Eagles

Eagles Mailbag: How much will Jordan Matthews play?

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Eagles Mailbag: How much will Jordan Matthews play?

The Eagles are back at home this weekend and they’ll welcome back their franchise quarterback as Carson Wentz makes his 2018 debut. 

It should be a lot of fun. 

But he’ll be without a few weapons. That’s where we’ll start: 

I lumped these questions together for obvious reasons. First, I think Matthews is going to play a lot. I think he plays more than Shelton Gibson and Kamar Aiken. I think he actually finishes second in snaps to just Nelson Agholor among the wideouts. He’s healthy, fresh and knows the offense. There’s no reason to not play him. 

But how will they use him? I think we’re going to see more of Matthews in the slot, which does move Agholor outside. That’s not ideal, but that’s what’s going to happen. I think Agholor is much better equipped to play outside now than he was a year ago. His confidence is on a whole different planet. But they will move their receivers around. The Eagles always do. 

1. Carson Wentz 

2. Patrick Mahomes 

3. Deshaun Watson 

4. Baker Mayfield 

5. Sam Darnold

Putting Wentz at the top was easy for me. He was playing at an MVP level in Year 2. Putting Mahomes over Watson was tough because Watson was sooo good last year, but there wasn’t a huge sample size and Mahomes is doing special things right now. I also think Mahomes has a better shot with Andy Reid than Watson has with Bill O’Brien.

And the last two spots weren’t decided by the game Thursday. That would be unfair. I just liked Mayfield slightly more than Darnold in the draft. 

Roob and I are going to get into this more tomorrow. Here’s my basic thought: We might see a slow start, in part because of the lack of weapons. But I’m not worried about Carson Wentz. He’s going to settle in and have a good game. 

I think Sidney Jones is special. I wrote about that this week, that he hasn’t done anything in two games to change that opinion (see story). Eventually, Jones is going to be a starter for the Eagles. I think he’s going to be a Pro Bowler in this league. But Jalen Mills deserves a little bit of a leash. He has been a good player here. But if it’s Week 10 and we’re still wondering about this, I think the Eagles will have to think about a switch. 

The good news for the Eagles is that T.Y. Hilton has been dealing with a quad injury and likely won’t be 100 percent. But you’re right. He’s good and his ability to catch deep balls is something the Eagles have to be aware of. The safety help can’t do what it did last week. No plays over the top. It can be frustrating to see short passes with a big cushion, but it’s worse to see big completions over the top.

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Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

A day after some of the NFL’s biggest black stars called on their league to condemn racism and support their fight, the NFL has responded. 

In a 1:21 video, commissioner Roger Goodell did just that. 

Goodell gave his condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality and then offered up the following statement: 

While Goodell didn’t specifically mention Colin Kaepernick, it seems like the NFL will not fight players who wish to demonstrate during the national anthem. In fact, Goodell said the NFL will “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” 

Kaepernick began his peaceful protest nearly four years ago, back in 2016. 

This video from Goodell and the strong statement from the league comes just a day after Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and more created a video asking for this type of response from the league. To the league’s credit, it came pretty promptly. 

In time, we’ll see what this means. It’s been an emotional week in the United States and this feels like a good start. But it also feels like a beginning for the NFL, a jumping off point. As far as players are concerned, this can’t be an empty statement. We’ll find out soon enough if there will be actions to back these words. 

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Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

Michael Bennett has advice for white people trying to combat institutional racism

After a monumentally important week, former Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett has a message for white people who want to be more proactive in combating institutional racism.

Bennett, currently a free agent, and Patriots safety Devin McCourty appeared on Chris Long's Green Light podcast on Friday to discuss the ongoing national protests against racism, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis last Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

The trio of current and former NFLers had a lengthy and candid discussion about what has failed, and what needs to be improved, in the United States, and the whole thing is worth a listen.

One part in particular stuck out to me, when Bennett explained what white people looking to help should be doing:

I think now, with George Floyd, it's even shining more light on the racial disparity with the police system, and I think for our white counterparts, I think they need to do some studying.

[...]

I think white people need to start studying. As a black man, I can't tell you how to not be racist. I can't tell you how to be inclusive. I can't tell you any of those things. That's a self journey. That's a self awareness journey. I think African-American people have had to conform myself to fit in certain areas, whether it was in sports or in the culture, being told, 'You're too this, you're too that, you're too that,' and they're basically saying, 'You're too black.' Right? So now it's a situation where [...] you have to figure out your own journey, to really find out why people are feeling this way.

This protest, with George Floyd and these things, there's history behind it. I implore white people to do some research. Go look at Emmett Till. Go look at Steven Biko. Go look at Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba. Go look at what happened to Medgar Evers, when he was killed in front of his house. Go look at what happened to those girls who were bombed in Alabama. Go look at it. It's the history here. Look at it. We talk about Martin Luther King, but look at the history and how Martin Luther King was treated, how he was chased, how he received assassination attempts on his life. This is the man you look up to.

It's a great point from Bennett. This week's protests are about Floyd's killing, but they're really about something larger.

The more you know about how we reached this current moment in history, the better you can try to move forward in a proactive way.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank noted this week, it's important to see athletes use their platforms to spread messages just like this one:

The more athletes and celebrities who use their platform to influence and educate and demand change, the more we have a chance to move beyond the racism, homophobia, bigotry and sexism that are so prevalent in our society.

Later in the discussion, Bennett gave his thoughts on Washington's football team:

LONG: Is there anything the NFL can do to prove they're actually on the players' side?

BENNETT: Of course there is. I think the Redskins can change their name. That's one way, that's a start right there. You say the league is not racist, and you have a team that literally has a racial slur for its name? The Redskins? What if it was the Whiteskins, or the Blackskins, or the Yellowskins? People would be upset, right? To me, that's one way.

It would certainly be a start.

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