Eagles

NFL Notes: Goodell says '15 draft down to L.A., Chicago

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NFL Notes: Goodell says '15 draft down to L.A., Chicago

For the first time since 1964, New York will not host the NFL draft in 2015.

According to Sam Farmar of the Los Angeles Times, Roger Goodell told reporters on Thursday that New York was considered but ultimately was ruled out. The prospective location has been narrowed down to either Chicago or Los Angeles for next year's draft.

“We’re focusing solely on Los Angeles and Chicago now,” Goodell said.

The decision to drop New York from consideration was made when Radio City Music Hall, the event’s usual venue, couldn’t offer available dates in April or May. The draft is expected to take place either April 22-25 or April 29-May 2.

Goodell did not give a timeframe on when the league will choose between the two cities.

“We had 12 cities that were interested,” Goodell said. “We felt the best thing to do was to focus on the three cities, because they had such a tremendous interest. There are very attractive aspects to each of those cities. Because we don’t have the appropriate dates in May our focus is completely on Los Angeles and Chicago. They both have tremendous bids.”

Though the draft has recently been a three-day event, the NFL has given thought to expanding it to four days starting next year.

-CSNPhilly.com

49ers: Staley signs two-year extension 
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers showed off their new home in style Thursday while quietly making a move to protect quarterback Colin Kaepernick's blindside.

After an extravagant ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Levi's Stadium, the 49ers announced left tackle Joe Staley has signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2019 season.

The 29-year-old Staley, who had wanted a new deal this offseason, was among the players at the event.

"We both felt it was time to get something done, and what I'm most excited about is the opportunity to play my whole entire career as a San Francisco 49er," Staley said later on a conference call with reporters. "That was one of my goals that I set out to do as a rookie coming into the NFL -- make an NFL roster, become a starter, win a Super Bowl and play my whole entire career with one team.

"So very excited for the opportunity to do that and really grateful for the 49ers allowing me that opportunity. Now it's really just time to go work on that Super Bowl."

Staley's extension is the latest move in a busy offseason that has seen some of San Francisco's biggest offensive contributors get new deals -- and others take strong measures in hopes of getting one.

Last month, the 49ers rewarded Kaepernick with a six-year extension worth up to $126 million. Tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone, though, have held out of the team's voluntary offseason workout program and mandatory minicamp despite two years left on their current contracts (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Titans: Taylor Lewan to go to trial in fan-punching case
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Tennessee Titans rookie Taylor Lewan will go to trial in October on charges he punched an Ohio State fan.

The former Michigan offensive tackle is accused of hitting the fan after the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines last season. He is charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery.

He was told during a pretrial hearing Thursday to return to Ann Arbor District Court on Oct. 27 for jury selection. The trial could begin the next morning.

The Titans will not be preparing that week for a game, minimizing the possible impact of Lewan being back near his college campus. Lewan, drafted No. 11 overall, is one of three players drafted this year without a contract.

Lewan and the Titans declined to comment after the pretrial hearing. When asked about the possibility of a plea bargain, Lewan's attorney, John Shea, said: "Who knows what the future holds?" He is "assuming" the case will be decided by jurors. (see full story)

-The Associated Press

Eagles rookie report: Barnett's best game; Hollins' 1st score

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USA Today Images

Eagles rookie report: Barnett's best game; Hollins' 1st score

The rookies contributed in a big way to the Eagles' 34-24 win over the Redskins at the Linc on Monday night (see breakdown).

First-round pick Derek Barnett played his best game, WR Mack Hollins scored his first TD and RB Corey Clement showed off his improving skill set for the 6-1 Eagles.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights in this week's rookie report.

1st quarter, 5:05, 1st-and-10 at WAS 7 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
Corner Rasul Douglas was the first rook to make a play in this one. Playing off coverage as he has for most of the season, he's lined up against WR Ryan Grant, the lone receiver on the left. Grant runs a short hitch. Douglas make another aggressive play on the ball, reading the route and the quarterback and tackling Grant immediately for a three-yard gain.

1st quarter, 4:26, 2nd-and-7 at WAS 10 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
Barnett makes a rookie mistake on this play. QB Kirk Cousins fakes the handoff to RB Rob Kelley to the right and then rolls backs to his left. With all of Barnett's momentum going right, a slight chip block from TE Jordan Reed knocks Barnett off balance. As Barnett is on the ground, Cousins is allowed to roll left and find TE Niles Paul for a 32-yard completion.

1st quarter, 3:05, 3rd-and-2 at 50 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
It didn't take long for Barnett to get redemption. The Redskins unwisely try to block Barnett with a tight end. This might work on defensive ends who don't have a high pursuit level, but as we've seen, that's not the case with Barnett. Every play that I've seen him 1-on-1 against a tight end, he won the matchup with ease. He gets right around Reed and brings down Cousins for his first solo NFL sack (he recorded a 1/2 sack last week in Carolina). 

2nd quarter, 3:19, 2nd-and-16 at PHI 36 - Redskins 10, Eagles 3
This was really the turning point of the game. The Eagles couldn't get much going and Carson Wentz just took a sack to make it 2nd-and-long. Hollins is lined up on the line to the right with Alshon Jeffery bunched behind him. Hollins runs down the field and gives a great head fake on a corner route to S D.J. Swearinger before turning on the jets and leaving Swearinger in the dust. Wentz throws a dime and Hollins snags his first NFL touchdown. The route tree at North Carolina isn't exactly sophisticated. It's something Hollins has worked on and it really showed on this play.

3rd quarter, 9:43, 3rd-and-goal at WSH 9 - Eagles 17, Redskins 10
If the Hollins' touchdown was the turning point, this might have been the nail in the coffin. Coming out of the locker room, the Eagles drove right down the field and were in danger of having to settle for a field goal. Wentz is lined up in the shotgun with Clement lined up next to him on the right. Washington sends a heavy blitz. Clement runs a wheel route on LB Zach Brown. Wentz defies physics to get off a tremendous throw under pressure. Brown has tight coverage but the ball is in a perfect spot where only Clement can get. And boy did Clement get it. He makes an unbelievable catch and does an even better job keeping his feet in bounds.

3rd quarter, 4:12, 2nd-and-6 at PHI 48 - Eagles 24, Redskins 10
This is a tremendous play by Barnett. He sets a hard edge on a bull rush against perennial All-Pro tackle Trent Williams and drives the veteran tackle backwards. He then comes from behind to tackle Kelley for a one-yard loss. This play was even more impressive than the sack given it was against arguably the best left tackle in football.

4th quarter, 12:59, 3rd-and-6 at PHI 48 - Eagles 24, Redskins 17
This was an interesting play call. Doug Pederson either saw something the Redskins were doing on third down or really trusts his defense. Clement takes the ball off tackle left. Backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai does a great job driving his defender backward while Clement patiently waits behind him. Clement is able to get the first down and keep what eventually turned into a touchdown drive going.

Analysis
Barnett was tremendous. He looked like a completely different player than he did in Week 1 against Williams (granted Williams has been hobbled by an injury). He's starting to get more comfortable in his secondary pass rush moves, including breaking out a nice spin move on one play. His confidence is growing week by week (see Roob's observations). With his two sacks tonight, he's now recorded 2.5 sacks the last two weeks. Not too shabby.

When Hollins was drafted by the Eagles, they acknowledged his prowess on special teams, but Howie Roseman was quick to point out that Hollins was more than that. He certainly showed that tonight. As previously mentioned, route running wasn't considered Hollins' strength coming out. But you could see on his college tape that he had the quick feet and suddenness to turn into a decent route runner. Hollins had to just one catch, but he made it count.

Clement had a fumble in the fourth quarter that he recovered but maximized the rest of his touches. The work he's put in on becoming a better pass catcher has clearly paid off. And yet again he shows off his patience and vision when running the ball. Not bad for a guy who seemed like a long shot to make the team when the preseason started.

Jake Elliott apparently is human. After making his 12th straight kick -- a 50-yarder -- earlier in the game, he missed a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

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Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

The Eagles didn't look like the best team in the NFL. Not even close.

For most of the first half on Monday Night Football, the Eagles were a mess. They were committing penalties, giving up big plays and floundering on offense.

Then things changed.

Then Carson Wentz started to look like an MVP. And then the Eagles started to look like the team fans in Philadelphia have become used to seeing over the first half of the season.

They started to look like the best team in the NFL again.

The Eagles recovered from their early missteps to beat Washington 34-24 at the Linc on Monday night to remain in control of the division and the conference (see 10 observations).

With the win, the Eagles are 6-1 and are all alone with the best record in the NFL. They also gained more ground, sweeping the season series with Washington, which fell to 3-3.

While the Eagles picked up a big win, they did suffer a couple losses. Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Hicks (ankle) both left the game and did not return. The Eagles have lost important players before but these will be hard to overcome. 

Wentz was dynamic on Monday Night Football. In a second straight nationally televised game, Wentz dazzled and showed why his name is at the forefront of the NFL MVP discussion.

Wentz completed 17 of 25 passes for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His four touchdowns went to four different receivers. Wentz finished the game with a passer rating of 126.3. It's the third game in a row he's had a passer rating over 100 and it's just the sixth such game of his career.

Turning point
The Eagles looked awful early in the game, but then they broke out of a funk when Wentz hit Mack Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb. That changed the game and brought some life back into the Linc.

Key stat
Before the Arizona game, Wentz had never had a three-touchdown game. He has three in a row now and 11 in three games.

Wentz has more touchdown passes in the last three games (11) than 19 teams have all season.

Offensive stud
Wentz is the real deal. After a bad start, he made some spectacular plays and carried the team. He's a legitimate MVP candidate.

Offensive dud
Torrey Smith didn't have much of an impact. He didn't have a catch and was targeted just once.

Defensive stud
Malcolm Jenkins played a great game on Monday night. He was everywhere. He stopped Jordan Reed on a key third down before Wentz hit Hollins on the deep touchdown pass.

Defensive dud
We'll give this to Najee Goode but that's probably unfair. It looked like Chris Thompson was his responsibility on the touchdown. Hard duty, as Jim Schwartz would say.

Key plays
• Corey Graham picked off a Kirk Cousins pass to give the Eagles great field position and Jake Elliott drilled a 42-yarder to add three more points.

• On 3rd-and-8, Wentz somehow pulled off a magic trick and escaped a sure sack. He was able to escape and scramble for 17 yards. He capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. It was Wentz's fourth TD pass of the game and it put the Eagles up 31-17.

• Cousins hit Reed on a short touchdown pass to cut into the Eagles' lead. It made the score 24-17.

• Wentz threw a ridiculous pass while getting hit by two guys and hit Corey Clement in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown. Clement tapped both feet in to put the Eagles up 24-10.

• After a Washington three-and-out, Wentz and the Eagles got the ball with 1:52 left in the half and drove down to score another touchdown. The big play on the drive was a 46-yarder to Zach Ertz, who then caught a four-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 17-10.

• Wentz hit Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb in the second quarter to tie the game at 10-10. It was Wentz's fourth 50-yard pass of the season. He had just three all last season.

• Cousins found Thompson for a seven-yard touchdown to put Washington up 10-3. Thompson was wide open in the flat and the Eagles were missing Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks.

• Elliott drilled a 50-yarder to start the second-quarter scoring. It was his 11th straight make.

• Derek Barnett picked up his first solo sack to end a Washington drive in the first quarter. It came at a good time.

• After Washington kicked a field goal on their opening drive, the Eagles' first offensive drive was a disaster. They had four penalties and gained just five yards. It ended when Wentz threw a deep interception that was basically an interception.

Injuries
Ronald Darby (ankle) might return next week but was inactive against Washington. So was Mychal Kendricks (hamstring), who popped up on the Eagles' injury report during the week.

The Eagles lost Hicks (ankle) on the second play of the game and Peters (knee) on the first drive of the second half (see story).

Up next
The Eagles have two more home games before their bye week. Next Sunday, they'll face the winless 49ers and then face the Broncos before their week off.