Terrelle Pryor

NFL Notes: League looking into Terrelle Pryor racism claims against KC fans

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NFL Notes: League looking into Terrelle Pryor racism claims against KC fans

WASHINGTON -- The NFL is looking into a situation Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City during which Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor says he was called racist names and cursed at by a fan.

Pryor posted on Instagram story on Wednesday that it got so bad during the game against the Chiefs that a league employee had to stand by him from the second quarter on. Pryor apologized to teammates and the organization for "flicking the person off."

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the league is looking into "all aspects" of Pryor's claim and will report back when the review is complete. Lockhart added that the league has "no tolerance for racial remarks directed at anyone in a stadium" and said those fans are not welcome to come back "this week, next week or any time."

On Instagram, Pryor says the comments are the reason players are kneeling during the national anthem. He says he didn't kneel because he and his teammates decided to stand together (see full story).

Raiders: Carr returns to practice after back injury
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr returned to the practice field four days after breaking a bone in his back.

Carr took snaps and threw a few light passes Thursday during the open period of practice. E.J. Manuel is expected to start Sunday for the Raiders (2-2) against Baltimore (2-2).

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Monday that Carr has a transverse process fracture in his back after taking a hard hit last week in Denver. Del Rio says the injury usually takes between two and six weeks to heal, although Cam Newton and Tony Romo came back after missing one game with similar injuries in 2014.

Left tackle Donald Penn talked to Carr earlier in the day and said the quarterback told him he was "very ahead of schedule."

Chargers: Rookie kicker Koo waived, Novak re-signed
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers have re-signed kicker Nick Novak, waiving rookie Younghoe Koo after just four games.

The Chargers (0-4) made the moves Thursday.

Novak is a 13-year NFL veteran who has kicked for eight franchises, including the San Diego Chargers from 2011-14. He made 101 of his 117 field goal attempts for the Chargers before spending the past two seasons with Houston.

Novak was released by the Texans last month after losing a competition with Ka'imi Fairbairn, the former UCLA kicker.

Koo became the fourth NFL player born in South Korea after winning the job in a camp competition with incumbent Josh Lambo.

Koo went 3 for 6 on field goal attempts for Los Angeles. The Georgia Southern product's potential tying field goal was blocked in the Chargers' season opener at Denver.

Koo then missed two field goals in their 19-17 loss to Miami one week later, including a 44-yarder at the final gun.

Giants: Banged-up defense now proving unreliable
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The defense that a year ago carried the New York Giants to their first playoff berth since 2011 has suddenly become unreliable.

Steve Spagnuolo's unit is no longer stopping the run, it is giving up big plays, missing tackles, and now it is fighting injuries heading into Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, who like they Giants are winless in four games.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon both missed their second straight practice Thursday and that never bodes well for playing the weekend.

Vernon, who has never missed a game, aggravated a sprained ankle against the Buccaneers and missed the second half. Pierre-Paul hurt a shoulder early but never left the game. However, he was never a factor in the game and he said he didn't like what he put on film.

The Giants will have a recovery day on Friday and a final practice Saturday.

"Definitely expect to practice on Saturday and be playing Sunday," Pierre-Paul said Thursday. "It's not a secret. Everybody that knows me knows I'm going to play" (see full story).

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Schwartz thinks defense is better ... on paper

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Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Schwartz thinks defense is better ... on paper

The Eagles' defense did some good things last year, but the unit also struggled to find consistency.

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked if he feels any extra pressure heading into the 2017 season after elevating the Eagles' to a top-15 unit in his first with the team. Schwartz's answer was pretty much what you'd expect, but it was good.

"There's always pressure," he said. "That goes along with this job. If you don't accept pressure, you're in the wrong business. Please don't put on my resume that I elevated this to a top 15 [defense]. I don't know that that — that's participation trophy in my mind.

"And I don't want to split hairs or whatever. The stat that we care about the most is points allowed. I think we were 12th in there. That's still not as good as we can be. And I do agree with you: On paper, we're better. We have added not only depth, but we've added some key components to the defense.

"It's our job as coaches and our job as players to be productive. I mean, this press conference doesn't matter. We can say all the right things. We can have the greatest plans. We have to execute, and the proof is in the pudding. And it's our job to do that over the course of a year.

"We're going to have good games. We're going to have bad games. When the season's over, we have to give our team consistently a chance to win the game. And the best way we can do that is points allowed. There's two things. First, is don't allow very many points, and number two is set the offense up to score."

Schwartz was right about the Eagles' being 12th in points allowed. They gave up 331 last season, an average of 20.7 per game. And he's also right about the turnovers. The Eagles were pretty good in that department. They forced 26 in 2016. That was good for 10th in the league, but the top number was 33 from the Chiefs.

It's not hard to find the key components the Eagles added to the defense this season. It starts with cornerback Ronald Darby, who was added during training camp in a trade with the Bills. He immediately becomes their top option at corner. The team also added Tim Jernigan to replace Bennie Logan, added Chris Long for defensive end depth and then drafted Derek Barnett in the first round. And then there was the addition of Patrick Robinson, the team's nickel corner, and veteran Corey Graham, who is now their third safety.

So on paper, the Eagles' defense should be better. But they don't play on paper.

Pryor interest
There was a funny moment on Wednesday during Terrelle Pryor's conference call with Philly reporters. Washington's new receiver was asked a pretty simple question: Where does his motivation come from?

Pryor didn't give a simple answer. It was a pretty funny moment though.

"My biggest fear in life is ... I don't like spiders," Pryor said. "And I don't like ... I'm scared of sharks but it's my favorite animal. What I'm getting to is another fear of mine is failure.

"You don't want to fail and you don't want to fail your teammates. That drives me. When they come to you for a play and you have to make that play, you don't have success on that play, you're letting your teammates down, you're letting yourself down, I'm letting my son down. I'm letting God giving me this ability to be great and perform down, my coaching staff down. I think that's what motivates me a little deeper and it means something to me."

Spiders, sharks and failure. Got it.

Like Alshon Jeffery, Pryor signed a one-year deal this offseason. He said he had four offers for long-term deals that would last for four or five years and pay him a lot of money. Ultimately, though, he said he decided Washington was the right spot for him, in large part because he wanted to play with quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Pryor said the Eagles did show interest in him during the offseason but then "something happened in house" in Philly. Pryor didn't know exactly what happened or what changed. 

"That's all I heard from my agent," he said. "I'm sure my agent knows a lot more about the details of that. But it doesn't matter now. I'm here."

Snapping the streak?
The Eagles haven't been very good against Washington in recent seasons. In fact, they've lost their last five against the division opponent, including two last year, dating back to 2014.

"I'm not here to talk about losing," Fletcher Cox said earlier this week, when asked about the recent streak. "I'm here to talk about going down, preparing this week to go down there. I'm not here to talk about losing."

The worst loss of the five came in Philly on Dec. 16, 2015. The Eagles lost that one by a score of 38-24. But the other four losses have been pretty close. The Eagles have lost the other four by an average of 4.5 points per game.

The Eagles haven't beaten Washington since September of 2014.

The good news for the Eagles is that Washington hasn't fared very well recently in openers. In the three years with Jay Gruden as head coach, Washington has gone 0-3 in openers and has been outscored 72-32.

Something has to give on Sunday.

Eagles-Redskins Since They Last Met: Redskins worse at 3 position groups

Eagles-Redskins Since They Last Met: Redskins worse at 3 position groups

The Eagles are a one-point favorite on the road in Week 1 when they open the season against the Redskins. The line opened with Washington favored by three, but the gap has closed in the days leading into Sunday, mostly because of the Eagles' additions and Redskins' subtractions this offseason. 

Washington's most important player, Kirk Cousins, is still around, but the 'Skins have a different look than the teams that won the last five meetings.

Here's a rundown of the Redskins' changes since their last matchup with the Eagles, Week 14 of 2016.

Receiver overhaul
The biggest changes for Washington come at wide receiver, where Pierre Garcon (49ers) and DeSean Jackson (Bucs) are no longer around (see story)

Garcon has long been labeled a possession receiver, but in reality, he's a reliable receiver who does more than just catch passes and fall down. He's the kind of guy who can make tough catches in traffic in key moments, and he's always hurt the Eagles. In the last nine meetings between these teams, Garcon caught 63 passes for 706 yards and four touchdowns. That's an average of seven catches for 78 yards. 

Replacing Garcon is Terrelle Pryor, who had a breakout season of sorts last year with the Browns. As mentioned in Friday's Eagles-Redskins fantasy implications, Pryor really slowed down the second half of last season, averaging 4.5 receptions for 59.5 yards in his last eight games and scoring once in his final 10.

Still, Pryor (6-6/240) offers Cousins another big target to go with Jordan Reed, another Eagles-killer. 

With Jackson gone, the Eagles' game plan in the secondary could differ. Jackson still commands an over-the-top safety and is the kind of deep threat that Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson haven't yet proven to be. 

Crowder is a pretty good receiver, though, and he has a favorable matchup with slot corner Patrick Robinson (see five matchups to watch). Last season, Crowder had 55 grabs for 725 yards and six TDs through 11 games, then was a non-factor in Weeks 12-17, averaging two catches for 24 yards.

Nightmare of a tight end
Reed is entering the season healthy and was not listed on Washington's injury report. A healthy Reed can be quite the headache. He's been better on a per-game basis the last two seasons than even Rob Gronkowski, but a lot of injuries — mostly concussions — have caused Reed to miss six games the last two seasons and exit several others early.

Reed will be a tough cover, but the Eagles do have two very good safeties who no longer have to worry about a 60-yard bomb to DeSean when facing the Redskins.

No team allowed fewer catches (44) or yards (414) to tight ends last season than the Eagles.

Defensive line changes
Washington used its first-round pick (17th overall) on defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, a versatile 6-foot-3, 283-pounder out of Alabama. He's listed on the depth chart at end but could move around the line. Washington is hoping that he adds a dynamic element to the line, but will he do so in his NFL debut?

Right end Chris Baker departed for Tampa Bay, leaving Stacy McGee, a lesser run stuffer, at the other D-end spot.  

In three-receiver sets, Washington will go to some 4-2-5 looks and move outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith up to D-end. 

Kerrigan has 9½ career sacks against the Eagles, including 3½ last year.

Safety retires
Su'a Cravens, 22 years old and set to enter his second NFL season as a starting safety for the Redskins, abruptly retired at the beginning of September. There goes last year's second-round pick.

In his absence, Washington turns to Deshazor Everett, who to this point has been mostly a special teams standout.

Washington's cornerbacks — Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland — are the same as the last matchup with the Eagles, but both safeties are different. In the last meeting, the Eagles saw veterans Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho. This time it will be Everett and D.J. Swearinger.