Eagles

Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

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AP Images

Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby on Sunday morning released a statement defending his friend, former Florida State teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston against allegations Winston inappropriately groped an Uber driver during a ride in Arizona in March 2016.

News of the allegations came to light early last week and the NFL is investigating the Uber driver's claims. Darby says he was in the backseat of the car with Winston on the night of the alleged groping.

"I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening March 13, 2016, when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona," Darby said in Sunday's statement. "There were three of us in the car, not just one, as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true."

Darby and Winston played together at FSU from 2012-2014 and formed a close bond. But it was during that time at FSU that Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, came into the limelight for a variety of wrong reasons.

While redshirting in 2012, he was detained by police for causing property damage with a BB gun. In April 2014, he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and subsequently suspended from the Seminoles' baseball team. He was suspended for a game against Clemson in September 2014 for shouting an inappropriate phrase in a cafeteria.  

But most notably, Winston was accused of sexually assaulting FSU student Erica Kinsman during an alleged December 2012 incident in his apartment. Winston was never charged by police in Tallahassee, where FSU is located, and the Florida state attorney's office also did not pursue criminal charges.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Darby was in Winston's apartment the night of the alleged sexual assault.

That case turned into a federal lawsuit that was eventually settled in December 2016.

Eagles ‘optimistic’ several pieces could return Sunday

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NBCSP

Eagles ‘optimistic’ several pieces could return Sunday

As they get ready to face one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, the Eagles’ depleted secondary might get a boost just in time. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said Sidney Jones is day to day as they enter the week, but he’s optimistic Jones will be able to play Sunday in New Orleans. Jones has missed the last three games after leaving the Giants game on Oct. 8 with a hamstring injury. 

Getting Jones back would be big, especially after the Eagles lost Ronald Darby to a torn ACL in the last game. 

Before his injury, Jones had been the Eagles’ slot corner, but since then Jalen Mills suffered a foot injury that will likely keep him out again this week and Darby tore his ACL. Rasul Douglas will likely be one of the starting outside corners this weekend and Jones might be the other. 

“I think we’ll see him in both spots,” Pederson said. “Avonte (Maddox) has done a nice job in the nickel. He’ll probably continue to work in there. We’ll just ease Sidney back in today and see what he can do.”

Tim Jernigan 

He’s still on the Non-football Injury list, but Doug Pederson said Jernigan will “do a little more” this week in practice and the Eagles are optimistic about his chances to play this week. 

That would be another huge boost at a position where the Eagles could certainly use it. 

Before Jernigan would be able to play, he’d need to be put on the 53-man roster. The Eagles have a three-week window to either activate Jernigan or shut him down for the season. That window began last Monday. 

Richard Rodgers 

If you were curious why the Eagles used one of their two designations to return from IR on tight end Richard Rodgers, we got some clarity on Wednesday. Pederson said third tight end Josh Perkins has a significant knee injury and will miss time. 

Rodgers was cleared for practice yesterday and will be on the field later today. Pederson said Rodgers is day to day and they’re optimistic he’ll be able to play Sunday too. If not, the Eagles also added veteran Will Tye to the practice squad. 

With Rodgers designated to return from IR, the Eagles have just one remaining designation for either Mack Hollins or Mike Wallace. 

Darren Sproles

After suffering a setback last week, it doesn’t look like Sproles is going to be able to play for a while because of that hamstring injury. After saying he was optimistic about several players’ chances of playing this week, here were Pederson’s expectations for Sproles this week: 

“Continue to rehab and train and get healthy.” 

Sproles hasn’t played since the opener. He’s been a waste of a roster spot for months. 

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Is Mike Groh the right man to be Eagles' offensive coordinator?

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Is Mike Groh the right man to be Eagles' offensive coordinator?

Here are three takeaways from offensive coordinator Mike Groh’s chat with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. 

Starting too slow 

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ scoring by quarter this season: 

Q1: 21 
Q2: 59
Q3: 58
Q4: 57

One of those things is not like the other. The Eagles’ slow starts this year have absolutely killed them. Sure, they were on a crazy run of winning coin flips and deferring early in the season, but they haven’t made the most of their first-quarter opportunities and it’s just killed the entire team — offense and defense. 

“Well, we've put a lot of energy and thought into it,” Groh said. “We know it's an area that we need to improve on. We've been able to do a lot better throughout the course of the game, and it's something that if it was one thing, it would be an easy fix. But it's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Kind of everybody has taken a share of that. We're pointing those things out that need to be corrected. Trust me when I say this, we're spending a lot of time trying to get it fixed.”

After nine games, there’s not a lot of confidence that they’ll be able to figure this out. Doug Pederson accepted responsibility for the first 15 scripted plays not working. The first play from scrimmage on Sunday asked Zach Ertz to block Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence 1-on-1. 

Groh was asked if maybe the Eagles shouldn’t have a TE blocking “one of the best edge rushers” in the league. 

“Something to consider, for sure,” Groh quipped. 

Yeah. It is. 

A Golden opportunity 

The Eagles traded away a third-round pick for eight games of Golden Tate and then played him 18 snaps (29 percent) in his debut. Pederson said it was because the offense went with tempo and Tate’s plays were out of the huddle. That’s an explanation, but not a good one. It’s crazy Tate didn’t play more. 

“We brought him here to play him a lot,” said Groh, who added that they’ll continue to build on Tate’s package of plays. 

Groh wouldn’t say who will lose time because of Tate, but said it’ll probably depend on the play. The two most obvious candidates are Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. 

Either way, Howie Roseman traded for a guy who was supposed to help this year and  then the coaching staff didn’t play him. Really, this is inexcusable. 

Are YOU the problem? 

The Eagles are scoring more 6.5 points fewer per game this season, so we’re all trying to figure out why. One reason floated more than a few time is the loss of offensive coordinator Frank Reich. 

I asked Groh on Tuesday if the transition from Reich to him has gone as smoothly as expected and if it has negatively affected the offense. 

“Well, sitting here with the record that we have, we're not pleased with where we stand, and we have aspirations to compete for the playoffs. I think that we're still in the playoff hunt, and we can do that. We've talked about some of the things that need to improve to give ourselves the best chance to do that.”

OK, so he clearly wanted no part of this question and I can’t say I blame him. It’s really hard to know how much swapping Reich for Groh has affected the offense. It’s really hard to gauge the value of an OC, especially when that role isn’t as a play- caller. But I think it’s a fair question. And I wonder how much it has hurt the Eagles this year.

 

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