says to pass rush, you have to keep on rushing. You can't get down. You're going to be in your little slumps and stuff. You have to keep on grinding through it. It's eventually going to break."