Eagles

NFL Notes: Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. says missing OTAs not about contract

NFL Notes: Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. says missing OTAs not about contract

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Odell Beckham Jr. says his decision to skip voluntary workouts had nothing to do with his contract. The New York Giants star receiver simply wanted to train on his own, reflect on life and take time to "grow and mature."

The three-time Pro Bowl receiver joined teammates Tuesday for the start of a mandatory three-day minicamp. He saw limited action in the 1-hour, 40-minute workout and dropped one deep ball.

From the time he hit the field, it seemed his every move was studied by reporters, photographers and video crews. He was relaxed after practice and hedged several times when asked about his contract.

Beckham is one of the NFL's top receivers and he will earn $1.8 million in this his fourth season, much less than some receivers who are far less productive. The Giants picked up the option on his fifth year for $8.4 million in 2018.

"I have seen a holdout and all that stuff and I have really never seen it work, so that was never in my mind to: `I'm not going to go to OTAs to get a new contract,'" Beckham said. "I don't really think that proves a point in my opinion.

"So I was out there (on the West Coast) really taking the time for myself to reflect on life and values and what's really, really important," he said. "Like I said to grow and mature" (see full story).

Colts: Luck eager to start throwing
INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck's message to concerned Colts' fans is simple: Don't sweat it.

He isn't worried about his throwing shoulder, the Colts owner doesn't seem to be and those inside the organization continue to believe Luck will soon be back to work.

Five months after undergoing surgery for a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder, Indianapolis' franchise quarterback said Tuesday he is eager to begin the next step in his recovery -- throwing a football.

"It's not fun to stand on the sidelines, but I understand when you have a surgery you understand what goes into that decision the consequences of that, especially with that you're going to miss parts of that for rehab," Luck said as the Colts opened a three-day mandatory minicamp.

"Certainly there's an urge (to throw), but that's not part of the protocol," he added later.

Coach Chuck Pagano and others inside the organization remain hopeful all that changes when training camp opens July 29 (see full story).

Patriots: Edelman not slowing down after extension
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Julian Edelman is a step closer toward playing his entire NFL career with the New England Patriots.

The 31-year-old receiver confirmed Tuesday that he has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2019 season.

Edelman was one of the heroes of New England's historic Super Bowl comeback win over Atlanta in February, hauling in a juggling fourth-quarter catch to keep the game-tying drive alive.

The play instantly went down in Patriots history, but the gutty 5-foot-11 Kent State player had long established himself as one of quarterback Tom Brady's go-to targets over eight years.

Edelman said he's happy to remain "a Pat" but insisted he isn't thinking about anything beyond the upcoming 2017 season.

"As lame as it sounds and as much as you guys hear it, it's really a mentality where you just keep it day-to-day," he said. "When you can do that, that's usually when you stay focused and you improve the most" (see full story).

Redskins: Williams named senior VP of player personnel
ASHBURN, Va. -- Once a Super Bowl MVP, Doug Williams waited his entire post-playing career to run a professional team.

"You want this day to come," he said. "When you get up every morning, you hope it'll come."

It's here. The former quarterback is now in charge of the Washington Redskins as senior vice president of player personnel. He's running the show, but Williams made it very clear he's not the general manager.

"We had a general manager -- it didn't work out that well," Williams said Tuesday, referring to the two-year tenure of Scot McCloughan, who was fired in March. "My job is to control (my) hallway. And I think if we do a good job, no matter what happens, we all get credit for what this football team does."

In announcing Williams' promotion from senior personnel executive, team president Bruce Allen said the 61-year-old stood out among more than a dozen internal and external candidates. Allen hired Williams in Tampa Bay and has known him for a long time but said his "plan" made it clear he was the right man for the job that has been done piecemeal for the past few months.

"I was proud of when Doug presented his plan because his vision was a team," Allen said at a news conference. "He was a quarterback again leading a team" (see full story).

5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Redskins again

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5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Redskins again

The Eagles finally snapped the five-game losing streak to Washington in the season opener on Sept. 10. 

Now they have a chance to start a streak of their own. 

Both teams have found success after that 30-17 Eagles win in the opener. The Eagles are 5-1 with the best record in the NFC, while Washington is 3-2 and second in the NFC East. 

With a win on Monday night at the Linc, the Eagles would be 6-1 and would put another game between them and their closest division opponent. So it could be a big boost (see story)

But remember, these division games aren't normally easy and until this season's opener, Washington had their number. 

Here are five matchups to watch on Monday night: 

Zach Ertz vs. Washington's safeties 
Washington hasn't been able to stop Ertz yet, so this is still a huge matchup problem. In the opener, he caught eight passes for 93 yards. That game kicked off what has already been an incredible season for the tight end. 

In nine career games against the division foe, Ertz has 54 catches for 531 yards. Ertz likes playing against Washington and it's not just his crazy numbers (see story)

And it's not just Ertz. Washington has struggled against tight ends all season. They lead the league in yards surrendered to opposing tight ends with 407 on 29 catches, with two touchdowns. 

Brandon Scherff vs. Fletcher Cox
Washington coach Jay Gruden admitted his team was beaten physically in the first meeting between these two. That started with Cox, who had a huge strip sack on Kirk Cousins in the first quarter. Because Scherff is a Pro Bowl guard, there's a good chance Cox will actually see plenty of 1-on-1 against him on Monday. He'll need to beat Scherff again. 

Scherff has been really good since Washington used the fifth overall pick on him in 2015, but this is his biggest test. And he'll get it twice per season in the next few years. 

"I think the Redskins have a fine offensive line," Eagles DC Jim Schwartz said. "It's going to be one of our biggest challenges." 

Morgan Moses vs. Brandon Graham 
For what it's worth, Moses is ProFootballFocus' 17th ranked offensive guard. That's not great but he's not usually a liability and he's not a bad right tackle. But Graham absolutely spanked him the first time these two teams met. 

In that game, Graham had two sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. If he has this kind of impact again, it's going to be a long day for Moses. 

LeGarrette Blount vs. Redskins' run D
Blount had just 46 yards on 14 carries in the first meeting but since then, he's really come on and Doug Pederson has shown a devotion to finding balance in his offense. 

Washington has been pretty good against the run, giving up 88 yards per game (eighth in the league). But they'll be without first-round pick Jonathan Allen, one of their top defensive linemen. 

Eagles' WRs vs. Washington's banged up corners
If Blount isn't heavily involved in the game plan on Monday it might be because Pederson sees opportunity in the passing game. Washington's starting cornerbacks Josh Norman (rib fracture) has been ruled out and Bashaud Breeland (knee) is questionable. 

Even if Breeland plays, he won't be 100 percent and they'll definitely miss Norman. Even though the backups have played pretty well, Carson Wentz will probably test this banged up Washington secondary early and often. 

If Washington is without both of their starting corners — or even if Breeland plays — expect Pederson to attack their backups. It could be a big day for the Eagles' passing game. 

Gunn on One: Brandon Graham on Eagles' hot start, slowing down Chris Thompson

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Gunn on One: Brandon Graham on Eagles' hot start, slowing down Chris Thompson

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham is in his eighth season and is the longest-tenured player on the Birds' defense. He currently leads the defense with four sacks. Recently, I slowed him down just long enough to ask him some questions. The topics included the Eagles' 5-1 record and facing a key offensive weapon on the Redskins.

Gunner: With a 5-1 record, are you guys enjoying having that target on your back? Everyone in the NFC is gunning for you guys right now.

Graham: They didn't give us a chance in the beginning. We were going to be at the bottom of the NFC East. We got a lot of new guys, but we didn't have the chemistry, and now all we do is work. Nobody is worried about 5-1 right now. We're just worried about the Redskins. It's the next game up. We have another opportunity to go out and win a game. I guess after the season we'll look back and say, 'OK this is what we did.' I don't see guys getting caught up in 5-1. We just work.

Gunner: Speaking of the Redskins, a guy you have to watch closely Monday night is RB Chris Thompson. How special is this guy? He's their leading rusher and leading receiver averaging almost 19 yards per catch?

Graham: Man, he's good. He has good balance, good vision, fast. He's everything you want in a running back. I think we have a good challenge up ahead. We just have to play team defense, and rally to the ball. Get numbers to the ball and we should be fine.

You can see the extended version of my conversation with Graham Monday night at 7 p.m. on Eagles Pregame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus.