Eagles

NFL Notes: NFLPA officially appeals Ezekiel Elliott's 6-game suspension

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NFL Notes: NFLPA officially appeals Ezekiel Elliott's 6-game suspension

NEW YORK -- The NFL Players Association has appealed Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension over the league's conclusion that its 2016 rushing leader injured his former girlfriend in three separate incidents last summer.

The union said Tuesday it will represent Elliott "to ensure that the NFL is held to its obligation of adhering to principles of industrial due process under the collective bargaining agreement."

The NFL suspended Elliott last week after a yearlong investigation into an Ohio domestic violence case that prosecutors declined to pursue. Elliott's attorneys blasted Commission Roger Goodell's ruling, saying the league "cherry-picked" evidence to reach its conclusion.

A hearing with Goodell or an arbitrator will be scheduled within 10 days with a decision "as soon as practicable" after the appeal is heard, according to the labor agreement.

The Cowboys open the regular season Sept. 10 at home against the New York Giants.

Panthers: Davis signs 1-year contract extension
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Thomas Davis won't have to worry about ever playing for another NFL team.

The Panthers have signed the 34-year-old veteran outside linebacker Thomas Davis to a one-year contract extension, keeping him with the team through the 2018 season. The deal is worth $6.76 million and includes $3 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the team doesn't release financial terms of contracts.

"I'm extremely excited. Everybody knows how I feel about being a Carolina Panther," Davis said in a team release Tuesday. "This extension solidifies me being here for the rest of my career, and I'm excited about that. Now I'm totally focused on winning a Super Bowl."

Davis' contract was set to expire after this season. Some blamed general manager Dave Gettleman's handling of extensions for Davis and tight end Greg Olsen as the reason he was fired earlier this offseason and replaced by interim general manager Marty Hurney. Olsen has two years left on his current contract but is seeking an extension, too (see full story).

Raiders: Lynch says teammates ‘proud’ of protest
NAPA, Calif. -- Marshawn Lynch isn't shedding anymore light on his decision to sit during the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders' first exhibition game.

Lynch declined to comment on why he chose to sit down Saturday night while the rest of his teammates stood during the anthem before a game in Arizona against the Cardinals.

That left his teammates to answer for him on Tuesday after the team returned for its first practice since that game.

"I'm proud of him," tight end Jared Cook said. "I think it's awesome. Everybody has points of discussion after what happened in Charlottesville just the night before. I think it's important for men in our position to step up and speak on unnecessary situations we find ourselves in as minorities in this country. That's why I'm proud of him" (see full story).

Jets: Whitehead out indefinitely with broken foot
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Lucky Whitehead has a broken foot and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Coach Todd Bowles said Tuesday that Whitehead was injured during practice Monday and it's uncertain whether he will need surgery. Bowles did not know if Whitehead will be out for the year, saying only that it'll be at least "a little while."

Whitehead, who was on crutches during the team's indoor practice, appeared to be the top contender to serve as the Jets' primary punt and kickoff returner.

The injury is the latest in a string of bad news for Whitehead, who has had a strange summer. He was waived by Dallas last month following a shoplifting incident that turned out to be a case of false identity. New York claimed Whitehead off waivers on July 26.

Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

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Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

Nick Foles has been thrust into duty as the starting QB of the Eagles. But it wasn't that long ago that this region fell in love with the Arizona product under similar circumstances. In 2013, Foles stepped in for an injured Michael Vick and set the NFL ablaze, going 8-2 as a starter, tying an NFL record with seven TDs in a game, and setting a new league mark for passer rating by a second-year QB (119.2).

When the Eagles signed Foles back in March, it was billed as a solid insurance policy in case Carson Wentz was injured. Now that they need to cash in that insurance policy, let's take a look at where Foles stands among current starting NFL quarterbacks.

I put the 31 other starters into four groups: definitely better than Foles, a bit better than Foles, as good as/maybe better than Foles, and no stinking way they're better than Foles. I am making this determination largely based on how they are playing right now, not necessarily what they've done prior to today.

Definitely Better Than Nick Foles — the "Duh" section (7)
Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Philip Rivers
Ben Roethlisberger
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Ryan
Russell Wilson

Better Than Nick Foles, But Not By A Ton (8)
Derek Carr — Still not 100 percent after a back injury.

Kirk Cousins — Way better than any Eagles fan will admit. Here's hoping he signs a lifetime deal somewhere else. Like Venus.

Jared Goff — Pretty impressive Sunday vs. the Eagles. Star on the rise.

Case Keenum — So hot right now.

Marcus Mariota — Shoutout to Chip Kelly

Cam Newton — Maybe the last true dual-threat QB out there. Damn near indestructible.

Dak Prescott — Another tough admission, but when kept upright, he's pretty darn good.

Matthew Stafford — If this guy ever gets a real team around him ... nah, forget it. He makes so much money, he'll never get a team around him.

As Good/Maybe Better Than Foles (3)
Joe Flacco — Hasn't been the same since Anquan Boldin dragged him to a ring five years ago

Alex Smith — Started off white-hot, really lousy of late

Jameis Winston — World of talent around him, still lost to Brett Hundley two weeks ago

Worse Than Nick Foles (13)
Eli Manning — Please don't tell me about his rings. Dude lost his starting gig to Geno Smith. Even if it was the wrong decision, the fact that there was even a conversation about this tells you everything you need to know.

Mitch Trubisky — Starting to figure it out, but seven weeks ago he played an entire game and threw seven passes. Seven.

Blaine Gabbert — Nope.

Jimmy Garoppolo — Not yet.

Jay Cutler — (Giggles)

Tyrod Taylor/Nathan Peterman/Joe Webb — And yet, the Bills would make the playoffs if they began today. Yikes.

TJ Yates — Nnnnope

Bryce Petty — Will make first NFL start Sunday vs. Saints. Look out.

Deshone Kizer — Poor guy.

Andy Dalton — Used to fade in January. Starting earlier every year.

Jacoby Brissett — Never had a chance.

Blake Bortles — Throws 30-plus passes most games. Two 300-yard games this season.

Trevor Siemian — Woof.

So by my math, Nick Foles is about a middle-of-the-road starting NFL QB. What you think that says about Foles or today's NFL is up to you.

5 key Eagles matchups vs. Giants

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5 key Eagles matchups vs. Giants

Even with Nick Foles, the Eagles should probably crush the Giants this weekend. After all, what's been going on in North Jersey has been a disaster all season. 

The head coach and GM have already been fired. The franchise quarterback was benched and then brought back. Oh yeah, and the Giants have just two wins all season. 

It's a mess up there. 

But this is probably a good time to remind you that the Giants had a three-point lead on the Eagles until the final minute of regulation in Week 3. And had it not been for a 61-yard field goal from unknown rookie kicker Jake Elliott, the game would have gone to overtime and then who knows what happens. 

Sure, it's been a long time since Week 3, but the Eagles can't overlook any team, especially after losing Carson Wentz for the season. 

Here are five matchups to watch: 

Sterling Shepard vs. Patrick Robinson 
In the first meeting between these two teams, Shepard had a really good game. He caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. The big play was a 77-yarder. Believe it or not, that was the only touchdown of the season for Shepard. 

On that 77-yard touchdown, Robinson let Shepard catch the ball, but Chris Maragos took a bad angle toward Shepard that allowed him to go the distance. Maragos actually took out Robinson on the play. 

In that game, Robinson played pretty well and had an interception. Really, he's been solid all season. He's been one of the more pleasant surprises this year. 

Evan Engram vs. Malcolm Jenkins
While Robinson will be dealing with Shepard, Jenkins will have his hands full with Engram, who has become the team's top receiving threat with Odell Beckham Jr. on IR. Engram, the rookie tight end, has 55 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns this season. He's already become a threat for the Giants. 

The good news for the Eagles is they've been decent against opposing tight ends, giving up 59 catches for 597 yards and five touchdowns. Eleven teams have given up fewer receiving yards to opposing tight ends. Jenkins is their best shot against Engram. 

Chad Wheeler vs. Brandon Graham 
On a line that still features Ereck Flowers at left tackle, it's worth noting that the Giants are down to rookie Wheeler at right tackle. Wheeler went undrafted out of USC, but has become the Giants' third right tackle this year. Bobby Hart began the season, then Justin Pugh got his turn, now it's on Wheeler. 

Wheeler has started the last three games at right tackle. During those three games, he's given up four sacks and 11 quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus. 

This weekend, he'll see Brandon Graham, who has been an absolute force all season. Graham leads the team with a career-high 8 1/2 sacks and has been even more disruptive than that. 

Nick Foles. vs. Steve Spagnuolo
You might have heard that the Eagles have a new quarterback this week. Carson Wentz is out for the season after tearing his ACL, which means Foles will get the start against the Giants. It'll be up to defensive coordinator and interim head coach Spagnuolo to try to rattle him. 

All week the Eagles have said nothing changes with the quarterback switch. Sure, Wentz is just a more athletic player than Foles, so they'll miss that. But they claim they're just going to run their offense. That seems to be what the Giants are preparing to see. 

"We're going to play to defend the scheme," Spagnuolo said on a conference call with Philly reporters this week. "They're just a well-oiled machine right now." 

Eagles receivers vs. Giants cornerbacks
With a backup quarterback, it would make sense to see the Eagles come out and run the ball a ton on Sunday afternoon. But there will be the opportunity to pass against the Giants and their messy cornerback situation. Now, the Eagles should be able to run, too. The Giants are the 31st-ranked run and pass defense, so they stink in both areas. 

But what better opportunity for Foles to get a chance to work with his new receivers. Running the ball is probably going to be a key for the Eagles the rest of the way. They should absolutely run the ball. But running the ball alone won't be enough to win a championship. They'll need Foles to play well too. This could be a chance for him to build that confidence and have his teammates grow their confidence in him.