Eagles

NFL Notes: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill to reportedly have knee surgery, miss season

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NFL Notes: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill to reportedly have knee surgery, miss season

MIAMI -- A person familiar with the decision says Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will have surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the entire season.

The person confirmed the decision to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the Dolphins hadn't disclosed it publicly. Tannehill will be placed on injured reserve, the person said.

Tannehill, who missed the final four games of last season with two sprained ligaments in his knee, reinjured it a week into training camp on Aug. 3. The Dolphins consulted with specialists before deciding surgery was the best option.

Jay Cutler, who parted with the Chicago Bears after eight seasons, agreed to delay his fledgling network TV career and signed a $10 million, one-year contract Monday to replace Tannehill (see full story).

Jaguars: Albert released after 2-week standoff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have released left tackle Branden Albert, ending a strange saga that lasted nearly two weeks.

The 32-year-old Albert is now free to sign with any other NFL team.

The Jaguars and Albert had been locked in a stalemate over how the sides would part ways. Albert left the team Aug. 31, telling coach Doug Marrone he planned to retire.

The Jaguars responded by placing Albert on the exempt/left squad list, meaning he had five days to return or he would forfeit his current contract and be unable to play in the league in 2017.

The relationship seemingly became more strained when the Jaguars considered going after a prorated portion ($3.4 million) of Albert's $8.5 million signing bonus even though Miami paid it in 2014 (see full story).

Broncos: Team says its still a 2-man QB competition
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch don't need to worry about anyone but each other.

Heading into the zenith of their QB competition next week, they can rest assured the Broncos brass has their backs even as fans fret over the duo's oft-times ho-hum jockeying for the job.

Neither quarterback was particularly inspiring in the Broncos' 24-17 win at Chicago in their preseason opener Thursday night -- particularly in comparison to Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky, who threw for 166 yards and led three scoring drives.

Siemian did nothing to loosen his grip on the job, and Lynch did nothing to bridge the gap. Neither one had a turnover or a touchdown.

Before the game, however, general manager John Elway again refuted a report that he'd been scouring other rosters for a passer. And after the game, coach Vance Joseph put the kibosh on the notion that Kyle Sloter had moved into the mix with his magnificent mop-up performance.

Panthers: Newton takes step, throws individually
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is on the mend.

Newton threw passes to receivers during an individual period early in practice on Friday, according to the Charlotte Observer. However, Newton continued to be held out of team drills.

Newton had shoulder surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff and had not thrown in practice other than light warmup tosses since July 30. He did not play in the team's preseason opener Wednesday night against the Houston Texans.

It's unclear if Newton will play in the Aug. 19 preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

Even without Wentz, Eagles will chuck it

Even without Wentz, Eagles will chuck it

The question that everyone is waiting to get answered is can Nick Foles lead this team into the postseason by clinching home-field advantage and a first-round bye?

Winning two of the final three games will give the Eagles both home field and the bye. Also, an Eagles win and a Vikings loss this weekend would accomplish both of those goals, as well. 

And I am confident in Foles' ability to lead this team. His challenge will be to get the ball to his playmakers. This is the difference between Foles and Carson Wentz. Wentz is the playmaker. Foles has to be the facilitator to the playmakers. Our expectations for Foles have to be focused on just that — a facilitator.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has lost his best playmaker on offense, but he believes in his new starting QB's ability to throw the ball. In fact, I see the Eagles’ offense throwing more because of the trust Pederson has in his veteran QB. So, I know everyone is dead set on the Birds running, but I would put money on Pederson's run-to-pass ratio being 2-to-1 in favor of passing.

There are playmakers everywhere in this offense on which Foles can rely:

• Alshon Jeffrey — 50/50 ball, red-zone threat.

• Nelson Agholor — slot WR and explosive player.

• Zach Ertz — red-zone threat and more than likely Foles' security blanket to pick up first downs.

• Corey Clement — screen game and red-zone threat.

But more importantly, the other phases of the team will have to adjust to Wentz's absence.

The defense may have to play more reps throughout the course of a game. Wentz was unbelievable at extending drives with his scrambling and picking up the first down. At times, picking up the first down on a 3rd-and-8 was as easy as 3rd-and-2 to this offense.

So, how aggressive will the Eagles be in 3rd-and-longs? It is a little easier to be aggressive with Wentz at the helm. Which means, the defense will have to step up. There will be more reps for the defense during games. It may be up to 10 more plays for this defense in a game. That’s 10 more opportunities the opposing QBs will have to execute with their offense.

Coach Dave Fipp will also need to get his special teams back on track after struggling in punt protect against the Rams last week. Having a punt blocked and allowing good returns for the better part of the last few games forced the Eagles to bring back special teams guru Bryan Braman.

Role talk, Giants' mess, quotables and more

Role talk, Giants' mess, quotables and more

Marcus Johnson felt like he had carved out a nice little role with the Eagles this season. The second-year receiver wasn't playing a ton, but had averaged nearly 12 snaps per game as the team's fifth wide receiver. 

Until three weeks ago. 

That's when Johnson was inactive against the Bears. That was just the start. Without much warning, Johnson has gone from being a contributor to being inactive in the last three games, replaced by rookie draft pick Shelton Gibson. 

"I was [surprised]," Johnson said Friday. "It's part of it. It's part of how it goes. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job. Being undrafted, you have to stand out. You can't just fit in."

Johnson caught just two passes in nine games, but seemed to find a role as the team's receiver when the Eagles use 13 personnel (three tight ends). Johnson thinks the switch was more about special teams instead of offense. Because while Gibson has barely played on offense since becoming an active player, he has averaged eight special teams snaps per game, while Johnson averaged just 6.5. Even that seems like a little bit of a stretch. 

The Eagles haven't really offered a definitive reason for the switch. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich, the week after the first time Gibson was active over Johnson, said it was about "spreading the love a little bit."  

"It's frustrating as a competitor," Johnson said. "You want to be out there. I want to be out there. I want to be productive. I want to help this team, whether that's special teams, offense or whatever it may be. And when you're not out there, you're watching and it's definitely frustrating." 

Johnson, 23, has taken this news in stride for the last month. He's been trying to continue to work hard in practice; he doesn't want coaches to see any type of drop-off because he knows he'd be in trouble then. 

"Tough situation, but I feel like I handled it well," he said. "I just have to be ready when I get back out there." 

A Giant mess
The last time the Eagles and Giants met was in Week 3 and the Eagles handed the Giants their third straight loss to start the season. But it was just a three-point loss, so plenty of folks in North Jersey probably thought things could only get better from there. 

Those people were wrong. 

The Giants ended up losing their first five games, have won just two all year and have seen their head coach and longtime general manager get the boot midseason. 

"It's been a rough one," interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said on a conference call with Philly reporters earlier this week. "You just never know when these things are going to happen, not only in the NFL but in life. Sometimes it gets tough to get back on course. 

"You can make all the right decisions and I'm going to say this like I've been saying up here all week: I think Ben McAdoo is a terrific head coach. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him, I'm indebted to him for having kept me here two years ago.

"We're all tired of this. I'm tired of the failure as well. I don't forget that. Now, I've had to step in to do this job; I'll do it with honor. I respect this organization and love the New York Giants and we're going to just move on and hopefully unite, and try to find a way to win some games has been the motto." 

The late Bum Phillips once found a pretty succinct way to sum up the coaching professions: "There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." 

Yup. Pretty much. 

Pretty much every NFL coach either has been — or will be — fired. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is no different. He was a part of that 2012 coaching staff under Andy Reid that was fired. While the Eagles let that staff finish out the year, pretty much everyone saw the writing on the wall. Pederson joined Reid in Kansas City the next season. 

"It's not what you wish on anybody," Pederson said. "As a coach, you're looking for where am I going to be next spring? As players, it's very uneasy and unsettling a little bit. The one thing I know about Spags is he's going to continue to rally. He's going to continue to coach his tail off. He'll have those guys ready to play." 

Take a seat 
The Eagles didn't have Joe Walker (neck) for last week's game in Los Angeles, but it didn't really matter. The Rams used three wideout sets all game, so the Eagles were in their nickel defense all game. That meant the MIKE linebacker in the base defense — normally Walker, but Najee Goode last week — didn't see the field. 

Expect that to continue this weekend. The Giants' offense normally revolves around 11 personnel, which means they have three wideouts on the field. That forces you to use either nickel or dime defenses to combat it. The Giants haven't used 11 personnel as much this year because of injuries at the receiver position, but they still prefer to use it. 

That should make for a lighter workload for Walker as he returns from injury this week. 

Quote of the Week I: "What happened is, I'm an idiot." — Jason Kelce on his temper tantrum after getting cleated during Thursday's practice (see story)

Quote of the Week II: "I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team." — Nick Foles 

Quote of the Week III: "All due respect to our trainers, they are not a challenge to cover, and he's only been working with those guys." — Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones' return to practice (see story)

Random media guide note: Donnie Jones' first job was working at the Chicken Shack at Blue Bayou, a water part in Baton Rouge.