Eagles

NFL Notes: Ravens TE Darren Waller suspended by league for 1 year

NFL Notes: Ravens TE Darren Waller suspended by league for 1 year

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been suspended without pay for at least one year for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

It's the second time Waller has been suspended by the NFL for substance abuse. He missed Baltimore's first four games last season.

The league and the Ravens did not disclose Friday the substance Waller used that led to his suspension.

After his first suspension, Waller acknowledged that used marijuana. He returned to catch 10 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

The 24-year-old Waller is a former sixth-round pick with plenty of potential. The 6-foot-8, 255-pounder from Georgia Tech was expected to get plenty of playing time at a position that has become a trouble spot for the team.

Dennis Pitta appears headed for retirement after his third hip injury, Benjamin Wallace is returning from a torn Achilles tendon and Maxx Williams is coming back from knee surgery.

Raiders: OG Jackson reportedly agrees to 5-year extension
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders have locked up another member of their stellar 2014 draft class, agreeing to a five-year extension to keep guard Gabe Jackson under contract through the 2022 season.

A person familiar with the deal said Friday that it is worth $56 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal and its terms have not been announced. NFL Network first reported the deal that kicks in once Jackson's rookie contract expires after the 2017 season.

Jackson has been a key part of the Raiders offensive line since being drafted in the third round. He did not allow a sack in 628 pass block snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus, the best rate for any guard in the league.

Jackson was part of a transformative draft class in Oakland that was headlined by first-rounder Khalil Mack, who was the AP Defensive Player of the Year last season, and second-round franchise quarterback Derek Carr. After losing the first 10 games as rookies, those three have played a big role in a turnaround that led the Raiders to 12 wins last season and the franchise's first playoff berth since 2002.

Carr got rewarded last week for his play, signing a $125 million, five-year extension that also keeps him under contract through 2022.

Mack is under contract through 2018 because the Raiders exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal and will likely be in line for an extension next offseason.

The Raiders have invested heavily in their offensive line in recent years, especially in the interior. Oakland signed All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 million free agent deal last offseason and Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson got a five-year, $44.5 million deal the previous offseason.

Oakland also has a Pro Bowler at left tackle in Donald Penn and signed Marshall Newhouse this offseason in hopes that he would win the right tackle job.

The strong offensive line has been key to the Raiders recent success as the team allowed a league-low 18 sacks last season.

Steelers: Burns charged with driving with a suspended license
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns has been charged with driving with a suspended license.

A Miami Beach Police report says an officer pulled over Burns' Cadillac SUV in South Beach on Thursday for having an expired tag.

The report says the 22-year-old Burns failed to produce a driver's license, and was handcuffed and taken to a county jail.

Miami-Dade County court records show Burns hadn't paid hundreds of dollars in traffic tickets and failed to appear for a hearing.

The police report says Burns' SUV was impounded and the vehicle's tag was seized.

Jail records show Burns was released on bond Friday. It couldn't be determined if he had an attorney; the case wasn't yet listed in court records.

Burns was a first-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2016.

Game-winning stand just another play for Eagles' defense

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Game-winning stand just another play for Eagles' defense

There were no special instructions. No extraordinary measures taken. Not much was said. Not much needed to be said.

The game was on the line. The season was on the line. For the Eagles' defense, it was just another play. The stakes were just incredibly high.

It was 4th-and-goal for the Falcons at the Eagles' 2-yard-line in the final seconds Saturday.

Give up a touchdown, and the season's over. Stop the Falcons and you're one game closer to the Super Bowl.

"Our guys, we don't do a whole lot," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "Our guys know what to do, and they have downloaded that software enough that it's a little bit automatic for them.

"We also didn't change. We don't surprise the players. What we practiced in our red-zone period is what we played."

The Falcons had already driven from their own 24-yard-line down to the 2-yard-line.

Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, has the fourth-highest passer rating in NFL postseason history, behind Jeff Hostetler and Hall of Famers Kurt Warner and Bart Starr.

That's what the Eagles' defense was up against.

"At that point, you sort of have to trust the players and the players have to trust the scheme," Schwartz said. "I think you saw a combination of both of those. We didn't feel the need to blitz. Played coverage, played good technique."

The clock showed 1:05.

Ryan’s two favorite receivers, Julio Jones and Mohamad Sanu, both lined up on the right side of the formation, Jones outside with Jalen Mills on him and Sanu in the slot with Malcolm Jenkins covering him in a battle of North Jersey natives.

Ryan took the shotgun snap from center Alex Mack at the 7-yard-line and immediately rolled to his right, retreating to the 10 as he neared the sideline.

Nigel Bradham, lined up as the left linebacker, trampled blocking tight end Levine Tollolo, who had his hands full with Brandon Graham, and ran around guard Wes Schweitzer, giving him an angle on Ryan. 

Meanwhile, Vinny Curry, after getting cut blocked to the ground by Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, quickly bounced back up and began pursuing from Ryan’s left. 

Ryan pumped once toward Sanu, who was covered by Jenkins. He quickly looked left but saw only Curry closing in. Thanks to the pressure, he had to quickly backpedal back to the 14-yard-line and finally was forced to unload that lob toward Jones at the right sideline in the end zone.

At that point, it was up to Mills, who had Jones blanketed, and the rest is history.

The ball went through Jones’ hands, his feet came down out of bounds anyway, and after an agonizing moment looking for flags, the play was over.

"A lot gets made of what Jalen did, rightfully so," Schwartz said. "You're talking about a Pro Bowl, All-Pro receiver, 1-on-1. But Malcolm playing the seven route to Sanu and Rodney (McLeod’s) ability to help him leverage that, that was because he's looking for Julio Jones first.

"Julio slips, he's looking for Sanu, nowhere to go and now he has to re-rack that thing and by then, Nigel is closing down on him and everything else.

"If Malcolm doesn't get that route that he covered, if he doesn't get that covered, nobody's talking about Jalen Mills right now."

Mills was physical with Jones but not physical enough to draw a flag. Schwartz said Mills has made huge strides this year with his technique, and on the biggest play of his life, his technique was perfect.

"It's one thing to have confidence, but that's just not the sole requirement for the position," Schwartz said.

"There's a lot of technique that goes along with playing, and I think if you look at that last play, he did a great job of staying square. Meaning his shoulders were perpendicular to the line of scrimmage.

"What the receiver there is trying to do is get you turned so he can come back for the ball. He could never get Jalen turned."

Mills is 23 years old, a second-year pro, a former seventh-round pick, a first-year starter.

To think that he made one of the most historic plays in Eagles postseason history is remarkable.

"I think every player makes a big jump from year one to year two, as far as knowledge of scheme and knowledge of opponents and things like that," Schwartz said.

"(Defensive backs coach Cory) Undlin and Jalen have worked really hard. He's haunted the hallways quite a bit, even on off days this year, just trying to improve his technique. It hasn't been by chance that his technique has gotten better. It's a lot of hard work that's gone into it from a coaching standpoint and from a player's standpoint."

The bottom line is that this defense has played tremendous football all year.

And with the season on the line, everybody simply went out and did their job. Nothing more, nothing less.

"I just think a part of our success is our guys just understand what's asked of them in the schemes," Schwartz said.

"They communicate well. We don't make a lot of mistakes, mental mistakes, and I think that makes it hard to drive the ball on us.

"When you get into those situations where is it's closed quarters and you don't have to defend deep balls, our guys have a good understanding of what opponents are going to do. I was proud of them on that play."

John DeFilippo expected to get 2nd interview with Cardinals, per report

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John DeFilippo expected to get 2nd interview with Cardinals, per report

Highly regarded Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo is expected to get a second interview for the Cardinals’ head coaching job, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

DeFilippo, in his second year as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach, interviewed for the Bears' head coaching job that went to former Eagles assistant coach Matt Nagy. He’s already interviewed once for the Cards' job that opened up when Bruce Arians retired. 

The Eagles blocked DeFilippo from interviewing with the Jets last year for their offensive coordinator job, but they’re not allowed to block anybody from interviewing for a head coaching job.

Since the Eagles are playing in the NFC Championship Game, the Cards aren’t allowed to interview DeFilippo until either the Eagles have a bye week or they lose, so either way it would be Monday morning at the earliest.

DeFilippo, 39, is the son of former Villanova athletic director Gene DeFilippo and played high school football at Radnor High in Delaware County. He played college football at James Madison, and he had coaching stops at Fordham, Notre Dame, Columbia and San Jose State along with the Giants, Raiders, Jets and Browns before joining the Eagles.

DeFilippo’s stock skyrocketed this year as Carson Wentz emerged as one of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks in his second year.

It also hasn't hurt that Nick Foles, despite modest stats, has kept the Eagles winning in Wentz's absence. The Eagles are 4-0 since Wentz's injury in games with postseason implications.